SNL: S27E14... HOST: JON STEWART... DATE: MARCH 9, 2002

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You Ever Watch SNL ON WEED???

As I’ve said many times before, I was a huge stand-up comedy nerd when I was a kid. This often means that I’ve already been a fan of many comedians before they worked on whatever project that got them famous enough to be invited on as an SNL host. This was the case with Jon Stewart, where I was a fan of his work before he was solely known for making fun of the news.

I first discovered Jon Stewart in his joke slinging days when stand-up comedy seemed to be both his main focus as well as the main focus of Comedy Central, where I watched him all the time. I also loved his first non-news-themed talk show where he had the weird little sidekick named Howard. Witnessing this evolution maybe be why I’ve always liked Jon Steward even after I started to lose interest in the phony news genre, that people now look at as a legitimate news source.

Though I do feel that these shows make many valid points, it feels to me that with Jon Stewart’s roots in stand-up, he would take more shots at either party even though he leaned liberal just like me. The new breed of news satirists no longer seem as tied to the stand-up world but instead see themselves as real journalists with a comedic edge. This would be fine if it didn’t mean that this new breed did bring with them the same party line loyalty that’s both dividing and destroying the way we spread important information.

I know, pointing this out may make me seem like I’ve switched to the other side by complaining about liberal coverage when my real issue is that I feel news should be neutral instead of pushing the messenger’s views. This is why I no longer trust anything that’s reported because not only do you have to take in the information but you also have to factor in the political filters of not only the host but also the network they represent.

I find this to be pretty sad because I used to feel that comedy was a powerful tool for spreading news to the masses but now the genre is both acceptable and profitable, it just feels like another form of thought control equivalent to the way conservatives use FOX News. I have never said that one side is worse than the other, my point has always been that they are two sides of the same coin.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let’s get into tonight’s episode, which turned out to be really fun. For one, I love how Jon Stewart has a mischievous quality to him where he always seems to be on the verge of laughing because of the thoughts going on in his head. This mischievous quality then created a fun energy that made the entire night feel like everyone was playing while creating content that got me to laugh out loud more than once.

Some may see Jon Stewart constantly being on the verge of laughter as a cheat, especially considering that he almost broke a couple of scenes over lines that didn’t really justify a laugh, minus Stewart’s giggling delivery, and I would agree if he were a regular on the case, but as a host I felt that it added enough charm to get me to laugh along. In fact, I laughed out loud more throughout this episode than I have in a while.

This season still suffers from having good shows as a whole with no real stand-out/classic sketches in a given episode. This isn’t really an issue because I’ve been more than just entertained like I’ve been throughout other average seasons, like last season when there seemed to be one hilarious sketch per night but the rest of the show was just, meh. In fact, I’d consider this season better than average because of episodes like this.

Well, there you have it, a few of my views on politics, satire, media, and Jon Stewart’s hosting abilities. With that, it’s now time for me to move on and share what I saw while watching this episode, as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with A Message From The Vice-President Of The United States where this time Darrell Hammond as Dick Cheney addressed the David Letterman issue after the Late Show host threatened to leave CBS, treating the decision as if it were the most important thing happening in America. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Jon Stewart then officially opened the show with a bit of his stand-up routine where he started out addressing the topic brought up by “Cheney” in the opening sketch by openly admitting that he’s taken over for Letterman or anyone else on network TV if he were given a chance. He then went on to joke about the horrors of working on cable TV and gays in the military and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
  3. This was followed by a fake ad for The Cheese Game which was a Trivial Pursuit-style board game that claimed to help teach kids to learn to appreciate the true value of fancy cheeses to give them a leg up when entering the adult world.
  4. This was followed by a parody of TRL where Jon Stewart played a producer named Lou Perlstein (a human parody of Lou Pearlman) who created boy bands to molest and embezzle their money away. After a brief interview with Lou, he went on to show off his new genetically-engineered, mutated boy band named Agar, after the gelatinous goo in which they were formed. Three out of the five performers had crazy issues like a butt for a face, an allergy to the sun, and one even had lobster hands, while the other two look normal but seemed rather dumb. After the Lou interview, Agar took to the stage to perform their new song called, Thinkin’ ‘Bout Love.
  5. The Bloder Brothers then returned for another segment of Jimmy Fallon and Chris Parnell as the always bad joking, giggly, ginger-haired brothers who this time got detained at the airport for not answering a single question without crowbarring in a cheesy joke. Jon Stewart tried to help the brother’s out as their father but his humor and timing were just as bad.
  6. TV Funhouse then gave us another Fun With Real Audio with animated mockery of Collin Powell’s MTV chat with teens, in his effort to connect with the youth, only his extremely dry, political ramblings went right over the questioner’s heads sending them into fantasy lands in their heads while he spoke. Meanwhile, Powell found himself in fantasy land as well while he zoned out during the youth’s question. At one point, he saw the audience filled with a bunch of Beavises and Buttheads.
  7. We were then introduced to Talking To The Stars With Rachel And Tracy was a segment kind of like the Chris Farley show only with Tracy Morgan and Rachel Dratch asking the questions. This week, the two interviewed Jon Stewart and where Rachel was interested in asking real questions, Tracy was more intrigued by whether or not our host was aware of the free porn that was available in New York through Public Access Television. To add to the fun, this segment was sold as a sketch based on real interactions between everyone involved.
  8. We then went to a Newscaster Party where several members of the cast performed their impersonations of famous newscasters from the time to attend a party hosted by Darrell Hammond as Ted Koppel. Though not a newscaster, Jeff Richards also stopped by as David Letterman in order to apologize for something that wasn’t all that clear based on the sketch alone. After doing a tad bit of research, this has something to do with the potential late night shuffle that was referenced at the start of the show but since nothing came from these threats to switch networks, none of it made much sense thanks to the passage of time.
  9. Once again, Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey gave us the news. This week, Chris Kattan performed another one of his Terrible Re-Enactments where this time he showed us what happened during the firing of John McEnroe from his game show called The Chair. Jon Stewart also jumped in for a bit to take over for Jimmy Fallon who left after a knee injury, only Jimmy returned before Stewart could get out his first story. Jeff Richard’s Drunk Girl character also returned to share safety tips for the upcoming spring break.
  10. India.Arie then took to the stage to perform Video. 
  11. This was followed by a parody of BET Jazz: Jazzvisions with Tracy Morgan playing the host who introduced Jon Stewart as Lonny Bartz, a Kenny G. looking jazz musician whose instrument of choice was the spoon. Not only did we get to have fun during the interview, we also got to hear a couple of Bartz’s hit songs.
  12. We Were Soldiers That Knew What Women Want was a mash-up parody with Jon Steward as Mel Gibson blending his roles from the movies We Were Soldiers and What Women Want to poorly revisit both story subjects through a brand new movie that missed its mark on multiple levels that made the original films seem like they were on point.
  13. India.Arie then returned to the stage to perform Ready For Love. 
  14. Jack Handey then shared another chapter of My Big Thick Novel where this time he debated whether or not he should jump from a cliff or head back to a party in order to attempt to tell his failed joke once again in hopes to get it right this second time.
  15. Finally, Jon Stewart closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

As I said up above, this episode had me laughing out loud more than I have in quite a while thanks to sketches like these that contained my three favorite sketches of the night. First, I loved Talking To The Stars With Rachel And Tracy because the interaction between Jon Stewart and Tracy Morgan where Tracy nonchalantly brings up free pornography on cable access and Stewart’s dumbstruck response has been a scene that’s always stuck in my head since I first saw this episode. Next, I really liked this week’s Fun With Real Audio because of the special guest appearances by Beavis and Butthead, who will always end up in my favorites list whenever they are on. Finally, I was a fan of this week’s Bloder Brothers sketch because Jon Stewart played the perfect dad to the always bad joking, giggly, ginger-haired brothers since as I mentioned above, he’s always been a bit giggly himself, plus he looked funny in that old man wig.

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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.