SNL: S23E18... HOST: GREG KINNEAR... DATE: APRIL 11, 1998

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What Ever Happened To Greg Kinnear?

I was a huge fan of the show Talk Soup throughout my years in high school. Of course, with Greg Kinnear being the original host he’s up there as my favorite even though I liked them all. Not only was I a fan of his work on the daytime talk show, recap clip show but I liked when he ventured out to work on films. Looking back over his IMDB page I was surprised to see just how many of his projects I’ve seen but I was also surprised by how few credits he had under his belt.

He actually seems to have a really nice resume with credits spaced out enough to where it feels like he could fit in a personal life while still maintaining a solid career. I’m just surprised his resume is not a mile long because Greg Kinnear has the perfect personality to host any form of show in the world. It’s amazing how he has an “everyman” presence while appearing mainstream but still has enough edge to his humor that he doesn’t seem phony or too clean, which is why I see the appeal.

Hopefully, he’s just one of these people who lives within his meads and doesn’t need millions and millions of dollars in order to support his lifestyle allowing him to work when he wants to instead of always needing to because it would be nice to know that this type of career is out there. This would be better than the other common reason where he’s too difficult to work with but I just can’t see that being the case, especially since he still fits in at least a couple of project per year.

Alright, enough guessing about Kinnear’s career. Since I stopped paying attention to the entertainment years ago, for all I know, one of the roles on his resume may be more currently relevant than I am actually aware of. As for how he did on this episode, I’d say that the energy was good but the writing was rather dry where it felt like everyone dropped back into their comfort zone while creating the content with too much hope that the performances would save the night.

Then again, I took the last two days off from watching the show by using a couple of surplus reviews to seamlessly enjoy the time off. This might have just taken me out of the overall slower feel to this season that I’ve grown used to while watching two episodes a day in order to build up said surplus. That, or the show is just going into short termers mode as it reaches the end of the year.

Either way, this episode was another one that was more fun to watch than it was to write about but I don’t regret doing either at all. With that, it’s now time to move on and share what I actually watched, as I give you.

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with a parody ad for Martha Stewart Living where Ana Gasteyer as Martha and good friend Chad Burman, played by Greg Kinnear, shared their plans for an upcoming Easter episode while blatantly avoiding any Passover talk as they both pointed out they weren’t Jewish. This being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”  
  2. Greg Kinnear then officially opened the show with a monolog where he shared how he got his start working on Talk Soup and the next thing he knew he was an Oscar-nominated actor for his role in the movie As Good As It Gets. He then went on to show the audience the one flawed scene from the movie where he continued to eat his breakfast while Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt were acting their asses off. At one point, in the scene, Kinnear speared something with his fork only to end up eating a piece of bacon with his hand which led our host to believe that it was this minor slip up that cost him the Academy Award.
  3. We then got another repeat of the Cookie Dough Sport commercial from earlier in the season which was an ad for a sports drink made out of raw cookie dough.
  4. This was followed by a game show host called Name That Dog! Greg Kinnear played the host who asked contestants to guess the name of various dogs that were brought out by game show-style model. This sketch seemed to be making fun of the fact that the new Game Show Network cable channel was so desperate for programming that they were just grasping at straws because other than the premise, I’d say the sketch was a little boring. Well, Tim Meadows’s energy was also kind of as he seemed desperate to save the bit with random outbursts of exaggerated excitement.
  5. The Culps then returned and this time the singing-instructing duo performed their covers of popular drug-themed songs at a rehab center.
  6. High Five! was a sketch where Greg Kinnear played a character named B-Ball who was all about giving out high fives which didn’t go over all that well with his blind date played by Cheri Oteri.
  7. We then got a repeat of the TV Funhouse: Fun With Real Audio segment from earlier in the season where they animated Tom Snyder stalking Dolly Parton over the audio an actually interview between the two.
  8. House Of Dogs had Tracy Morgan as the owner and operator of a dog store that sold dangerous dogs, just like the ones from the Name That Dog gameshow from earlier in the show.
  9. Once again, Colin Quinn gave us the news. This week, Jim Breuer returned as rock star Gunner Olsen to rock out and sing a song that incorporated headlines from the news.
  10. All Saints then took to the stage to perform Never Ever.
  11. Ted Koppel's Brother was a sketch were as the title suggests, we met Ted Koppel’s brother who was played as a junkie by Greg Kinnear and looked and sounded just like Ted other than his focus on drugs attempting to get drugs instead of delivering the news.
  12. Bob Hoskins then dropped by as a special guest for a sketch called Walk The Plank. In it, he played Captain Kidd who forced Will Ferrell to walk a plank that was so long that it reached land, defeating the purpose of the punishment.
  13. The Robin Byrd Show then returned for another installment where this time Cheri Oteri as the porn-themed cable access host had on Greg Kinnear who was accidentally booked as a stripper even though he thought he was there to promote his non-stripper dance career where he danced at venues like a small stage at a county fair.
  14. Later Reunion was a parody of a special that reunited the many hosts who cycled through the late night talk show called Later that aired after every other late night talk show was done for the night which led to a high turn-around.
  15. The Lost Deep Thoughts then returned for another installment where Jack Handey reflected on the versatility of playing dead.
  16. Finally, Greg Kinnear closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

As I said above, though this episode didn’t leave me all that inspired to write, I still found it fun to watch, especially with the help from these three of my favorite moments of the night. First, I loved the Ted Koppel's Brother sketch because it cracked me up how close both Greg Kinnear and Darrell Hammond sounded while impersonating Ted Koppel. Next, the Walk The Plank sketch because it was not only fun to see Bob Hoskins in a cameo role, plus it was funny to picture what this impossibly long plank would look like it if were actually real. Finally, I was a fan of the Later Reunion sketch because it was funny how so many of the people who they jokingly credited as being former hosts, consisted of many comedians who were somewhat obscure at the time but went on to have big careers.

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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.