Alumni Host Number Two Of Seven
From This Season
I’ve heard Chris Rock mention in interviews many times how he regretted focusing more on the perks that came with fame than focusing on being funny back when he was an official Not Ready For Prime Time Player. Granted, his style of stand-up improved ten-fold with his comedy special Bring The Pain, which was what he was on the show to promote with this visit, but having just watched his seasons on the show, I don’t think he should be disappointed with this time period.
Then again, I can see some of the self-criticisms that Rock had about himself because it was easy to see that he was performing with at least twice as much confidence during this hosting appearance. That said, this confidence came from him finding his voice in stand-up to where I don’t think he would have ever been on the show in the first place if he was already this advanced in his stand up career.
This leads me back to thinking that he shouldn’t beat himself up for just being good during his early career and not the comedic legend that he grew to become. After all, I wouldn’t have loved seeing the new confident Chris Rock revisit his SNL characters as much if I didn’t see their earlier stages of their development.
Hell, maybe Chris Rock’s thoughts on his time with the show is what made this such a strong visit because he definitely took to every sketch like he was trying to redeem himself. Instead of just being funny, his presence was probably the strongest that I’ve seen from a host in quite a while and at the same time, he seemed to be having a lot of fun which seemed to amp up the cast as well.
As always, I also loved how this episode had seventeen segments with only one song from The Wallflowers, making the comedy quick which again, I think is key when it comes to the genre of sketch comedy. In fact, I’ve grown so used to the longer sketch format that every segment after thirteen felt almost like bonus material which did nothing but add to the fun.
With that, it’s now time to move on from sharing my views to share what I actually viewed, as I give you…
The Wicker Breakdown:
This week's show started with The Fishing Dock which was a sketch where Dana Carvey made a special appearance to portray George Bush Sr. in order to prepare Norm MacDonald as Bob Dole for his inevitable loss to Bill Clinton while the two peacefully fish on a dock. Bush speaks from experience having lost to Clinton himself when running for his second term. As always, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually built to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
Chris Rock then officially opened the show with more of a stand-up routine than a monolog where he joked about how there is no longer a real America since everything’s been replaced by strip malls. This led to his routine about the white mall vs. the black mall and eventually transitioned into jokes about Bill Clinton and sexual harassment.
This was followed by a fake ad for Excedril which was a pain reliever that lacked any scientific evidence as to how or why it works which made it extra valuable to its users since it seemed more magical.
Chris Rock then revised his I'm Chillin' talk show host character with Jim Breuer taking over the Chris Farley role as his new sidekick. Other than the lack of Farley the sketch was the same fun routine where they shared their new malt liquor sponsor before sharing the Mother Joke Of The Day.
Dole/Kemp '96 was a political ad where “A Black Guy” played by Tim Meadows, “A Woman” played by Molly Shannon, and “A Gay Man” played by Mark McKinney had a message to people like themselves to not vote because their efforts are pointless and no single decision could either make or break a candidates run to become President. It then turned out that this apathetic pitch was endorsed by Bob Dole since he knows no one that fits any of these descriptions would vote for him in the first place.
Chris Rock also revised his The Dark Side with Nat X segment where this week he had on Cheri Oteri as Tori Spelling, Darrell Hammond as Jesse Jackson and Tracy Morgan as Mike Tyson to make fun of the group for incidents that they were involved with at the time.
Mark Russell's Election Year Comedy Special was a sketch where Mark McKinney played a political song satirist who sang parody songs about the upcoming elections that were more spot on about the issues but weren’t that funny at all.
Dana Carvey then returned as Charles Grodin to preview other celebrity-hosted political shows that were going to be his competition.
Once again, Norm MacDonald gave us the news. This week was an all Norm week where he did his usual good job at sharing the news without being interrupted by any special guests.
The Wallflowers then took to the stage to perform One Headlight.
TV Funhouse then returned with another installment of the Ambiguously Gay Duo which was more of the same questioning of the gayness of our heroes during an episode entitled Queen Of Terror where a villainess thinks she can trap the questionably gay superheroes by using her sex appeal with the villain Big Head has his doubts.
Dole's Speeches was a sketch where Norm as Dole was practicing his victory speech in front of Ana Gasteyer as Elizabeth Dole until Lorne Michaels stepped in to break the news to Norm as himself that there was no way Dole would win in an effort to prepare Norm for the reality that he was going to have to give up his favorite impersonation in the upcoming year.
My Son, College Graduate was a sketch where Chris Rock played Tim Meadows dad and Tracy Morgan played the grandpa and the two made fun of Meadows for getting a college education instead of keeping it real like them.
The Culps then made their debut with Will Ferrell and Ana Gasteyer as Marty and Bobbie Culp who sang a medley of popular songs in almost a church hymn type of way.
Russell Simmons' Def Emergency Room Jam was a parody Def Jam Comedy Hour combined with an ER docu-series style show where Chris Rock played a foul-mouthed Dr. who ran the emergency room.
It then became 4:43 in the AM which meant it was time for another installment of Perspectives where host, Lionel Osbourne, interviewed Chris Rock who played one of the people who took part in the Million Man March in his usually calming way.
Finally, Chris Rock closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.
Once again, this was a super fun episode where it was actually hard to narrow it down to these three of my favorite moments of the night, which is a super good sign about a show. First, I loved My Son, College Graduate because it reminded me of a funny bit from Chris Rock’s Bring The Pain plus it cracked me up to see Chris Rock and Tracy Morgan working together as old guys. Next, I really liked the return of The Dark Side With Nat X because it was interesting to see this character performed with Chris Rock’s new confident energy. Finally, I was a fan of Russell Simmons' Def Emergency Room because I was always a fan of Chris Rock’s Def Jam Comedy Hour parodies.