SNL: S25E11... HOST: ALAN CUMMING... DATE: FEBRUARY 5, 2000

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If I wasn’t aware that Alan Cumming had a history of performing live on Broadway, I might have been a little more concerned going into this episode. Not that I think he’s a bad actor, I just always pictured him as more of an artsy type person who can be funny but not funny enough to host a comedy sketch show. That said, because of his Broadway past I was pretty confident that he could handle the hosting duties since most stage acting hosts do well.

It turns out that I was right as far as Cumming’s hosting abilities go but the problem is, I was a little off as far as who Alan Cumming actually is. Even after watching the episode, it wasn’t until I started to write this review and had to turn to the IMDB to see which movie our host was there to promote that I realized that the artsy actor I was thinking about was actually Adrien Brody.

I know, for fans of the two actors, this is a ridiculous mix-up since I felt like an idiot when I finally figured it out. In my defense, it wouldn’t take much adjusting to get the two to have a very similar look. That combined with the fact that I’m aware of both of their careers on the same level, where I haven’t seem much of their work and know them by names more than by their personalities.

That would explain why I was a bit surprised by how playful Cumming’s was during his monolog and throughout the night when I was expecting more of Adrien Brody’s more standoffish serious actor style. Now that I think about it, this mix up might be why I feel that Brody has a more silly side since Cumming seems fun all of the time.

As far as the actual episode goes, it was a fun one that managed to break the mold of the fewer but longer sketch format. With Cumming having a Broadway background, a lot of the sketches ended in song which made this extra time spent feel a little more tolerable. Though this did make the longer sketches more tolerable, I’m still not a huge fan of this format, especially during nights like this where there was also a short film and two songs.

Then again, I can’t really complain because the night was still pretty fun. With all of that said, it’s now time for me to shift 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 Breakfast In New Hampshire where Will Ferrell as George W. Bush, Chris Parnell as John McCain, Tim Meadows as Alan Keyes, Darrell Hammond as Al Gore, and Jimmy Fallon as Bill Bradley met up for breakfast prior to the New Hampshire convention and ribbed one another throughout the meal in a way that good friend joke during a friendly game of golf as if they were all a part of the same club. McCain was the only one who wasn’t having fun as the laughing and pointing sent him into a flashback from when he was a prisoner of war and started to choke George W., thinking that he was the enemy. When McCain came to, he announced of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Alan Cumming then officially opened the show with a monolog about how New York was his second home being that he worked just down the street in the Broadway play Cabaret. Chris Kattan and Cheri Oteri then interrupted to share how they were huge fans of his work in the play and kept interrupting him by reciting lines. After Kattan and Oteri left, Ana Gasteyer interrupted to show off her skills by singing The Sun Will Come Up, while dressed as Annie. Chris Parnell then broke this up while dressed as The Phantom Of The Opera and then ended with Tracy Morgan running across the set while dressed as a character from Cats and Will Ferrell attempted to present Alan Cumming with his headshot.
  3. This was followed by my favorite sketch of all time which is the classic fake ad for Uncle Jemima's Pure Mash Liquor where Tracy Morgan played a Drunken Uncle Jemima in order to hawk his homemade booze that he drank to cope with dealing with Aunt Jemima. At one point he drinks so much that he seems Disney-style creatures to parody The Song Of The South only Tim Meadows points out that these animal are just products of Uncle Jemima’s drunken mind.
  4. Fried Chicken Dreams Forever was a parody of a VH-1 biopic that shared a what-if story that share the tale of a potential time where Jimmy Fallon and Alan Cumming tried to start a chain of fried chicken restaurant after The Beatles broke up only to have it ruined by Cheri Oteri as Yoko Ono who had crazy new ideas for their chicken.
  5. The Culps then returned to sing more popular songs in their singing instructor style only this time they were performing at a couple’s enhancement retreat. For the first time since this sketch started, the Culps were joined by a third as Alan Cumming grabbed an extra mic after he made their introduction.
  6. Dog Show also returned for another installment where this time Will Ferrell, Molly Shannon, and their real-life dogs had on Alan Cumming as a character who was a bizarre blend of what seemed to be a hippie, a dominatrix, and a boat captain, between his look and attitude. Again, this sketch only works for me when the dogs act up and throw off the human actors but other than that it feels like it’s trying too hard to be surreal and quirky which is my favorite brand of humor when correctly done.
  7. The Heat Is On brought us our first short film by Adam McKay that had Ben Stiller bets Jimmy Fallon and Horatio Sanz that he can get Will Ferrell as Glenn Frey in bed while hanging out in a bar after the crew was playing a game where Stiller claimed that he could predict how many lines it would take to get any girl in the bar to go home with him. This sketch took place at a time where a lot of humor came from guys making out so, of course, Ben Stiller won.
  8. Jennifer Lopez then took to the stage to perform Feelin' So Good.
  9. Once again, Colin Quinn gave us the news. This week, Tracy Morgan got a segment called Great Moments In Black History where he did an autobiographical profile of himself. Darrell Hammond as Bill Clinton also dropped by to share his perspective on the 2000 Presidential Election.
  10. Siegfried and Roy's Night Of 1000 Tigers had Alan Cumming and Chris Kattan as Siegfried and Roy who were hosting a benefit show for the few remaining tigers that were still living out in the wild. I kept expecting this to build up to a joke about the attack on Roy but this was still three years before that incident. Instead, this benefit show had a talk show format where they interviewed Cheri Oteri as a woman who just had reconstructive surgery in her efforts to look like a lion. There was also a segment where the two tiger obsessed performers went to the streets in an effort to create a prank segment for their show. We then went back to the studio where Siegfried and Roy performed once last magic trick before singing a song.
  11. Hello Dolly returned for another installment with Ana Gasteyer as Deana Nolan-Grey who played a Home Shopping Network host who had a show where she pitched a bunch of crazy dolls, this time with her special guest who was played by Alan Cumming.
  12. Jennifer Lopez then returned to the stage to perform Waiting For Tonight.
  13. Finally, Alan Cumming closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Even when I was mixing our host up with Adrien Brody, I still found this night to be fun especially with the help of these three sketches that contained my favorite moments of the night. First I loved Uncle Jemima's Pure Mash Liquor which is quite possibly my favorite sketch of all time because as a booze drinking degenerate, I always loved this crazy man’s pitch to sell his homemade moonshine. Next, I really liked Fried Chicken Dreams Forever because the idea of VH-1 creating this fictional John Lennon/Paul McCartney chicken shop collaboration to get around the copyright issues to tell their ex-Beatles tale. Finally, I was a fan of this week’s visit from The Culps because they’re always good for a laugh plus I loved that Cumming played along.  

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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.