SNL: S25E16... HOST: CHRISTOPHER WALKEN... DATE: APRIL 8, 2000

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Two Words: More Cowbell!!!

Let’s just jump into why everyone is here and get right into my thoughts on the classic More Cowbell sketch. Though I fully remember this sketch from the night it originally aired when I found it to be one of the funniest things that I’ve ever seen, I wasn’t sure how I would like it now considering it seems like it’s been about a decade since my last viewing. Part of me felt that I would still see the charm in the sketch but any leftover humor would be lost from the millions of times I’m heard, “MORE COWBELL!!!” referenced in a joke.

Thankfully, my concerns were squelched the second the sketch started and I started to smile based on the ‘70s style and fashion motif alone. I don’t know what made me laugh more, Chris Kattan’s mullet/mustache combo, Will Ferrell’s ill-fitting shirt, or Horatio Sanz, who reminds me of my best friend from elementary school in ways where I just can’t look at him without at least wanting to chuckle. I feel this allowed me to let down my guard when it came how overplayed the cowbell joke’s been and watched it while just having fun, fully understanding why this is such a go-to joke.

Other than my views on the More Cowbell sketch, I also think that this is the best of the visits by Christopher Walken so far. Part of me feels that each of his visits has been better than the last since his episodes are so close to being the same making him seem more and more practiced every time that he’s on. That’s not to say that the repetitiveness isn’t fun or funny but there’s no denying that the similarities are there.

Then again, the only sketch to repeat with every visit is The Continental, which I still find to be funny because I’ve always loved the Bob Newhart-style joke where you only hear one side of a conversation. That, and I have to watch it with Wile E. Coyote chasing the Roadrunner in mind, knowing the girl always gets away to make it feel less rapey which is a reality of the joke that always slipped by until these recent viewing. Not that I didn’t get the agenda of The Continental resident but it just felt more cartoony when I was young.

The fact that the Walken hosted shows always have the fewer but longer sketch format, usually with a couple repeat fake ads and sketches not featuring the host and The Continental always airing near the start of the show set up a tone where these show can seem interchangeable. Not only that but Walken only has one style of acting in sketches which can also blur which bit came from which night.

Because of this sense of similarity, I’m happy how SNL paces out Walken's hosting duties to be once every four or five years, making them still feel like a quirky treat that would be spoiled if these visits came year after year after year. Either way, I look forward to Walken’s next visit when he’ll be joining The Five-Timers Club.

Until then, it’s 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 Father And Son Bush which had special guest, Dana Carvey drop to revise his George Bush impersonation in order to give fatherly advice to Will Ferrell as George W. Bush on how to deal with Al Gore since he had just recently officially landed the role as the Republican candidate for the upcoming Presidential Election. The main advice that the elder Bush had for his son was to never commit to anything while slipping out of answering questions that could potentially lose him even one vote. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually built to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Christopher Walken then officially opened the show with a monolog about how he was happy to be back and missed hosting since he’s growing to be a bit of a bore as he aged. This led him to sing the song Saturday Night Is The Loneliest Night Of The Week while the women of the cast danced in the background.
  3. We then got one of the most quoted SNL sketches of all time with the classic parody of Behind The Music: Blue Oyster Cult where I think I can sum up the sketch simply by saying, “More cowbell!!!”
  4. This was followed by a fake ad for a new Broadway musical titled, Elian, The Cuban Boy! Which had Christopher Walken as Fidel Castro, Ana Gasteyer and Elian’s aunt, Will Ferrell as Janet Reno, Chris Kattan’s as Elian’s dad and Rachel Dratch as Elian Gonzalez who all had songs to sing about the Elian incident and following deportation case.
  5. This was followed by another installment of The Continental which once again was pretty much the same sketch only this time Christopher Walken attempted to woo his neighbor and trap her in his luxury apartment when she dropped by to pick up her mail.
  6. We then got a fake ad for Viagra that showed the exasperated wives who weren’t as thrilled as their unappealing husbands were by the fact that these boner pills actually worked since that means they were back to being pestered for sex again after getting used to the slower sex lives of the old.
  7. This was followed by a parody of Jenny Jones where Christopher Walken played an audience member who was very excited to be able to express his thoughts through cliché hip terms from the time (IE You ain’t all that and a bag of chips) while making comments to Jenny’s guest. The topic of today’s parody show was people who went from not to hot after high school who were there to confront their bullies.
  8. Once again, Colin Quinn gave us the news. This week, Will Ferrell dropped by as Jacob Silj to discuss an Anti-Trust settlement against Microsoft that was recently in the news, the sketch didn’t have much to do with the case but was more about how Ferrell’s character couldn’t control the volume of his voice which led him to always sound like he was yelling.
  9. Christina Aguilera then took to the stage to perform I Turn To You.
  10. The Census had Tim Meadows as a census taker who had to endure a very strange encounter with Christopher Walken while he attempted to ask him the question required for him to fill out his census form. Throughout the questioning, Walken kept admitting that he was terrible when it came to numbers and other details, making this census poll an impossible task for Meadows. An example of how bad it was, at one point, Walken wasn’t sure if there were eighty or four people living in his one bedroom apartment only to eventually discover he actually lives by himself and the wife he kept referring to was a bobcat.
  11. Miss Greenwood Hills Beauty Pageant had Molly Shannon’s Sally O’Malley character brag about being fifty and doing her high kicks while participating in a beauty pageant.
  12. Christina Aguilera then took to the stage to perform the songs At Last and What A Girl Wants back to back.
  13. Finally, Christopher Walken closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

I hope the above review doesn’t seem too negative because this really was my favorite visit from Christopher Walken, who can be a bit of a one trick pony but that one trick gets me to laugh like it didn’t in these three of my favorite moments of the night. First I loved the Behind The Music: Blue Oyster Cult parody because it’s still a classic even though the jokes that reference the sketch may be a little played out. Next, I really liked The Census because the interaction between Christopher Walken and Tim Meadows played off a brand of confusion that always gets a few laughs out of me. Finally, I was a fan of Miss Greenwood Hills Beauty Pageant because again, to this day, I still find myself randomly blurting, “I’m 50!!!” from time to time.

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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.