SNL: S28E04... HOST: ERIC MCCORMACK... DATE: NOVEMBER 2, 2002

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Maybe This Midterm Won’t Be

As Maddening As I Was Starting To Think

First off, I’ve never seen an episode of Will And Grace because it came out past the era when I would religiously watch prime time television and have many blind spots when it comes to sit-coms. That said, I’m familiar with several cast members from the show and enjoy what I’ve seen of their work but unfortunately, Eric McCormack isn’t one of these cast members in question. I wasn’t all that concerned though because from what I do know of the show Will And Grace, the show seems to have the right energy to where anyone involved had the potential to be a pretty fun host.

The fact that I found eighteen segments when perusing the rough sketch list for the night also helped to ease my nerves considering how I’ve had high hopes for this season until last night’s episode with John McCain where there were only fourteen segments that were mostly political and seemed to drag on and on and on.

I did get a little nervous when I noticed that there were a lot more political sketches due to the fact that this was a midterm year following another stolen presidential election. Then, when the actual show started, I found that I wasn’t as annoyed by the political jokes as I expected, and not just because it was a non-political host, though that was a major factor.

Where in the past, the show seemed to get more edgy when they had a political guest almost as a way for said politician to say, “I get it,” with a wink and a nod, last night’s visit from John McCain felt more like a way for him to improve his public image and highlight his funny side for any future elections. Tonight’s episode highlighted how soft they went with their politician host, not because the jokes were harsher but the definitely were more balanced.

Not only am I happy that this turned out to be a fun episode with a host that I barely know, I’m even more excited by the fact that tonight’s show rebuilt my confidence that I can make it through this midterm season without getting as bored and annoyed as the McCain episode got me to fear. Then again, I still have to get through an episode hosted by that robot, Al Gore.

Oh well, I’m sure I’ll be fine but for now, it’s time to move on. With that, 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 collection of parody political ads where Darrell Hammond as Rudolph Giuliani shared his campaign endorsement for this year’s mid-term elections. The main joke was that he knocked out over seventy endorsements in a row pitching both the candidate and their increasingly wacky platforms whether or not he actually knew who they were just as long as his handlers told him to do so. Of course with this being the opening sketch, it all built up to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Eric McCormack then officially opened the show with a monolog about his role on Will And Grace and how in the real world he not actually gay which sparked much confusion amongst effeminate men in the audience who hit on our host while claiming that they are not gay either. Chris Kattan then stepped in to save the day by sharing how people often mistake him for being gay as well which led McCormack to sing a flamboyant musical number in an effort to prove them all wrong.
  3. This was followed by a parody of The Bachelor where Amy Poehler as her one-legged character played a contestant who was vying for Eric McCormack, as The Bachelor’s heart.
  4. Game Night was a sketch that had Rachel Dratch go on a rampage when she lost a game of Celebrity which was a simple game where everyone involved wrote down names of famous people and placed the names in a bowl and couples would pair up to guess these names based on their partner's clues.
  5. We then got another fake political ad, this one was for Talarico For Congress where Chris Kattan as Andy Talarico advised voters to call Rachel Dratch as Ellen Frenkel in order to tell her to stop frightening senior citizens after slinging some mud.
  6. We then got a rebuttal of the last political ad, this one was called Frankel For Congress where Rachel Dratch as Frankel told voters to call Chris Kattan as Talarico in order to tell him to stop asking voters to call her in and stop asking her about her issues with senior citizen when they should be asking him about his voting records that actually contradicted his claims.
  7. This was followed by a parody of American Morning where the morning news took a back seat to Tina Fey as Paula Zahn when she started to hint at that the news of the day was that she was falling in love with her co-host, Brent Dunlop, as played by Eric McCormack.
  8. We then got another fake political ad called Fairness In Attack Ads where someone uninvolved with the election urged voters to call Rachel Dratch as Frankel instead of Chris Kattan as Talarico with another convoluted list of demands.
  9. Jay-Z and Lenny Kravitz then took to the stage to perform Guns And Roses.
  10. Once again, Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey gave us the news. This week, Horatio Sanz returned as Gene Shalit in order to share more horrible puns only this time while sharing a couple of negative movie reviews. Jeff Richards also played a member of Jay-Z’s entourage named Baby K who was a tiny baby that danced and rapped on the news desk.
  11. The Bullhorn was a sketch that took place in a courtroom where Will Forte played an angry judge who couldn’t handle when Eric McCormack, as the defendant, kept interrupting the trial by repeatedly hitting the siren button on a bullhorn that for some reason they wouldn’t just take away.
  12. We then got what started out to look like a parody ad for Verizon only to discover it was yet another in the series of political ads where this time Chris Kattan as Talarico found out that his phone was disconnected from all of the calls in response to the other commercials.
  13. Z105 had Eric McCormack as a Councilman who dropped a morning radio talk show in order to promote his campaign only to find that he couldn’t get in a word against Jimmy Fallon’s morning zoo-style DJ who had a multitude of fictional radio show characters who ate up all of the time.
  14. We then got a fake ad for John Hancock Life Insurance which was an insurance company that specialized in the most extreme worst-case scenarios.
  15. Jay-Z then switched it up and took to the stage with Beyoncé to perform ‘03, Bonnie And Clyde.
  16. This was followed by a parody of Jackass: The Musical with Eric McCormack as Johnny Knoxville and several members of the cast making up the rest of the Jackass crew in order to perform a musical version of their dumb-stunt-based show.
  17. Reggie's Stories had Tracy Morgan as the titular Reggie who kept trying to share his tall-tales only to have Maya Rudolph as a barmaid who corrected each and every one of his exaggerations in another installment of a series of sketches that may not be connected but all have the same jazzy vibe.
  18. Finally, Eric McCormack closed the show by thanking the audience and saying her goodnights.

I always love when a host who’s unknown to me comes in and kills their performance which was the case tonight thanks to sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments of the night. First, I loved Jackass: The Musical because I’ve always been a huge Jackass fan since I did similar stunts to their early work back when I was young and it was clear by the sketches references, the writers were fans as well and not just attacking the genre. Next, I really liked the parody of the first season of The Bachelor because I just started watching the show since moving home and it both impressed and shocked me how this sketch highlighted how the show’s been around for so long, plus Amy Poehler’s one-legged character cracks me up. Finally, I was a fan of the Z105 sketch because I love morning talk radio and found it funny how they made fun of the typical “morning zoo.”

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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.