SNL: S22E11... HOST: DAVID ALAN GRIER... DATE: JANUARY 18, 1997

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So Much Fun With So Many Segments

With DAG In Control Of The Wheel

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As I pointed out last time that David Alan Grier was the show’s host, he’s one of my favorite person in the world. I really liked him on In Living Color, but I truly became a fan based on his visits with Dr. Drew and Adam Carolla back when he was a regular guest on Loveline. I also pointed out that I was a tad bit disappointed by his last appearance but only because I wanted more.

If you remember, my biggest issue was the fact that the show implemented the fewer but longer sketch format that I despise, especially since the rest of that year had a pretty decent sketch count. Well, let me say, that was definitely not an issue tonight. With nineteen segments, I think tonight’s episode had the most sketches of any other show so far.

Though I love the shorter approach to sketch comedy where there’s no time for the jokes to drag on, I think I love it, even more, when David Alan Grier is on. I feel that with him in particular, the rapid-fire style plays into DAG’s manic energy/short attention span. I know I was just complaining about these high energy hosts back when I was reviewing Martin Short’s visit but for some reason, when it comes to DAG I find the things that he’s saying in crazy ways to be the source of his humor and not just a bunch of exaggerated actions which is the issue I take with most other spastic comedians.

I never really thought about the fact that I like the same high energy in DAG that I hate in other hyperactive comedians until I wrote the paragraph above. In fact, I find it funny that another issue that I had with Grier’s last visit was that I felt he was way too calm. I even pointed out that this must have been a time where he saved his extra wild comedy style for interview shows where he was just being himself.

I feel that at the time of this episodes original airing, Grier had still yet to tap into his genuine manic style when it comes to acting. That said he definitely seemed more open to some crazier fun which goes back to my views on the short sketch format and how I feel a high energy performance is a result of rapid-fire jokes as opposed to unnecessary story development that’s not as important when it comes to sketch comedy.

No matter my views on how crazy is too crazy when it comes to comedy, this was a super fun episode to watch with so much funny content to sift through to the point where it was hard to ever feel bored. With that, it’s now time to move on and share what I actually saw, as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with a Genitalia Line-Up where Cheri Oteri as Paula Jones attempted to pick out President Clinton’s penis from a line-up following another sexual misconduct claim. Of course, to make things more fun they threw Bob Dole, Al Gore, and Clarence Thomas into the line-up as well. Ted Kennedy also joined the line after everyone else was introduced but he just thought he was taking part in some sort of pervert party. With this being the opening sketch, all of this eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”  
  2. David Alan Grier then officially opened the show with a monolog about how he was excited to be back hosting the show along with some stand-up about the upcoming inauguration for round two of Bill Clinton’s presidency. This Clinton talk led DAG to sing a song called Let’s Get Butt-Naked In The White House.
  3. We then got a parody ad for a new video collection that parodied the classic prank show for a sketch called Death Row Bloopers & Practical Jokes where we got to see bloopers and pranks with the federal prison as the backdrop with the hosts making their cheesy, old fashion, clip-show-style jokes.
  4. This was followed by a parody of 20/20 where Cheri Oteri as Barbara Walters managed to offend the real Snoop Dogg during her interview by asking him a bunch of dumb questions about his latest hit album.
  5. We then got a sketch that showed DAG, Tim Meadows, and Tracy Morgan all tearing up while hanging out together to watch the movie Waiting To Exhale while Snoop Dogg waited for the crew to watch a basketball game with him at the local bar.
  6. Both Sides With Jesse Jackson was a panel talk show that brought back Ana Gasteyer’s MTV News character name Kincaid who attempted to discuss the topic of Ebonics with Darrell Hammond as Jesse Jackson and several other cast members playing black pundits who had no idea what this white girl was rambling on about while also trying to explain the importance of this new brand of black speech.
  7. The Rocky Roads were a motivational troupe who performed for school assemblies that were introduced during Grier’s last visit to the show. They returned this week to talk to the kids about how to respectfully speak with women. Though their positive examples are definitely less offensive than they’re examples of how not to act, all of the advice that was given was also rather bizarre.
  8. Maya Angelou Endorses Butterfingers was a parody ad for my favorite candy bar in the world.
  9. Once again, Norm MacDonald gave us the news. This week, Colin Quinn dropped in and refused to apologize to Michael Irvin following a recent false accusation about the football star’s involvement in cocaine fuel case of sexual aggression that he was apparently cleared after some new evidence was revealed.
  10. Snoop Doggy Dog then took to the stage to perform Snoop's Upside Ya Head. 
  11. Ex-Porn Stars Don Wong & Reggie Owens was a sketch where Jim Breuer and Tracy Morgan played two ex-porn stars who now have to navigate the world as fast food employees after losing their sex worker careers. The only problem is they struggle to avoid speaking with sexual innuendos as if they were trying to start a porn scene.
  12. Maya Angelou Endorses Froot Loops! was a follow up to the Butterfingers ad where this time the famous poet promoted the fruity morning cereal that I like a lot but is not a favorite like the product from the last ad.
  13. Shopping At Home Network then returned for another parody of the Home Shopping Network with Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan playing pitchmen who would rather die than sell their product as cheap as the network’s demands. Where last time the two were hocking a bust of Shaquille O’Neal this week they were pushing a bust of Scottie Pippen but for the most part, the sketch is the same.
  14. TV Funhouse then returned for a segment where they simply showed live action footage of dog’s going about their daily routines.
  15. Snoop Doggy Dog then returned to the stage to perform Vapors. 
  16. Mark McKinney as Bill Gates then dropped by for a segment where he hijacked the show with a system of satellites in order to share his plans for future technologies that were, pretty much, just convoluted replacements for already existing technology as opposed to any sort of predictive parody.
  17. Maya Angelou Endorses Pennzoil was a third in the series of Maya Angelou pitching unexpected products on TV.
  18. Monster Trucks was a parody ad for an upcoming Monster Truck event that used a lot of real footage along with low budget animations to make fun of the now cliché brand of Monster Truck marketing.
  19. Finally, David Alan Grier closed the show by thanking the audience and saying her goodnights.

Once again, I’m so happy to have so many sketches to choose from but there were so many good moments that it made it a bit hard to settle on these three moments as my favorites of the night. First, I loved Ex-Porn Stars Don Wong & Reggie Owens not only because of how much these characters crack me up but I love how they aren’t just stuck with the porn star mentality but they’re also stuck in the ‘70s when it comes to their style. Next, I really liked the Waiting To Exhale sketch because it reminded me of the good old days when I had roommates and we used to end up getting sucked into watching movies that you would expect for a group of drunken straight men. Finally, I was a fan of the line of Maya Angelou ads because DAG’s always cracked me up as the famous inspirational poet.

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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.