Shaq-Fu-Day Night Live
As I said last time when Kelsey Grammer was the host, I was always a fan of his work on Cheers as well as many of his roles from movies but I didn’t end up following him over to Frasier after Cheers was over. I liked the show when others had control of the remote but I never sought it out on my own. I think the problem was that I saw it as a show that was trying too hard to be smart or at least the show’s audience felt they were smart for watching it. Keep in mind, I was a rebellious punk at the time and preferred edgy content that wasn’t really meant for old folks and normals.
I didn’t actively feel this way about the show but, looking back, it would explain why I never got into Frasier even though it might be a show that I might have liked more, later on in life. As I said, I was still a fan of Kelsey and his work even though the biggest of his projects managed to escape my interest so I had high expectations for the night.
Thankfully, this was a rare occasion where my high hopes for the host didn’t leave me feeling let down. Not only did Grammer do a great job but Shaquille O’Neal snuck in to act as almost a co-host for a couple of sketches that were pretty fun as well. In fact, the sketch where Tracy Morgan takes Shaq over his knee to spank him for being late might actually be one of the most visually memorable sketches that I’ve ever seen due to the size difference between Morgan and O’Neal with the love seat providing an item to create a scale for reference.
This season does seem to have a bit of a slower tone like last year but this time it seems to come from the calmness of experience rather than from the false sense of comfort that comes from a successful second season as a steady cast. As I said before, when it comes to a collection of a cast that spends several years together, season one is usually fun but rough as everyone tried to figure out what they are doing. Year two is almost always the best since they’ve worked out their year-one nervousness and now need to prove their worth. Year three usually suck from success going to the casts’ heads. Season four on usually vary as the show starts to bring in new members of the cast but these later seasons are usually pretty good with flashes of greatness even within the most average of episodes.
This episode was good enough that I’m still excited to see how the rest of the year will play out because I love the new featured players (Horatio Sanz, Jimmy Fallon, and Chris Parnell) and can’t wait to see what they have to add to this collection of Not Ready For Prime Time Players once they become more than filler characters there to support the start. It turns out, I love the slow roll out of new cast member because it’s fun to anticipate upcoming sketches while playing Where’s Waldo with the new additions to the show.
With that said, it’s time to move on from sharing my thought and share what I saw during this viewing, as I give you…
The Wicker Breakdown:
- This week's show started with Bedtime At The White House which followed a fuming Hillary Clinton as she ignored Bill Clinton while the two were in bed following the release of The Starr Report that shared the full details of the Clinton/Lewinski scandal. To cope with the silence Bill decided to turn on the TV only to quickly find it to be a bad move considering the affair was being covered by every single channel he turned to. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
- Kelsey Grammer then officially opened the show with a monolog where he talked about how great it felt to be able to use SNL since it allows him to play more than just one character. He then joked that most people know him from his role in the movie Down Periscope. After the joke got a couple of chuckles he went on to promote Frasier and sang a few rejected versions of the Frasier theme song.
- This was followed by a fake ad for KCF Shredders where new cast member, Jimmy Fallon played a teen who pitched this new hip treat made up of a head of lettuce with a large scoop of mayo that he claimed to be the snacker for his generations.
- Delicious Dish then returned for another installment where this time the monotoned NPR hosts went on the road for an outdoor special in order to have on Kelsey Grammer as a wilderness fanatic to talk about his favorite food. The calm interview eventually led to a slowly told tale of the time that he practiced cannibalism while off on one of his ventures.
- We then got a fake political ad called Terry Ferguson For Senate where Will Ferrell reassured the voters that he would never let them down with a sex scandal since he lost his genitals in an accident involving fire.
- This was followed by a special visit from Shaquille O’Neal to introduce Tracy Morgan’s Bernard character who played the “teenage” basketball player’s dad that paddled Shag’s gigantic ass for coming home too late in the evening.
- We then got a second installment of the fake Terry Ferguson For Senate ad where, this time, Ferrell claimed to not be a Washington insider before reminding the voters that he lost his genitals in a fire and doesn’t even think about sex because it caused phantom pains.
- Private Eye was a noir style sketch where Kelsey Grammer played a private eye whose inner monolog kept being distracted from the matter at hand as his burrito obsession filled his brain to where he couldn’t focus on anything else.
- We then got a sketch called Hose 'em Down! In it, Kelsey Grammer played a new director of the show Baywatch kept pushing the actors to show real emotions before having them blasted with a hose to create the beach atmosphere.
- The Best Of Horatio Sanz was another sketch that made fun of the recent release of a collection of Best Of SNL tapes, while also making fun of the fact that Horatio had only been in a handful of sketches at this time and for the most part was only in the background.
- Once again, Colin Quinn gave us the news. This week, Kelsey Grammer played a tropical storm named George in order to share his complaints about the National Weather Service after he was downgraded from being a hurricane.
- Sheryl Crow then took to the stage to perform My Favorite Mistake.
- Mr. Peepers then returned after a long absence where this week Kelsey Grammer played a sociologist who tried to introduce the monkey man to his upper-crust friends after discovering him in a jungle. Grammer failed hard at getting Peepers to adapt to society because his human looks made it hard for others to accept that deep down he was still just a literal animal.
- Maakies comic strip inspired animation then returned where this week a rat got cut in half by the captain of a ship who was trying to scare off all of the rodents. Friends of the sliced rat then took him to a doctor whose solution was to save the top half by sewing it onto the bottom half of a fish creating a mermaid of sorts.
- Morning Latte then returned for another installment where this time Cheri Oteri and Will Ferrell played the over-caffeinated hosts who had on Shaquille O’Neal as their guest but kept randomly interacting with the show producer played by Chris Kattan about a recent sexual harassment lawsuit.
- Hello Dolly was a Home Shopping Network sketch where Kelsey Grammer and Ana Gasteyer pitched a collection of dolls and end up sharing some very bizarre facts about themselves in between trying to talk up the product.
- ESPN2 Lumberjack Classic gave us parody coverage of one of my favorite sports. In the sketch, Will Ferrell played a lumberjack who won his competition and went on to thank Jesus for helping him win and then thank him even more for snubbing his competitors who were played by Horatio Sanz and Chris Kattan.
- Finally, Kelsey Grammer closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.
I’m so happy this season started with two strong episodes because moments like these three of my favorite of the night has me excited about what the rest of the year has to offer. First, I loved the debut of Tracy Morgan’s Bernard character because, as I said up above, the size difference between Tracy Morgan, Shaquille O’Neal and all of the furniture for scale made this a sketch that always stood out in my mind. Next, I really liked the Private Eye sketch because just like Kelsey Grammer’s character, my mind is usually preoccupied with burritos. Finally, I was a fan of the ESPN2 Lumberjack Classic sketch not only because I used to watch lumberjack games back around this time but I also like the joke about how God only answers the victors while the losers are simply ignored.