SNL: S19E01... HOST: CHARLES BARKLEY... DATE: SEPTEMBER 25, 1993

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Another Great Opening Show

With Another Basketball Player As Host

A couple of seasons ago, Michael Jordan was the host of the show’s opening night. At first, I thought this was a strange choice because these athletes are never good at acting. That said, their poor performance actual adds to their charm since we are often so used to seeing these people as masters of their trade. This might be why a having sports figure as the first host might actually work while the writers of the show workout any wrinkles that may have developed over their summer break.

Once again, my expectations were high going into this episode because Charles Barkley has always been a person that I’ve found to be funny in an interesting way. Where normally, I don’t really like the whole cocky attitude but for some reason, he does it in a way that often cracks me up even when he reaches the point of being an arrogant joke.

This turned out to be the first episode in quite a while where my high expectations were actually met and I was entertained throughout the entire show. Not only did I have fun during this viewing, it genuinely felt like Barkley was having fun as well, especially when he would break a scene by laughing. It also helped that I could remember most of the show going into the viewing by looking at the sketch titles alone so I knew for a fact that I’d have fun.

Where most true sketch fans often complain about people who break scenes in this way, I find it to be one of my favorite parts of sketch comedy as long as the laughing is real and completely uncontrollable. These laughing scene breakers remind me of all of the time when I’ve been stuck in serious situations and struggled to keep a straight face since my defense mechanism for chaos is to find the humor in the situation in an effort to laugh it off.

Now I can’t wait for Barkley’s future appearance where he parodies himself and his crazy golf swing. Until then, it’s now time to move on and share what I saw as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with A Message From The President Of The United States to talk about Hillary’s health care plan and how it would help people from the tabloid world who have been injured in very strange ways. He also claimed that this new health care plan would help the carnie crowd, as well as other forms of walking freak shows, almost as if this is how the elite see us common folk. As always, this being the opening sketch, it eventually built to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Charles Barkley then officially opened the show with a monolog where he said a few joked before throwing to a prerecorded bit where Barkley took on Barney The Dinosaur in a parody of a shoe commercial where he took on Godzilla in a game of one on one. Where Barkley and Godzilla were evenly matched he demolished the giant lizard’s purple replacement.
  3. This was followed by a fake ad for NCI Long Distance that parodied a long distance phone service marketing campaign from the time where David Spade played the corporation’s spokesman who overpromised on every one of the “real customers” concerns.
  4. We then got a parody of Larry King Live where Phil Hartman played a crazy Burt Reynolds to talk to Kevin Nealon, as Larry King, about his divorce with Loni Anderson who eventually chimed in via satellite in this ambush of an interview. To add to the phone Larry King got both Reynolds and Anderson to take truth serum to share the details as to why their relationship failed which led to some funny truth based jokes.  
  5. Daily Affirmation then returned for another installment where Stuart Smalley had Charles Barkley and Muggy Bogues as guest ab and tried to use his self-help talk in an effort to build their confidence even though neither have a problem with thinking that they’re great. Stuart did eventually get both men to break down only they both struggled to act sad because they were too busy holding back their laughs.
  6. Nirvana then took to the stage to perform Heart-Shaped Box. 
  7. Once again, Kevin Nealon gave us the news. This week, David Spade returned for another installment of Hollywood Minute where once again he roasted the celebrities who were making headlines at the time.
  8. The Gap Girls also returned for another installment where this time the youth bashing boys in drag continued to talk while they folded clothing until they had a flashback that took us to the night where they hung out with the band Skid Row. When we came back from the flashback we got to meet Charles Barkley in drag as he played a girl that Adam’s Sandler’s character shared a lesbian kiss with at a party.
  9. Coffee Talk also returned for another segment where host, Linda Richman, discussed the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur while adding in a couple of stereotypical Jewish jokes before she took a few phone calls from her viewers.
  10. We then got another Deep Thoughts By Jack Handey where Jack confused the fact that he wanted to die with the fact that he wanted you to die instead.
  11. Charles Barkley's Big And Tall Men's Store was a fake ad for the titular store that sold brightly colored fancy suits and other attire for oversized basketball players.
  12. You Put Your Weed In It then made is show debut with Rob Schneider as the nick-knack selling hippy who points out where you can put weed in each and every item that he sells in his souvenir store.
  13. What's That? was an urban game show sketch with Charles Barkley as a host who simply asks the contestants, “What’s that,” while sharing pictures of what appears to be females, leaving them to have to guess where or not it’s a man for a chance to win a cardboard cutout from Hanging With Mr. Cooper. This sketch also featured a quick cameo appearance by RuPaul who played the winning guest’s girlfriend.
  14. Nirvana then returned to the stage to perform Rape Me. 
  15. Donkey Basketball took place at a donkey basketball camp where Barkley teaches the ins and outs of this crazy rendition of basketball.
  16. Office Space: Part 1 also made its debut to share the animated tale of the red stapler obsessed Milton who inspired the classic Mike Judge movie that shared the same title of the sketch. In this installment, Milton sets up that he gets moved around all the time and had his favorite stapler taken away which led him to be bitter enough to threaten to burn down the entire building.
  17. Finally, Charles Barkley closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Once again, I’m surprised that the show has yet to get to the point where it treats the season premiere as if it were a special event but this was still a pretty fun show thank to these three moments from the night. First, I loved the You Put Your Weed In It sketch because it’s just such a classic sketch that reminds me of several of my old school stoner friends from before the times when pot was legal. Next, I really liked the Donkey Basketball sketch because it led to some real fun scene breaking laughter as the real-life donkeys didn’t stay under control. Finally, I was a fan of the Office Space cartoon because of how much I like the movie that it eventually became.

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Matt Bunker

I started out with a goal of becoming a paid screenwriter. I had no interest in any other aspect of filmmaking. I received and scholarship to The Vancouver Film School's Writing for Film and Television program where I graduated in 2005. I fell in love with being on set during my first non-school produced short, . I loved being around all the creative people, seeing people having fun while working. The whole liking your job was a new world to me, so I decided to give it a shot. I volunteered for any project I could, doing what ever was needed. The set was my Film School this time. While working as a PA on a feature I was informed that the DP wanted the three tallest PAs to help out in the grip and electric department. That is when I found the department that felt like the best fit for me while I continued to write.