SNL: S24E09... HOST: ALEC BALDWIN... DATE: DECEMBER 12, 1998

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Welcome To The Eight-Timers Club,

Mr. Baldwin

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With this being Baldwin’s eighth time as host, I’ve already clearly covered the fact that I am a fan of the man, especially when it comes to his hosting duties. I’m currently loving the race between Baldwin and Goodman to be the leader of the X-Timers Club which has Goodman in the lead with nine shows under his belt and Alec right on his tale with eight. Then again, John Goodman has been in almost every episode this year, including tonight’s, which almost makes me want to piece these guest visits together in order to technically give Goodman a bonus hosting point.

Since I live in the current world, I know the eventual outcome that Baldwin will eventually win especially if I were to include any bonus hosting points for special appearances now that Alec does Trump almost every single week on the show. He deserves it though because I still feel that, of the X-Timer Hosts, Baldwin feels the most like an actual member of the cast. All the others like Steve Martin or Tom Hanks feel more like stars who drop by from time to time as a special occasion. Meanwhile, Goodman is good, but he feels more like a fan who fits in a visit whenever he can and this fanatic energy can come off as he trying too hard compared to Baldwin who seems to just fit in without any effort.

This isn’t a dig a John Goodman because, on weaker seasons, that same fanatic energy that can make him seem like he’s trying too hard can often reenergize the cast to create an oasis episode hidden between a slew of so-so shows. However, with Baldwin, though he does elevate most shows that he hosts, his appearances tend to closer match the quality of the cast that he is working with so that weaker years lead to weaker appearances even if his episode ends up being the best show of the season.

Unfortunately, I’m starting to see this season as a weaker year, so I wasn’t all that impressed with this appearance even though it contained the Schweddy Balls sketch which is the best Baldwin sketch of all time. There were a few other fun moments but for the most part, the sketches seemed to run long which led them to feel a little flat. I think I was excited about the first few shows from this year because each episode had seventeen segments, if not more, which creates a quicker form of comedy that I prefer. In fact, if you go back, most of the seasons that I take issue with average fourteen or less segment to make up the night that often leads me to zone out as the sketches start to feel like they are dragging on.

Hopefully, since this was the Christmas episode, the show will make some adjustment over the winter break as the show is often known to do. We’ll see what happens and until then, it’s now time for me to switch gears in order to share what I watched as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with A Message From The President Of The United States where Darrell Hammond as Bill Clinton admitted that he was sorry for the impeachment trial. This sketch must have been in reference to an actual address because the audience laughed a lot at certain statements and the overall tone that didn’t seem funny at all minus having the reference material to rely on. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it all built up to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Alec Baldwin then officially opened the show with a monolog where he went through the usual opening pleasantries before breaking down and admitting the state of the world had him too rundown to be in the mood to joke around. He was then interrupted by John Goodman as the Ghost Of SNL Hosts Present, who offered our current host a glimpse backstage to see how excited the cast was to work with him while also learning that Lorne was threatening the cast that if tonight’s show wasn’t good their time at SNL would be over. Goodman then left and Jimmy Fallon took his place as the Ghost Of SNL Hosts Future who took Alec to the show in 2011 where Fallon was the host and was still making fun of Baldwin over tonight’s appearance since it was such an epic failure. This look at the future changed Baldwin’s attitude back to where he enthusiastic to host in order to avoid the future jokes at his expense.
  3. This was followed by a fake ad for NBA On NBC that promised an extra exciting season since it would be following all of the players in court as they tried to work through their contract negotiations in order to end their strike and get back to playing the game.
  4. Morning Latte then returned or another installment where Will Ferrell and Cheri Oteri revised their over-caffeinated morning show host who kept making fun of their new pot-smoking producer, played by Alec Baldwin while they share stories of the time spent at his Christmas party.
  5. Cassidy took place in a hospital and had Alec Baldwin as the titular Cassidy who was supposed to be an ill six-year-old girl that had a rare condition that made her look like Alec as himself as a full-grown man. His looks made it hard for Molly Shannon to resist falling in love as she attempted to lift Cassidy spirits as a female version of Patch Adams.
  6. TV Funhouse then returned to give us an animation showing the Harlem Globetrotters on their first Christmas where they traveled back in time to take on the Three Wise Men on the day that Jesus was born. With baby Jesus on the Wise Men’s team, the game was super close but the Globetrotters still won in the end.
  7. 10-10-1776-5-28-1830-242-3-316-68-22 was a fake ad for a new way to make long distance calls in order to save a few bucks because this was still back in the days of land-lines where this type of discount code that you’d dial into your phone was pretty common.
  8. Luciano Pavarotti and Vanessa Williams then took to the stage to perform Adeste Fideles.
  9. Once again, Colin Quinn gave us the news. This week, Tim Meadows dropped in as Kwanzaa Timmy to perform an erotic Kwanzaa themed song in an attempt to explain Kwanzaa traditions, with Vanessa Williams singing backup.
  10. The Delicious Dish then returned for probably the most classic Alec Baldwin sketch of all time where he played Pete Schweddy to share his Schweddy Balls with Molly Shannon and Ana Gasteyer as their monotoned NPR talk show character.
  11. Impeachment Hearings was almost a continuation of last week’s opening sketch only this time Alec joined in with the cast to impersonate a handful of politicians and random celebrities while parodying the coverage of the Clinton Impeachment Hearings.
  12. Chanukah Hymns was a fake ad for an album filled with Chanukah songs that make the holiday sound miserable.
  13. Bill Brasky On Wall Street was a typical Bill Brasky sketch only this time the collection of characters who bragged about their mythical friend were drinking to drown their sorrows after a really rough day on Wall Street.
  14. Finally, Alec Baldwin closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Though this episode was a bit of a letdown, it still kept me entertained enough thanks to these three of my favorite moments of the night. First, I loved the Schweddy Balls sketch because I remember at the time this originally aired this was the most shockingly hilarious thing that I had ever seen from a show on a major network even though it seems pretty tame compared to what’s on TV these days. Next, I really liked the Harlem Globetrotters’ First Christmas cartoon because I liked the old school animation style and the fact that the baby Jesus joined in on the basketball game. Finally, I was a fan of Bill Brasky On Wall Street because I’m a fan of the Bill Brasky series of sketches because I used to relate to the mythological Brasky back in the days where my party animal reputation preceded any introduction that I ever had.

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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.