Not A Bad Start To The New Year ‘95
The original Dumb And Dumber has to be one of my favorite movies of all time, so, when I found out that this hosting spot by Jeff Daniels was to promote this flick my expectations for the night were high. Well, they were higher than they might have been if he were there to promote a more serious film from his career. Either way, I was looking forward to this show because I’m a fan of Jeff Daniels in general.
At the same time, I was looking forward to seeing if there was going to be an increase in the quality of the content with the start of a brand new year which is often the case with a mostly new cast so I figure, for sure, this would happen. Thankfully I was right this time because this makes the third show in a row that broke the “good but not great” upper barrier.
Granted, I wouldn’t say that this episode was as good as the last two shows, but it’s easily number three on my list of what I’ve seen from this season so far. I think the main reason for this change in pace is the fact that the political jokes were funny enough that it didn’t matter whether or not the incidents being referenced stood the test of time.
Not only that, but Jeff Daniels’s attitude also came into play since he seemed to be a team player who was genuinely having a good time all throughout the night and not just there for the movie mentions. It might also help that the new Not Ready For Prime Time Players also now had enough experience to where they have more room to play now that they’ve found their legs.
Oh well, we’ll see how the rest of the season goes but until then, it’s now that time where I shift gears and move on to share what I saw as I give you…
The Wicker Breakdown:
This week's show started on Capitol Hill for parody C-SPAN coverage of Newt Gingrich as the Speaker Of The House while he rapidly passed legislation to push the Republican agenda after winning the House Majority during the mid-term elections. All that it took was for a Republic to simply share the title of the legislation they were trying to pass to get Gingrich’s approval. Meanwhile, any Democrat was instantly silenced while their allotted time kept getting taken away. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually built to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
Jeff Daniels then officially opened the show with a monolog that started with the promotion of his new movie Dumb And Dumber before going on to talk about Jim Carey and how he became a breakout star and how he got better treatment before, during, and after the filming of the movie. These jokes came from a place of self-deprecation and didn’t feel like Jeff was expressing hidden envy though I’m sure some of the playful jealousy was real.
This was followed by a repeat of the Eterna Rest sketch from earlier in the season which was a coffin mattress that adjusts to one’s needs throughout their afterlife.
We then went to an office space where two white guys discussed what they’d be doing with their time off for Martin Luther King Day. While alone, Jeff Daniels and Chris Elliot came up with plans to hang out and goof off only to have their story change the moment Tim Meadows entered the room. From that moment on everyone made claimed that they’d venture out to learn about the black experience while trying to hide their white guilt. Meadows was fully aware of this play, so he used their guilt against them and ended up walking away with a handful of last minute presents.
Connie Chung Vs. Mrs. Gingrich was a sketch that parodied Gotcha-style reporting where “Connie Chung kept tricking Newt Gingrich’s mom into giving her damaging information and made her comments seem even worse through dishonest editing. This was an example of a sketch where the instance being reference is no longer significant with the passage of time, but the overall concept was funny enough to where it still had legs unlike the other insignificant political sketches from the first half of the season.
We then got a parody of Entertainment Tonight where Ron Wood from The Rolling Stones returned to do an interview with “Jodie Foster” and “Liam Neeson” on the set of Nell. Between the fact that “Jodie Foster” was still in her Nell character, “Ron Wood’s” Slurred speech, and “Liam Neeson’s” deep accented voice, it was impossible to understand anyone involved at all.
Luscious Jackson then took to the stage to perform City Song.
Once again, Norm MacDonald gave us the news. This week, David Spade dropped by to complain about the concerts that he went to throughout the year as the shows new music specialist. Ellen Cleghorne also got a segment as Marquerita Simpson to sing a parody of the song You Gotta Be only this version was about how she managed to come out of her marriage to O.J. without losing her life.
We then went to a Mystery Dinner Theater that started out like the movie Clue where everyone tried to piece together why they were invited since nobody seemed to know the host first hand. During a surprise blackout, Jeff Daniels attempted to beat Chris Farley to death which ends up taking forever and gets extremely violent as Chris Farley yelled in pain but just would not die no matter how hard Jeff Daniels tried.
Film Beat was a film review sketch where Chris Elliott interviewed Jeff Daniels as himself about his movies. The only problem was, Elliott only focused on the scene from Dumb And Dumber where Jeff Daniels’s character Harry got stuck on the toilet during the date and shared the same clip over and over again while angering his guest in the process.
Gay Stripper Theater was, as the title suggests, a sketch where gay strippers performed “scenes” from mini-plays that were nothing more than their gay strip routines where the titles implied the stories since there was zero acting at all.
Luscious Jackson then returned to the stage to perform Here.
We then got a fake ad for a new Aerosmith Album that made fun of the fact that all of Aerosmith songs sound the same in the years especially between 1990 and 1994.
This was followed by another Deep Thoughts By Jack Handey where Jack shared his theories on how cowboys would relieve their stress back in the cowboy days.
Finally, Jeff Daniels closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.
Even though this episode is my third favorite so far from this year, it still had “good but not great” tendencies since it still took a bit of work to come up with these three of my favorite moments of the night. First, I loved the Mystery Dinner Theater scene because it cracked me up how Chris Farley dragged out his murder scene in order to get stage time even though the murder took place in the dark. Next, I really liked Connie Chung Vs. Mrs. Gingrich because it made me laugh the way Connie kept bamboozling Newt’s mom with her brand of Gotcha journalism. Finally, I was a fan of the Entertainment Tonight parody, not because it was all that funny, but I loved how they made fun of the movie Nell which is a movie that I still inappropriately laugh about to this day thanks to Nell’s made-up twin language.