SNL: S27E09... HOST: ELLEN DEGENERES... DATE: DECEMBER 15, 2001

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Welcome To The Five Timers-Club,

I Wish It Was Christmas Today!!!

First off, I’ve always loved the I Wish It Was Christmas Today song, as performed by Horatio Sanz, Jimmy Fallon, Chris Kattan and Tracy Morgan, but as I’ve said in the past, this is around the time period where my TV viewing habits, in general, started to get a little spotty so I wasn’t aware of, or at least forgot that part of the joke was that the group came back multiple times to sneak in performances whenever they could. I now love this song even more and I am excited for it to be a rare sketch that qualifies for the Five-Timers Club with a new performance each time and not just a bunch of reruns.

 As far as Ellen DeGeneres goes, as a stand-up comedy nerd, I was a huge fan of her work far before she was better known for being on TV as either a host or a sitcom star. I always liked her confused, one side of a conversation routine because she reminded me of Bob Newhart. I wouldn’t say that she ripped him off, but there are similarities that have always led me to love them both.

Aside from her stand-up, I don’t think I’ve ever sat through an entire Ellen talk show but I’ve always been entertained by the random clips that I’ve seen on the internet. Between me being a fan of Ellen’s stand-up days, and liking what I’ve seen of both her sitcom and talk show, I went into this viewing with very little concern, especially since the last four shows have been so solid.

Thankfully, tonight was another night where a stand-up comedian did not let me down. I think one of the things that I love about stand-up hosts that I’m already a fan of is that I already know that they’re funny and I also already know why they get me to laugh so seeing them in sketches allows me to image the writing process and just how much they were involved.

I know that every host is involved in the writing process on at least some level but with actors/actresses, it’s harder to gauge how much of themselves they put into each sketch since I mainly know them as the characters they portray, where comedians you have their stage persona to compare against. Sure, it’s still a persona but for the most part, when it comes to comedians, I feel that their stage presence shares the person they really want to be or at least they share a consistent outlook to search for within each sketch.

For example, the Mango sketch from tonight could have been written for anyone as long as they were a lesbian since that did play into the scene. Yes, Ellen’s reactions made it feel more customized but in general, it reminded me of a sketch from any other night. Meanwhile, her character who joined The Culps in order to sing had a quirkiness to her that only Ellen could bring making it feel more than just another visit from a pair of reoccurring characters.

To add to the fun, I also really enjoyed how the two samples from the above paragraph where not only the only two reoccurring sketches of the night but the rest of the night seemed to be made up with sketches that were good but didn’t share the same feel as the rest of the show from this year. This is why I like hosts who do have a career in comedy because they seem to get more involved in the writing process since they have their reputation to think about and have more to lose if the show ends up being a flop.

Alright, sorry for so much rambling, I’m beginning to feel less coherent as I continue to attempt to fit everything into my day now that I’ve got a steady job. Again, I’ve been working random gigs this entire time, but this new job brings with it a more time-consuming schedule that’s making me feel more rushed and uncertain of the quality of my current content while I attempt to figure things out.

Oh well, I’m confident that I’ll eventually nail it all down. Until then, it’s now time for me to shift gears in order to share what I actually saw, as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with a CBS Terrorist Update that showed us a report from Darrell Hammond as Dan Rather where CBS got their hands on an old video that showed Will Ferrell as Osama bin Laden and Horatio Sanz as his handler as they threw out ideas for different ways to attack America on 9/11. This video was supposed to be the smoking gun to prove bin Laden was the mastermind behind the attacks.  Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Ellen DeGeneres then officially opened the show with a bit of a stand-up routine that included a joke where she admitted that she wasn’t gay and that her lesbianism stemmed from a case one-upmanship at a celebrity-filled party that led her to now have to stick to this lie.
  3. The Culps then returned after quite a while off and this time the singing instructing couple sang a medley of hits at a Christmas pageant that was being held in the local mall. A lot of fun came from the fact that this was a secular mall so any time there was a religious reference they had to change it ever so slightly as to not offend.
  4. Kitty Singleton, Federal Agent had Ellen DeGeneres as a Matrix-style Federal Agent who built herself up to be the ultimate badass during the intro to the sketch only to end up getting her ass kicked the second she tried to confront the gang of baddies who she was trying to take down.
  5. TV Funhouse then gave us a parody of the claymation version of Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer where the Snowman/Narrator of the story ruined the holiday season after becoming defeated and jaded over the buildup of endless war that followed 9/11. Santa then saved the day by reminding the Snowman that he was an entertainer who needed to entertain and how nobody cared about what he had to say.
  6. No Doubt then took to the stage to perform Hey, Baby. 
  7. Once again, Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey gave us the news. This week, Tracy Morgan dropped by in order to provide some selfish romantic gift ideas for Christmas. Tina and Jimmy also finished the news by performing a Christmas tribute to Mayor Rudolph Giuliani while the real Giuliani watched on.
  8. Mango then returned for another installment where this time he got Ellen DeGeneres to turn her back on lesbianism after she fell into the magical stripper trance of this little man named Mango. This new love didn’t go over well with the lesbian acting community and the sketch turned pretty epic eventually evolving into a parody of the opening to the movie A Hard Day’s Night.
  9. Family Vacation had Ellen DeGeneres and Will Ferrell as Rachel Dratch and Jimmy Fallon’s mom and dad who were off on a road trip when everyone started to chime in with last-minute concerns like, “Did I leave the iron on?” After each questioned concern we then got to see a suspense-filled shot of the home showing that it was completely vulnerable to these last minute slips of the mind that got more and more extreme as the sketch continued on.
  10. Jack Handey then gave us another installment of My Big Thick Novel where he tells the tale of how his character sighed in the presence of aliens not because he was unimpressed but because he was trying to hide a fart.
  11. Christmas Stepmother had Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler as two fully grown kids who were meeting their new stepmom, Ellen DeGeneres, for the first time. Rather than act like the adults that they are Seth and Amy bounced back and forth between who would have a childish meltdown as they called Ellen their substitute mother and treat her with very little respect at all, even though she came across as a totally awesome person.
  12. Dick Cheney's Snowglobe started out as what seemed to be a parody of Citizen Kane with Cheney having a special moment with his snowglobe, only when he wound the thing up and we saw inside the world of the snowglobe, the sketch quickly evolves to another Horatio Sanz performance of I Wish It Was Christmas Today.
  13. No Doubt then returned to the stage to perform Hella Good.
  14. Finally, Ellen DeGeneres closed the show by thanking the audience and saying her goodnights. 

I’m so excited that tonight makes five good shows in a row, with this one being really fun thanks to these three of my favorite moments of the night. First, I loved Kitty Singleton, Federal Agent because I laughed out loud when Ellen was instantly beaten up after her badass Matrix-like intro. Next, I really liked the Family Vacation sketch because I’ve always liked the, “Did I leave the iron on,” joke, plus I loved how it got more and more chaotic and bizarre and the sketch went on. Finally, I was a fan of Dick Cheney's Snowglobe because I really like how this is the fifth time that they’ve snuck on the same sketch without it being a rerun.

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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.