SNL: S24E14... HOST: BILL MURRAY... DATE: FEBRUARY 20, 1999

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My Birthday Episode: Year 23

What a birthday president this episode turned out to be. Granted, my birthday was months ago but this episode originally aired close enough to my non-existent birthday for this to count as a B-day show. The first gift was the fact that this episode makes three good episodes in a row after a rough patch that followed a solid season start. The bigger gift is the fact that I loved this appearance by Bill Murry.

As I always point out, every single time that he’s on, one of the biggest surprises that has come from this challenge has been just how much I hated Bill Murray as a host for at least a decade after he left the show and I think that tonight might be the first episode where he’s hosted that led me to no longer fear his future visits.

I would say that his past visits that I hated were necessarily bad, I was just really turned off by his comedic choice to put on an overly arrogant attitude. In the early years, especially right after he left the show he seemed to on airs that he was too good for the show and only came back because he owned Lorne Michael while acting like a hostile witness in court. Though I find this attitude to be funny on talk shows, when it comes to sketch comedy, I prefer that everyone gets along.

I think Murray’s already toned down his attitude over the past couple of years, but this is the first episode with him as the host where I feel that he’s found the more modern Murray that I’ve grown to love since this was the first episode with him as the host where he genuinely seemed to be having fun that allowed the cast to have fun as well while they played along, instead of fearing a hero like how it sometimes felt in the past.

Now, moving forward, I think I’ve finally gotten to the point where I will stop worry which Bill I get when I see his name in the lineup of hosts for any upcoming year. Murray will be joining good company because both Chevy Chase and Steve Martin went through this same process with me, keeping in mind that we’re talking about these feeling from my modern eye viewings because I’m sure that I loved every episode from this trilogy of hosts back when they originally aired.

With that, it’s now time for me to move on from sharing the details about my non-birthday gift so that I can move on to share what I saw, as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with another installment of The Ladies Man where host, Leon Phelps hand on special guest/supermodel, Stephanie Seymour to demonstrate how to pick up on women at bars and then how to abandon them once the night is over as he attempted to promote his new class Doing It The Leon Phelps Way. Of course, with this being the opening sketch this all built up to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Bill Murray then officially opened the show with a monolog about how he was so excited about the Broadway debut of Footloose: The Musical that he could barely contain himself after a major buildup that this excitement was over something that was not just life changing but could potentially save the world. The went on to tell the tale of Footloose and finished up the routine by singing the Footloose theme song.
  3. Yahtzee was a sketch that had Bill Murray and Molly Shannon out on a double date with Will Ferrell and Ana Gasteyer. At first, all was going well until, after dinner, the two couples got uber competitive during what started out as a friendly game of Yahtzee but end up starting a fight that led Bill Murray to suggest to switch to a game of Russian roulette.
  4. The Knicks City Dancers that told the tale of the first males who were allowed to be Knick City Dancers since this was apparently the first year where this was allowed. We also got to see the routine featuring most of the male members of the cast who weren’t needed for other roles (IE Tracy Morgan who played a heckler who physically attacked Chris Parnell because of his homophobic views, which seem to be the main issues of the booing crowd, at least in the world of the sketch.) At the end of the sketch, we learned that all the other characters where fictional but Will Ferrell was playing himself.
  5. This was followed by a repeat of the Swill commercial from Bill Murray's first season with the show back in 1977.
  6. This was followed by a fake ad to The Quotable Caddyshack which was a reference guide being pitched to yuppies who wanted to stay hip, with Bill Murray and Chevy Chase as the product’s pitchmen.
  7. Morning Latte then returned for another installment where this time the over-caffeinated morning show hosts had on Bill Murray as their special co-host for the week who and was playing a C-Level celebrity who was there to promote his new late night talk show on the brand new WB network. After the intros, the sketch felt like it evolved into a sketch that was loosely scripted improv since it was funny but it also felt like it meandered at points.
  8. Once again, Colin Quinn gave us the news. This week, Darrell Hammond dropped by as Bill Clinton in order to share that he was saddened by the fact that he was no longer in the papers since things were finally starting to settle from his sex scandal with Lewinski. He then went on to complain that he felt the world liked his better when he was bad before going on to promise that there were more scandals out there to easily be found that would get him in the headlines again. Bill Murray also got a special segment where he brought back his Oscar picking routine from back when he used to be on the show.
  9. Lucinda Williams then took to the stage to perform Can't Let Go.
  10. A Bear Ate My Parents! was a bit of a parody of the, “A dingo ate my baby,” reference from the movie A Cry In The Dark where Chris Parnell tried to host an elegant art party only to have it be constantly interrupted by Horatio Sanz who kept randomly yelling, “A bear ate my parents,” while taking it out on the house. After a while, the other guest felt so sympathetic that they help Horatio trash the place which led Parnell to get extra concerned as the host. Whenever Parnell tried to be rational and calm the chaos he was treated like a heartless villain. Things got so bad that he had to call the cops but before he could dial, a bear with flowers came to the door as a novelty gift to Parnell but when Horatio saw the beast, he freaked out so bad that he jumped out the high rise’s window.
  11. Third Eye Bookstore had Bill Murray as a shopkeep in a hippy/new age bookstore who dressed the part and sold the goods but had no real grasp of the beliefs or concepts behind the good he was trying to sell to his customers were very confused by his effort to upsell the products. It turned out that Bill Murray wasn’t even a new age person at all and had the real store owner tied up in the back in order to pretend to be in charge.
  12. Lucinda Williams then returned to the stage to perform Too Cool To Be Forgotten.
  13. Steve Baxter, Hollywood Gynecologist had Bill Murray as the titular celebrity gynecologist who attempted to promote his services with the help of Chris Parnell who was known for his one-man Las Vegas lounge act.
  14. Finally, Bill Murray closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Granted, I may just be extra excited because I’ve got my computer up and running again after having to spend fourteen hours working through the issues that came up, but this felt like an extra fun episode with the help of these three of my favorite moments from the night. First, I loved The Quotable Caddyshack not only because I found the sketch to be funny in general but I loved the surprise visit by Chevy Chase. Next, I really liked the called A Bear Ate My Parents! because it cracked me up how not only did Horatio Sanz not fit in to the event in the first place but how his overreaction to this severe event that happened multiple decades ago inspired guests to join him in trashing the venue while finding anyone who attempted to stop the chaos to be an insensitive jerk. Finally, I was a fan of The Knicks City Dancers because I liked seeing the male members of the cast attempt to dance their asses off.

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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.