SNL: S20E04... HOST: DANA CARVEY... DATE: OCTOBER 22, 1994

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A Night Of Endless Impressions

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First off, I have to say that Dana Carvey is the first alumni host to give a proper homecoming performance on his first visit back to the show. Up until this episode, every other Not Ready For Prime Time Play who has returned to host the show had started the night by pointing out that SNL was much better when they were still on, while also talking trash about the new cast. Most of these hosts would then go on to put on shows that seemed like they were performing under protest.

That wasn’t the case with Dana Carvey, no, he seemed pleased as punch to be there. Granted, some of this high energy and respect for the current cast might be due to the fact that a handful of the cast were there when he was still working on the show. It also might have helped that Dana Carvey never once appeared as himself to even hint at any potential issues.

I think all of the impersonations is also what made this show extra fun because like with the John Travolta episode it didn’t seem like any of the sketches were filler that was written after references about the host had run out. My only issue would be how sometimes it felt like the show was counting on the impersonation alone to get laughs, like they just dressed Dana up and said, “Go!!!” Even though that did seem to be the cast at the time, Dana Carvey appears to always be having so much fun doing what he loves that if this were the strategy, it worked like a charm since the night never seemed to drag on.

We’re now four episodes in, and I’m still excited to see this season’s cast grow along with their collection of characters. With that, it’s now time to shift gears and move on to share what I saw throughout my viewing, as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with A Message From The Former President Of The United States where the real George Bush Sr. took part in a pre-taped segment where he threatened to get revenge on Saturday Night Live for all the jokes that they made at his expense during his reign as president. He then went on to introduce Dana Carvey while throwing in a couple of jabs at him and his work. He also did something very unpolitician-like when he turned down the chance to announce the famous opening lines since he was pre-recorded from Houston mean he would be telling a lie. This led Don Pardo to have to announce, “Live from New York…”
  2. Dana Carvey then officially opened the show dressed as George Bush Sr. to do a bit of a routine about his current role in politics before performing a rap song about the year’s mid-term elections. Halfway through his rap, the real George Bush Sr. chimed back in to criticise Dana’s impersonation.
  3. This was followed by a fake ad for Virtual-Reality Books that puts you in a virtual room where you can virtually sit to read your favorite novels virtually. This must have seemed really silly at the time but other than the old school Commodore 64-style cheesy graphics, I’m pretty sure are multiple version of this exact piece of software in any app store that you use.
  4. We then went to week three of parody CourtTV coverage of the O.J. Trial where Dana Carvey brought back his old Johnny Carson impersonation to join O.J.’s all-star defense team. Not only did he use Carson’s interview style to question the witnesses but he also brought in Joan Embrey and implemented Carson’s Carnac The Magnificent character into the circus that was the O.J. Trial.
  5. Ross Perot Greets Trick-or-Treaters was another sketch that allowed Dan Carvey to dress up as one of his classic characters to hand out Halloween treats to the kids while critiquing the kids on their costumes and rewarded the good ones while denying the kids who he felt needed to put more effort into their attire. Eventually, he had a run-in with one of the children’s dad and went on to Ross Perot it up until the dad simply gave in and went away.
  6. Edie Brickell and Paul Simon then took to the stage to perform Green.
  7. Once again, Norm MacDonald gave us the news. This week Al Franken dropped in to talk about the year’s mid-term election and how this has been the most vicious election cycle that he’s ever seen then went on to share several examples of parody attack ads. Hans and Franz also dropped in for an editorial on SNL’s reoccurring characters and how Weekend Update is the place where these characters are sent to die.
  8. We then went to a fancy Italian restaurant where Adam Sandler shadowed Dana Carvey during his first day as an apprentice to become the restaurant’s next Pepper Boy which turned out to be a more laborious task than you would think. Sadly, by the end of the sketch, both pepper people were replaced by an electric pepper mill.
  9. Nobel Prize Awards was a sketch that made the Nobel Prize ceremony look like the academy awards which allowed the entire cast to perform their obscure impersonations to fill the lineup of the usual award show events that go down.
  10. Edie Brickell and Paul Simon then returned to the stage to perform Tomorrow Comes. 
  11. Work Excuses took place in an office where Tim Meadows played a character who was late to a meeting and came up with a crazy tale to explain his tardiness. Once the meeting ended and the group all went their separate ways Meadows confided to Mike Myers that he was actually lying. He then went on to compulsively lie to get out of even the slightest work conflicts that arise, even for things that weren’t an issue in the first place.
  12. This was followed by another installment of Mike Judge’s short cartoon series, Office Space: Part 3. This time, our hero, Milton, has been moved down to the basement when he gets alerted that the building maintenance team would be setting off a bunch of bug bombs leading Milton, to once again, threaten to blow up the entire building.
  13. Finally, Dana Carvey closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Even though this episode was pretty fun to watch it still tapped into a major pet-peeves by using the fewer but longer sketch format, making it hard to find my three of my favorite moments from the night, but here’s what I managed to come up with. First, I loved the opening monolog where The Real George Bush Sr. Criticizes Dana Carvey’s Impersonation because even though I don’t think either Bush should be seen as people to look up to, I still thought it was pretty cool how he played along with these people who mocked him throughout his entire presidency. Next, I really liked the Work Excuses sketch because it’s the perfect example of how if you’re going to lie you may as well make it a big one. Finally, I was a fan of the fake ad for Virtual-Reality Books because I like how this was seen as ridiculous back then but is a reality now.

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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.