SNL: S22E06... HOST: ROBERT DOWNEY JR... DATE: NOVEMBER 16, 1996

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Alumni Host Number Three Of Seven

From This Season

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I’ve always been a fan of Robert Downey Jr. from his Brat Pack days, to the years where he struggled and even now that he’s deep into his Iron Man-based comeback. Hell, I was even rooting for his season on SNL since I was such a fan of him and Anthony Michael Hall when they teamed up for Weird Science back when I was a kid. Unfortunately, the comedic duo wasn’t quite cut out for the world of sketch comedy but I still appreciated the effort.

In fact, it’s his alumni status and recent experience of watching him as a member of the show that made me extra interested in this appearance. That and the fact that this episode took place during Downey Jr.’s drug addict days so I figured this episode might have a bit of an edge to it. Unfortunately, that was only sort of the case since Robert Downey Jr. was barely used at all.

Other than the monolog and a brief drop in during the cheerleaders sketch, our host wasn’t even part of the first half of the show to the point where he felt more like a special guest than the start of the evening like he was supposed to be. The times where he did get to take the lead were reminiscent of his time as a cast member where none of his characters were all that memorable.

Fortunately, even though I would always prefer to see more participation from the host, this was still a fun night because the rest of the cast was on point while delivering their evergreen content. We met a couple new characters who went on to become classic and also got a handful of funny moments from already established reoccurring characters.

I might even go as far as to say that this was my favorite episode from this season so far since the sketches were all fun and I wouldn’t say that Robert Downey Jr. was bad, I just wanted to see more of him. Speaking of seeing, it’s now time to shift gears and share what I saw during this viewing, as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with Norm Meets Bob Dole which was a sketch where the real Bob Dole dropped by the show to tell Norm MacDonald to stop impersonating him now that he lost his run to become the President. Since this was the opening sketch it also led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Robert Downey Jr. then officially opened the show with a monolog that was accompanied by a slide show that revealed incriminating evidence of what Downey Jr. was up to during his summer vacation which mainly focused on a recent arrest during his battle with drugs.
  3. The Spartan Cheerleaders then returned for more of their quirky/unwanted cheers where this time they attempted to share their spirit while rooting for the high school bowling team.
  4. A Message From The President Of The United States was a sketch where Darrell Hammond as Bill Clinton attempt to thank the supporters who made it possible for him to win his second term as President. He started out his speech by eliminating the people who either didn’t vote at all or HAD to vote of him due to favors and party-lines only to find that there was only one single person who OPTED to vote for Bill without any external pressures at all.
  5. Don King Press Conference was a sketch where Tim Meadows as Don King spoke highly of Tracy Morgan as Mike Tyson in an effort to boost his confidence following his defeat to Evander Holyfield only to quickly shift gears to talk up the real Holyfield when he took to the stage to address the crowd.
  6. TV Funhouse then returned for another installment of Fun With Real Audio where this time a twisted animation played out to real audio from participants of the O.J. Trial highlighting how much of a circus the case actually was.
  7. Mr. Music was a sketch where Robert Downey Jr. played a wedding D.J. who was very inappropriate with his choice of songs.
  8. Cobras was a sketch that made fun of The West Side Story where Norm MacDonald played a tough guy gang leader who lost his mind whenever his gang would burst into a song and dance whenever it came time to fight.
  9. Once again, Norm MacDonald gave us the news. This week, the real Bob Dole joined Norm once again in order to get the SNL newsman to stop joking about his failed attempt to become The President Of The United States.
  10. Fiona Apple then took to the stage to perform Shadowboxer.
  11. Delicious Dish then made its debut with Ana Gasteyer and Molly Shannon as two NPR radio host who shared their dull-toned outlook on their favorite foods.
  12. Melanie's Make-Out Party was a sketch where Mary Katherine Gallagher got her first awkward kiss from Robert Downey Jr. while playing make-out party games.
  13. Robert Downey Jr. then played an L.A. detective in a sketch called The Streets Of L.A. where Downey Jr.’s banter about drugs seems to hit a little too close to home with our host’s personal experiences with substances.
  14. We then got a fake ad for Milsford Spring Water where Tom Bodet narrated the history of the product and how a mob from Milsford massacring a neighboring town over bottling rights was actually the reason for the great-tasting locally bottled water.
  15. Shopping At Home Network was a parody of a sports segment on the Home Shopping Network with Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan as two pitchmen who were hard-selling a plaque of Shaquille O’Neal.
  16. Finally, Robert Downey Jr. closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

As I said, this might be my favorite episode so far from the six episodes that I’ve seen from this season with the help of these three of my favorite moments of the night. First, I loved the Cobra’s sketch because I’ve always found the singing and dancing gang members of The West Side Story to be an extremely funny concept to joke about. Next, I really liked the debut of Delicious Dish because I love talk radio and podcasts so I love the jokes about the NPR tone of the hosts’ voices. Finally, I was a fan of The Message From The United States Of America because I liked how even back then this sketch pointed out the problems with a two party system where you are forced to vote along party lines, plus I love Darrell Hammond's impersonation of Bill Clinton.

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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.