SNL: S22E08... HOST: MARTIN SHORT... DATE: DECEMBER 7, 1996

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Alumni Host Number Five Of Seven

From This Season

I was a huge fan of Martin Short when I was a kid. I remember loving his every sketch of his when I originally watched the year where he and Billy Crystal were uber-castmates due to the fact that they were already established stars when hired to join the SNL cast. At the time, I was still young enough to still love his A.D.D. energy and inability to focus on sticking to a specific character with the humor coming from the chaos over the structure of his jokes.

I was twenty at the time this episode originally aired, and by that time I think I was already over the antics of hyperactive comedians who resorted to high energy to hide the fact that their content was rather flat. Don’t get me wrong, I still like a lot of these comedic actors when they are performing as crazy characters but I find that I don’t root for them as much when I see them interviewed as themselves.

Martin Short is in good company in falling into this category of comedian that I just can’t commit to fully hating since I’m annoyed by them as people but actually like their work. Robin Williams is probably the biggest example of an actor that I loved but hated the fact that I couldn’t stand watching him get interviewed. Jim Carey falls into the category as well and looking back, so did Steve Martin back in his early career but he’s one of the few people to successfully escape this comedic style instead of digging in deeper as he started to grow old.

After watching this episode, I don’t think Martin Short had yet to hit the point where I started his personal appearance started to affect how I felt about his characters which I don’t think fully switched over until he started to get obsessed with his Jiminy Glick character and started to preach about comedy treating it very serious like Jerry Lewis to the point where he seemed more like a blowhard analyst than an actual funny person.

Because of this negative outlook on the present day Martin Short, I wasn’t all that excited about this episode but then, as I said, this turned out to be from a time before Short crossed over to come across as more of a jerk and before I crossed over to not really liking the guy. In this case, since the issue simply boils down to taste, I can watch these episodes from before my opinion changed without holding on to my current gripe.

I found this to be a pretty fun episode, even though I was nervous throughout the entire monolog where he opened the show with my pet peeve by complaining how the show used to be good while acting too good for the case. Fortunately, he didn’t hang on to the I’m better than everyone joke as everyone seemed to have a lot of fun throughout the rest of the night which I swear I can feel as a viewer.

With all of that said, it’s now time for me to shift gears and share what I saw, as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with parody coverage of The O.J. Simpson Child Custody Hearing where once again, Tim Meadows portrayed O.J. to show his courtroom antics this time while trying to win custody of his children while making jokes that he probably killed their mom. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Martin Short then officially opened the show with a monolog about the peaks-and-valleys throughout the history of Saturday Night Live and how his interest in the show shifted accordingly. We then got a quick flashback to the night where Lorne Michaels saved Martin Short’s life in order to get him back as the host. We then went back to the main stage where Short sang a song listing the hosts of the show while bashing the bad years and celebrating the good.
  3. Celebrity Jeopardy! then made its debut with Will Ferrell as Alex Trebek having to wrangle in Darrell Hammond as Sean Connery, Norm MacDonald as Burt Reynolds, and Martin Short as Jerry Lewis who are all too unfocused to get a single, simplified Celebrity Jeopardy level question, correct. 
  4. Martha Stewart's Topless Christmas Special was a sketch where, as the title suggests, Ana Gasteyer played a Topless Martha Stewart to share her hosting tips for holiday events.
  5. Martin Short then reprised his most popular SNL role for a sketch called Ed Grimley In Heaven where our pointy-haired friend met with Chevy Chase as Merriweather at the gates of Heaven only to be sent back to Earth after being told to get a life.
  6. The Roxbury Guys then returned for more head-bopping to the song What Is Love, while aggressively trying to dance with chicks with their new friend played by Martin Short.
  7. Once again, Norm MacDonald gave us the news. This week, Colin Quinn returned as his character Lenny The Lion to gripe about the current state of health care.
  8. No Doubt then took to the stage to perform Don't Speak.
  9. Cheri Oteri then portrayed the famous lispy-voiced host for a parody of The Barbara Walters Special where she interviewed Martin Short as his character Jackie Rogers Jr. about some of the most embarrassing moments of his career.
  10. We then got a fake ad for Larry Azaria's Mostly Used Mattresses where Mark Mckinney played the titular pitchman who sells mostly used mattresses at prices that couldn’t be passed up. These mattresses are so mangled that not even a homeless person would sleep on them but McKinney still stands by his deals. At one point he even had on Martin Short who played a failed actor who once played a scientist on a TV show to verify that these disgusting beds were safe enough to sleep on.
  11. The Terry Gantner Family Workout was a sketch where Will Ferrell played a karate instructor who teaches karate themed fitness with his family. While showing off, our fitness guru broke his hand while sharing a simple chopping technique and then spent the rest of the sketch screaming in agony over the pain while the families he was training tried their hardest to see if they could help.
  12. The Tinseltown Tattler was a talk show sketch where Martin Short played a character named Pinky Nye who gossiped with Molly Shannon as Rhona Patton about celebrities from the time.
  13. No Doubt then returned to the stage to perform Excuse Me Mr.
  14. Happy Holiday Tales was a sketch where Will Ferrell played the host of a story time show where he introduced the tale of Cheri Oteri’s character Mickey The Dyke from the time where she came out her family that she was a lesbian. This fun tale was also a bit of a musical where Mickey The Dyke sang a song before meeting a leather-clad homosexual mouse with the mustache of the biker from the Village People who turned out to be the only person she could turn to when home for the holidays.
  15. Finally, Martin Short closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Though I currently have mixed feeling about tonight’s host, it turns out, I had no issues with the man at the time of this episodes original airing because I had a lot of fun watching this episode with the help of these three of my favorite moments of the night. First, I loved The Debut Of Celebrity Jeopardy because even though it wasn’t as strong as the segment eventually grows to be it’s still the start to one of my favorite routines in SNL history. Next, I really liked Ed Grimley In Heaven because Ed Grimley is my favorite Martin Short character and it was fun to have him back on the show. Finally, I was a fan of The Terry Gantner Family Workout because I am always humored by a failed karate chop to a piece of wood especially when the response is painful confusion as to why the stunt didn’t work.

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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.