SNL: S22E04... HOST: DANA CARVEY... DATE OCTOBER 26, 1996

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Alumni Host Number One Of Seven

From This Season

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If this current collection of classic Not Ready For Prime Players wasn’t enough to get me excited about this season, the fact that there are seven alumni hosts spread throughout the years is enough to send my expectations to a place where it should be impossible to feel let down. Then again, as I often point out, I seem to always be at least a bit disappointed when my outlook is too positive about any given appearance.

In fact, I was just making the above point yesterday while watching the show hosted by Bill Pullman. Where I really expected him to be lots of fun, I felt the show under-utilized his talents as a comedic actor, opting instead to focus on a few new characters that went on to be unmemorable. This wasn’t the case tonight since Dana Carvey was treated like a legitimate host who had plenty of jokes and was never just thrown into the background.

In the past, I haven’t been a huge fan of the alumni hosts because they used to return to the show with an upperclassmen mentality and hazed the new cast while seeming reluctant to fully participate. These old episodes with alumni hosts often felt like they were trying to recapture the style from the host’s original era with the show as opposed to merging their characters with the newbies which would have given a sense that these characters continued to live on and weren’t stuck in the ‘70s or ‘80s.

Now the alumni visit are starting to feel more like a family reunion where they seem to try and fit in with the new cast while seamlessly blending their classic characters in with the new ones we’ve grown to love making for more of a special event as opposed to witnessing a pissing competition with the main culprits being the members of the original cast.

Tonight’s episode was really fun not only because of the reasons I’ve mentioned above about Dana interacting well with the cast while merging jokes from his days with the present show’s sense of humor, but I also really love Dana’s energy and how he genuinely seems to be honored to be asked back to host. He seems to have so much fun just being part of the show that the rest of the cast end up with an extra energy as well.

Alright, that’s all that I’ve got to say about this evening which means it’s now time for me to shift gears in order to share what I actually saw, as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with a parody of Larry King Live where Will Ferrell as Larry King had on Dana Carvey as Ross Perot to take on other third-party candidates in an unofficial no-holds-barred debate prior to the ’96 Presidential Election. Of course, with this being the opening sketch it eventually built to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Dana Carvey then officially opened the show with a monolog where he quickly ran through many of his reoccurring characters that he used to perform on the show while singing a song about them called, I Like To Be These People For You.
  3. Goat Boy then returned for another installment of the MTV show parody, Hey, Remember The 80's where this time Goat Boy interviewed Dana Carvey as George Michaels about nostalgic pop-culture moments from the ‘80s which included a visit from the driver of the Exxon Valdez who was still struggling to cope with the fact that he had caused such a terrible accident.
  4. We then got a parody of The Barbara Walters Special where Cheri Oteri as Barbara buddied up with Ana Gasteyer as Elizabeth Dole while interviewing her about her presidential candidate husband, Bob Dole.
  5. Dan Carvey then played the titular role in a sketch called Tom Brokaw Pre-Tapes where Brokaw pre-recorded several options for a death announcement of former President Gerald Ford just in case he managed to die while Brokaw was on vacation since Ford was pretty sick at the time of the original airing of this episode.
  6. Once again, Norm MacDonald gave us the news. This week, Colin Quinn returned as his character Joe Blow to reminisce about several moments from Yankee Stadium after taking his children to a recent game and how unpleasant going to a game has grown to be since the good old days when he was a kid.
  7. Dr. Dre then took to the stage to perform Been There Done That.
  8. Dana Carvey then revised his Church Lady character for a brand new installment of Church Chat where she took on Tim Meadows as O.J. Simpson and Molly Shannon as Madonna to yell at them for their sinful ways.
  9. Bob Dole's Time Tunnel was a sketch where Norm MacDonald as Bob Dole traveled back in time to stop Dana Carvey as a young Bill Clinton from ever getting started with his political career by trying to catch a few shots of the young president back in his hippie days when he was a pot-smoking dreamer who mainly wanted to make weed legal.
  10. Rita Delvecchio then returned for another installment where this time the “I keep it now,” crazy neighbor dealt with pranksters during Halloween.
  11. Phil Donahue And Johnny Carson: The Retirement Years was a sketch that showed the lives of Carvey as Carson and Hammond as Donahue now that their shows were over, mainly focusing on the two old talk show hosts struggling to find Carson’s keys which turns out to be a reoccurring issue whenever Donahue drops by Carson’s house for a visit. In fact, it seems that it happens so much the two almost treats it like an Abbot and Costello style routine.
  12. Russell And Tate was a sketch where Tim Meadows as Russell and Tracy Morgan as Tate played two thugs who claimed that they would use their legal skills to get you any money you may be owed.
  13. Finally, Dana Carvey closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

As I said, this was a fun number one of seven of alumni visit from this year that I have high hopes for especially if they have moments at least as good as these three of my favorite moments or the night. First, I loved Bob Dole's Time Tunnel because I’m a fan of time travel jokes and it was funny to see Norm as Dole dressed as an undercover hippie. Next, I really liked this week’s segment with Rita Delvecchio because even though she can be a bit repetitive, I still love this quirky character. Finally, I was a fan of the opening monolog where Dana Carvey danced with himself as all of his SNL characters because it was quite a site to see, especially considering the special effects from the time.

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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.