Welcome To The Nine-Timers Club, Mr. Baldwin
I have to admit, I was kind of terrified of this episode going into the viewing. First off, looking at the sketch list alone, I was extremely disappointed by the fact that there were only thirteen segments that made up the night with two musical performance. If you’ve read any other review from this season, you may already know how much the fewer but longer sketch format, and thirteen is the fewest count that I’ve seen in a while.
Other than that, I was worried about Alec Baldwin since his last visit was one of my least favorites of his eight hosted show at the time. If it were any other season I would have expected a comeback performance but with this season I had my doubts. It didn’t help that he had recently divorced Kim Basinger around this time, so I wasn’t sure where he’d be in his head, especially considering all of the other factors.
I was genuinely surprised to quickly find that all of my fears were for nothing and this ended up being my favorite Baldwin show in a while. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was because he had extra manic energy from his effort to keep his mind off of splitting with his wife, or, the way Hollywood works, maybe he was already trying to impress some new girl.
Either way, he had his old Alec energy back and seemed to be having a lot of fun instead of phoning in his performance like I felt he did during his last visit to the show. Now that I think about it, that would be sense considering that his last visit would have been around of the peak of his marital problems which might also explain why he took a season off from hosting, which was the first year he missed in quite a while.
Early in the night he even joked that he was happy how the show was his home away from home since he really needed some cheering up after losing his main home. I think this is what made this show seem extra fun because the member of the cast who had worked with Baldwin the most of the year did seem like they were trying to cheer up a buddy through sketches that were light, fun and didn’t drag on no matter how long they were.
Hopefully, this energy carries over to next week because I don’t have much faith that the rest of the host will do anything more than average, based on the rest of the year and nothing to do with their talent. Oh well, we’ll have to wait and see and until then, it’s now time for me to shift gears in order to share what I saw during my viewing, as I give you…
The Wicker Breakdown:
This week's show started with A Message From The President Of The United States where Will Ferrell as George W. Bush delivered his list of demands to China after a few U.S. soldiers were captured after a U.S. spy plane went down over their country. First, he apologized for us getting caught then demanded the plane be returned after North Korea was allowed reverse engineer it so that would could then send it off to Libya. They were allowed to keep any documents found inside the spy plane but they could only share copies of copies to other countries. This was followed by more demands that mainly favored China and other countries who we are still supplying resources to while at the same time considering them enemies. Of course, with this being the opening sketch it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
Alec Baldwin then officially opened the show with a monolog about being back for the ninth time and how it was good that SNL was his home away from home considering his recent divorce from Kim Basinger. Before he could get any further, Darrell Hammond as Bill Clinton joined our host on the stage to give him a few pointers on how to meet women now that he’s single again.
This was followed by a fake ad for Reliable Investments that had Alec Baldwin as a stockbroker who jumped out a window to his death while trying to advise Ana Gasteyer on how to handle her losses following a recent Wall Street downturn. He stayed on the line pleasantly lying to her right up until she hung up just moments before he hit the ground.
Delicious Dish then returned with Ana Gasteyer as her monotoned NPR host character who, first, introduced us to her new sidekick Rachel Dratch, who took over for Molly Shannon and then went on to bring back Alec Baldwin’s Pete Schweddy character who, following the success of his Schweddy Balls visit, came back to promote his new ballpark wiener business where he sold his Schweddy Wieners. This, of course, led to an endless amount of Schweddy Wiener jokes that went even further than they went with Pete’s Schweddy Balls.
Tough Guy had Alec Baldwin as a military Sergeant along with the entire cast as soldiers who were captured by the Chinese from the down US spy plane that was referenced at the top of the show. While trying to prepare his men for escape he let everyone know that he was ready to take on their captors single-handedly while spreading propaganda about the enemy including the “fact” that Chinese women have sideways vaginas. The rest of the men were more realistic considering they were inland with nowhere to hide along with the fact that there was no way they could take on a billion people.
This was followed by another parody of Inside The Actors Studio where this time Will Ferrell as James Lipton interviewed Alec Baldwin as Charles Nelson Reilly while making fun of Charles’s personality and voice as well as the real show’s style and format.
Once again, Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey gave us the news. This week, Tracy Morgan dropped by to discuss what happened with Daryl Strawberry after he disappeared from rehab, violating his probation in the process. Of course, Tracy defended Strawberry’s actions while guessing on how things went down. Jimmy Fallon gave us an international version of his I Have An Opinion segment that focused on the China situation where they captured our spies, pointing out that it was totally our fault and Tina got a segment to rant against Hugh Hefner’s girlfriends complaining about the fact that they were all blondes. The news then wrapped up with Kid Rock stopping by for a special installment of Spade’s classic Hollywood Minute after it was announced that David would be doing the segment but Kid Rock joke that they were partying and Spade passed out so he decided to step in. David did eventually come out, dressed as Kid Rock and dancing and singing on the desk until the real Kid Rock pushed him off for his horrible impersonation.
Coldplay then took to the stage to perform Yellow.
Red Ships Of Spain brought back Will Ferrell as Robert Goulet in order to team up with his two brothers, as played by Alec Baldwin and Chris Parnell in order to put on a new Goulet musical.
The Bush Tax Cut was a C-SPAN sketch that had Chris Kattan and Darrell Hammond as Tom Daschle and Richard Gephardt who both ruined a press conference as they tried to explain the new Bush tax cuts by using the craziest references to explain their point of view.
Lasting Impressions featured Alec Baldwin and Jimmy Fallon as two artists who showed how to add a touch of class to photos by painting portraits inside of a brandy snifter to create the pre-everyone had Photoshop images that were big around this time, even though they were already cheesy at the time.
Coldplay then returned to the stage to perform Don't Panic.
Finally, Alec Baldwin closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.
Again, I hate that I’m not a bigger fan of this season to the point where I was surprised to find that I liked an Alec Baldwin episode but thankfully, tonight turned out to be very fun thanks to these sketches that contained my three favorite moments of the night. First, I loved Schweddy Wieners because if you thought Schweddy Balls was hilarious, Schweddy Wieners took the joke over-the-top and had me laughing out loud even as I expected each joke involved. Next, I really liked the Tough Guy not only because delusional tough guy comedic characters crack me up but racism aside, this sketch also cracked me up by the concept of a sideways vagina. Finally, I was a fan of this week’s Inside The Actors Studio parody because I might be too young to remember Charles Nelson Reilly from his prime but I remember his weird delivery cracking me up when he was constantly on game shows back when I was a kid.