SNL: S20E01... HOST: STEVE MARTIN... DATE: SEPTEMBER 24, 1994

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A Solid Start To What I Hope

Will Be Another Gilbert Gottfried Season

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Last season, I pointed out how I was pretty disappointed with the show’s treatment of Sarah Silverman since I spent most of my adult life thinking she did badly when really she was just underutilized. This year, there are a whole bunch of one season and done comedians who I love and can’t see how they could put out a bad year’s worth of shows.

I really hope the fact that there so many one and done comedians this year doesn’t come from their talent being underused like with Silverman but is instead just another case where the fans couldn’t accept change after having such a solid cast for so many years. I feel this was the case with Season Six (AKA Gilbert Gottfried’s year with SNL) where the audience would have accepted a follow-up cast no matter who they were.

Meanwhile, Season Six is one of my favorite years outside of the seasons with the original cast of Not Ready For Prime Time Players. Based on this episode alone, I can feel this might be the case again this year now that Phil Hartman and most of his peers are gone. I mean, the sketches were all fun, and I was excited to be entertained by all of the new members of the cast but still remember this to be a pretty panned season at the time.

My biggest fear is that this season will actually end up to be more like the Robert Downey Jr. Michael Anthony Hall year that I also had high hopes for despite being aware of the poor reviews, only to end up hating it more than any other year.

Again, based on this opening episode alone, I’m predicting something closer to the Gilbert outcome because I just can’t see disliking this cast at all. Oh well, we’ll see what happens, but until it does, it’s now time to shift gears to share what I saw, as I give you…   

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with their Clinton Auditions to determine who will take over the Bill Clinton impersonation now that Phil Hartman has left the show. I love this type of sketch because it cracks me up when they have the entire cast try out an impersonation whether or not there is any legitimate chance for them to be a suitable fit. As always, this being the opening sketch, it built to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Steve Martin then officially opened the show with a monolog about how he was excited to host this opening episode for the twentieth season of the show. He then went on to perform a horrible standup routine about how many soup options there are these days. This routine was so bad that it sent Steve Martin into an out of body experience where he attempted to figure out where the seed of a joke went so wrong as we followed him throughout his day where it was the only thing he could talk about. Out of body Steve was then reunited with his body where he shared how even though performer Steve is powering through the joke, he’s going to hate himself in the morning.
  3. This was followed by a fake ad for H.H.T. Home Headache Test which was a product that tells you whether or not you actually have a headache when you may feel absolutely fine.
  4. We then got parody coverage from Court TV of the opening statements for the O.J. Simpson Murder trial. This was a fascinating sketch because it was only a week into the trial in reality and they were already predicting the crazy spectacle this would turn out to be.
  5. Steve Martin's All-Natural Penis Beauty Cream was as the title suggests, a fake infomercial for a celebrity-sponsored penis cream with Steve Martin’s name and face on the package.
  6. Total Bastard Airlines then returned for another installment where this time David Spade teamed up with Ellen Cleghorne to play flight attendants to passive-aggressively send off the passengers of their flight with their, “Buh Byes.” At one point, Cleghorne had to leave only to be replaced by Steve Martin who played the pilot that joined in on the “Buh Bye” routine.
  7. Eric Clapton then took to the stage to perform I'm Tore Down.
  8. This week, Norm MacDonald took over to give us what he called “The Fake News” where Laura Kightlinger dropped in with a commentary on getting fired and how she might have a fear of success while she shared some crazy examples of how she came to this conclusion. Adam Sandler also dropped in as a new character named Gill Graham to review several concerts from the year where, for the most part, he kept getting beat up and having to listen to the end of the show from the bottom of a garbage can or some other secluded area where he ended up getting thrown by his bullies.
  9. The Ron Wood Show was a parody talk show parody where Ron Wood from The Rolling Stones rambled on unintelligibly while talking to a collection of incoherently speaking celebrity guests.
  10. Michael McKean then sang a folk tribute Buck Daniels where Steve Martin acted out the actions of the song that starts very normal but then it got to the end where Buck Daniels had an affair with Jackie Mason and killed himself by drinking Raid.
  11. Nut-Rific Ad Campaign was a sketch where Chris Elliott and Kevin Nealon pitched their idea for a new ad campaign where they play on words claiming that the candy is, “Nut very good,” doesn’t go over all that well with the executives. Elliott and Nealon are so proud of their play on the word nut that they can’t except that fact that they are actually saying that the candy bar is, “Not very good,” and kept getting it wrong despite being given multiple attempts to revise.
  12. Eric Clapton then returned to the stage to perform Five Long Years.
  13. Super Sports Tours was a fake ad for a line of cruises where you can get trapped on a boat with some of your favorite baseball players from the major leagues. Now that these themed cruises are more commonplace, this sketch didn’t seem all that strange, until they started to list all of the people you’d be sharing the sea with. At this point, they listed what appeared to be every single player from every single team to the point where there are only eleven spots open for non-MLB passengers.
  14. Babies was a sketch where Chris Farley and Janeane Garofalo played a couple who were visiting Steve Martin and Laura Kightlinger who just had a baby. The two couples then went on to competitively compare their kids, even though it only seemed like Farley and Garofalo were playing along since their baby was the clear loser in this competition. This was made clear when Martin and Kightlinger were left all alone to reflect on the evening's argument.
  15. Finally, Steve Martin closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Once again, we’re at a place where if the rest of the show from this year end up going as well as this opening episode I would be a very happy man, especially if these upcoming shows at least match the quality of these three of my favorite moments of the night. First, I loved Clinton Auditions to replace Phil Hartman because I love the joke where they have the least qualified cast member try out for unfitting roles. Next, I really liked the fake CourtTV coverage of the first week of the O.J. Trial because it was fascinating to see the set up to the circus of the case as it developed in real time since I often forget to take into account that the outcome of these sketch inspiring stories were still unknown when these shows were live. Finally, I was a fan of Steve Martin's All-Natural Penis Beauty Cream because who wouldn’t want a Steve Martin branded penis cream.

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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.