SNL: S24E08... HOST: VINCE VAUGHN... DATE: DECEMBER 5, 1998

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I was twenty-years-old when the movie Swingers came out which was perfect timing because I was young enough to not be annoyed by all of the hipster talk that now makes the movie hard to watch, but it also came out while my newly found love of indie films was still fresh and enthusiastic. Between Swingers and Clay Pigeons, I instantly became a Vince Vaughn fan but then grew to love the man, even more, when he started to star in some of my favorite raunchy comedy films.

Since this episode originally aired when Vaughn was still mainly known for his serious work, I think I had realistic expectations for tonight’s show, feeling that it would be fun but probably not as good as any future visits from him that I may actually remember. It turned out that I was right, as this visit felt like it was one from a serious actor who was ready to play but not confident enough as a comedian quite yet to be more in control of the jokes but at the same time you could see that the ability is there.

Other than that, I think the Honeymoon stage to this season is over, and where I used to feel that this year had started stronger than the last, I now feel that they are on par with one another. I think my biggest problem this year is that the show seems to be under-utilizing the host, which I really went into in yesterday’s review of Jennifer Love Hewitt’s appearance.

Granted, the show has always had a structure where the host is rarely in the cold open, they usually save their first time on screen to follow Don Pardo calling them to the stage for their opening monolog. The monolog is then often followed by a fake ad, that also rarely includes the host. I’m fine with this format but I do expect for it to become the host’s show as soon as they finish the fake ad.

The problem is, the shows for this season have been starting the same but then the first non-cold-opening, non-monolog, non-fake-ad, segment have featured sketches that, at best, barely include the host, if they’re included at all. I think that since I don’t expect these type of sketches to come until later in the night when the host might need a break, it sets up a sense that the host isn’t really into the gig whether or not that’s the case.

It doesn’t help that with this season, it seems that unless the host already has a well-established comedy career, they rarely have roles that get any laughs and no matter how well they act, they feel like they’re there to support the cast, and not the other way around like it should be. This really sucks because take tonight, for example, the last sketch of the night was the most fun of the bunch because Vince Vaughn was actively involved in the humor instead of just setting up the jokes.

This episode would have been amazing if it all played out with the tone of this last sketch where the host was the star, as they should be, opposed to the somewhat of a flat show that it turned out to be with the cast doing their usual job. As always, it was still entertaining to watch, I’m just disappointed that the episode seemed to drop the ball considering the night’s potential.

Alright, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, it’s time to move on and share what I saw, as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with parody coverage of the Bill Clinton Impeachment Hearings where many members of the cast got to impersonate politicians and various random celebrity witnesses in order to add their two cents to the impeachment process that stemmed from the obstruction of justice and perjury claims that came from the Clinton/Lewinski affair. As always, with this being an opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Vince Vaughn then officially opened the show with a monolog but before he could even finish the usual host pleasantries about being happy to be in New York hosting the show, he was interupted by Darrell Hammond as Alfred Hitchcock who claimed to have been back from the netherworld in order to admit that he feels Lauyn Hill is awsome even though Vaughn correctly felt that the deceased auteur was actually there out of anger since our host was there to promote the shot-for-shot remake of Psycho which I don’t think went over all that well with the critics.
  3. This was followed by a repeat of the Oops! I Crapped My Pants commercial from earlier in the season which marketed diapers for old people that claimed it could hold up to a gallon of feces.
  4. Dog Show was a cable access show of a sketch where Will Ferrell and Molly Shannon played two dog fanatics who hosted said show with their favorite pets as their sidekicks. A bulk of the humor came from Will Ferrell having to wrangle his horny little dog while trying to read viewer mail. Toward the end of the sketch, Vince Vaughn dropped in as a wheelchair-bound old guy who sang a quick song about his dog but this just felt like a way to crowbar the host into the first non-opening sketch of the night.
  5. Mr. Peepers In Las Vegas had Chris Kattan as the monkey man who was in Las Vegas to parody the movie swingers with Peepers playing the Jon Favreau role.
  6. The Joys of Marriage had Vince Vaughn, Will Ferrell, and Jimmy Fallon as three friends who were just hanging out. In the sketch, both Vaughn and Ferrell were married and shared a bunch of stories about how great marriage is, going against every cliché jokes about marriage that are usually used in comedy. This was so shocking to Fallon who recently got engaged that he lost any fear that he had over his upcoming nuptials. It wasn’t until Fallon was gone to use the bathroom that the two married lads let on that they were just telling lies to get their friend to join them in their misery.
  7. This was followed by a fake ad that started out sounding like it was a serious ad for a college and how being an educated person could help lead to a better world. That is until it was revealed that the education intro was just the backdrop to set up our commercial’s hero’s average before showing how he handles the night with his trusty Brew Dude hat that sprayed beer all over the room, instantly turning our hero into the life of the party.
  8. John Lennon Memorial took place in a park where Vince Vaughn, Cheri Oteri, and Chris Kattan were honoring the late John Lennon’s birthday before getting a visit from his ghost. The three Lennon fans quickly became annoyed by the ghost of their biggest hero as he talked in circles in an effort to make himself seem like a deep thinker. The three then said screw it and ventured to San Francisco only to be annoyed by the ghost of Jerry Garcia’s rambling stoner philosophy.
  9. Exxon-Mobil Merger took place in a small town that had an Exxon gas station on one side of the street and a Mobil gas station on the other. We then went in to the Exxon shop where Vince Vaughn and Chris Parnell were working and Will Ferrell came in from Mobil to talk to the two about the news. At first, they argued over which company was the one doing the purchasing and which one had been purchased while showing loyalty to whichever gas station the person talking was working for until they found out that the merger meant that both gas stations were getting shut down which led any loyalty to go out the door.  
  10. Once again, Colin Quinn gave us the news. This week, Ana Gasteyer’s folk-singing comedian character named Cinder Calhoun reported from the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree that she was chained to in order to protest the commercialization and tree-killing that comes with this giving time of year. She then sang a Tenacious D sounding song about the slaughtering of Christmas trees.
  11. Lauryn Hill then took to the stage to perform Doo Wop (That Thing).
  12. We then got a parody of Psycho where Cheri Oteri played what Norman Bates imagined of his mother while he envisioned that she was still alive. It turned out that the Psycho’s mom was more overbearing, treating him like a little kid who she loved to the point of being obnoxious, over being the abusive mom that you’d think.
  13. Pimp Chat was a talk show that aired on The Pimp Channel and took place in a pimped out limo with Tracy Morgan as host, Bishop Don “Mack” Donald, who was a parody of the real Bishop Don “Magic” Juan, and his sidekick Tim Meadows as Pimpin’ Kyle. The two went on to announce the winners of their Pimp Of The Week Award that went to Bill Clinton before having on Vince Vaughn as their guest to discuss what it’s like to be a white pimp.
  14. Lauryn Hill then returned to the stage to perform Ex-Factor.
  15. Delco Cat Toys took place in a corporate meeting room where Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell talked as if they were executives at some important Fortune 500 company, only to have Chris Parnell enter the scene to reveal this was actually a company that made cat toys but were still just as serious about the business as if their products were the most important things in the world. To add to the humor, Ferrell and Vaughn would have to act like cats in order to test new products as they came in.
  16. Finally, Vince Vaughn closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

I really thought it would be a simple task to come up with my favorite segments of the night considering Vince Vaughn was the host but unfortunately, here we are. Though I wouldn’t say the sketches were bad but they were all average, in the same way, making it hard to narrow down the best but here are top three moments that I managed to come up with. First, I loved the Mr. Peepers Swingers Parody because even though I can’t stand the hipster talk now, I used to love that movie when I was young. Next, I really like the Delco Cat Toy sketch because it was the only sketch of the night that felt like it tapped into the humor of a more modern and silly Vince Vaughn. Finally, I was a fan of the John Lennon Memorial sketch because I liked how it made fun of the disconnect between youths views of deceased legends by highlighting the nonsensical hippy talk of both John Lennon and Jerry Garcia that is much deeper when you are stoned, plus I just love Horatio Sanz as the late Grateful Dead lead singer.

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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.