SNL: S24E15... HOST: RAY ROMANO... DATE: MARCH 13, 1999

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Everybody Love SNL

Unfortunately, Everybody Loves Raymond came out right around the time where I was too busy adulting to follow every single sit-com that the networks were putting out. I say this is unfortunate because, as I’ve pointed out many times in the past, I was a huge comedy nerd as a kid and my main area of interest was stand-up. Because of this, I was a fan of Ray Romano well before he became a household name but only watched his show when I would randomly catch an episode after it was syndicated.

I did really like the show whenever I did manage to find it but just not enough to actively track it down. I also still like Romano’s stand-up even after the success could have gone to his head. He’s also in one of my favorite obscure indie dark comedies called Eulogy where he and his family discover that their father had a secret second family during a reunion that brought the collection of siblings together to honor their late father with an impromptu Viking funeral.

Having this as my history with the host, I had very little concerns over how he would handle the job. I did have two concerns going into this viewing. One, I worried that there were only thirteen segments that made up the night which felt like even fewer considering how the show just recently returned to the format of having the musical guest perform twice throughout the night. Though I prefer the two performance format, I still can’t stand the fewer/longer sketch format. This did end up being a problem at points since I did find myself zoning out from time to time as sketches started to drone on, but even these longer segments are getting way better than they were in the past.

My second concern was how this season has been very inconsistent with how they handle the hosts where it felt that half of the time the hosts played second fiddle to the rest of the cast, sometimes not even showing up until close to the second half of the show, no matter how talented they were. That wasn’t the case tonight as this episode makes four in a row that almost all felt like they were from an entirely different season which I feel led to the success of this particular episode.

Hopefully, this episode is a sign that the cast and writer learn from the mistakes of the first half and well will get episodes like this to round out the rest of the season. That’s all that I’ve got on the subject for now, so that means it’s time to switch gears in order to share what I saw, as I give you…  

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with a sketch called Barbara Walters Tries Phone Sex where, as the title suggests, Cheri Oteri as Barbara Walters gave phone sex a shot after having her interest piqued during an interview with Monica Lewinsky who talked about having phone sex experience with the President while he was actively ruling the free world. Of course, with this being Saturday Night Live, Walters made these attempts with several public figures who were making news at the time ending on Hilary Clinton who was the only person willing to play along because she was excited to take on the role of a man in order to fulfill Barbara’s fantasies. Also, as usual, with this being the opening sketch, it ended with the announcement of, “Live from New York…”  
  2. Ray Romano then officially opened the show with a one of his stand-up routines about his children that was quickly interrupted by special guests Peter Boyle and Doris Roberts who played Raymond’s parents on his show and acted like his parent in real life by letting Raymond know that he was opening the show wrong claiming you’re not supposed to start the show with stand-up. They also came bearing clips of their own work, hijacking our host’s time for plugs.
  3. This was followed by a parody of SportsCenter where Ray Romano played a new sports anchor who came across as desperate as he attempted to figure out his signature catchphrase in an effort compete with the head anchor who was played by Tim Meadow who overly used the word BOOYAH a catchphrase of his own.
  4. We then got another parody of VH-1 Behind the Music, this time the perform being profiled was Horatio Sanz as Meat Loaf who shared other warning signs that he planned to turn into songs following the success of his song Objects In The Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Actually Are.
  5. Roberto Benigni At Carnabie's too place in the titular high-end restaurant where Ray Romano played the titular Oscar-winning actor who entered the establishment like a madman with the eccentric antics that made him famous yet the rest of the patron didn’t seem to mind, even when his actions completely destroyed their meals. In some cases, his crazy pranks not only ruined the food but also caused physical harm that ruined the person’s life, like when he cut off Horatio Sanz’s arm after finding an emergency ax hanging on the wall.
  6. Pimp Chat the returned for another installment with Tracy Morgan and Tim Meadows as Bishop Don “Mack” Donald and Pimpin’ Kyle as the cable access talk show hosts who broadcast from their pimped out limo. For this installment, they had on special guest, Pretty Tony as played by Ray Romano who was a New York City cop who recently switched sides to become a pimp himself while learning the tricks of the trade when he was on the force.
  7. Once again, Colin Quinn gave us the news. This week, Molly Shannon dropped by as Monica Lewinski in order to promote her book, but she couldn’t stop laughing at her route to this world of fame. Cheri Oteri also got a segment where she used a Barbie doll to illustrate the troubled history of women.
  8. The Corrs then took to the stage to perform What Can I Do?
  9. Chris Kattan then returned as his mumble-mouthed Suel Forrestor character this time as an NCAA basketball coach who frustrated his team because they couldn’t understand his encouragements.
  10. The Big Baby was a sketch that had Will Ferrell as a salesman who broke down and cried like a baby when his marketing campaign went awry.  
  11. The Corrs then returned to the stage to perform So Young.
  12. Petracelli's Dreams took place in a foxhole during WWII and had Ray Romano as a soldier who shared with the rest of the troops his plans for after the war which included his dream to enter a hot dog eating contest to eat as many hot dog as he can that then put on pants that were too tight to freak out little boys. He then went on to share his dream about buying a house to kidnap hobos to turn into zombie slaves that would free up his time to publish a coffee table book filled with pictures of random guys wangs, claiming that this was the true sign of freedom.
  13. Finally, Ray Romano closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Once again, tonight’s episode made for four really fun shows in a row with the help of sketches like these that featured my three favorite moments of the night. First, I loved Petracelli's Dreams because I laughed out loud as this list of dreams got darker and darker throughout the sketch while freaking out the rest of the cast. Next, I really liked The Big Baby sketch because it reminded me of the months leading up to my decision to leave Seattle when I lost all control of my emotions but portrayed in a funny way. Finally, I was a fan of Roberto Benigni At Carnabie's because it always cracked me up how the real Benigni was always able to act up while everyone else treated his antics as if it were no big deal.

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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.