SNL: S29E07... HOST: AL SHARPTON... DATE: DECEMBER 6, 2003

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or...

Tracy Morgan For President!!!

I don't know if I would have ever voted for the man but I have to say that I've always been a fan of Al Sharpton, especially when it comes to his performances in cameos or special guest appearances, so, I wasn't all that concerned about tonight's episode. I wouldn't vote for him due to the fact that he always was so religious when not parodying himself in the above mention roles. The thing I have always liked about him is that he's always seemed to be a real person even as a parody of himself.

Unlike Gore and McCain who bored my pants off during their humanizing P.R. stunt, Sharpton never once hid the fact that he was there to attempt to win over the younger vote. Where I prefer for actors to host for their love of the show to the point where they at least seem that they would love to do so for free and with nothing to promote, when it comes to politicians, I prefer the vibe to be that they want to show who they really are and not just capitalize on a trend.

The fact that Sharpton is so tied to New York this feels like a pairing that shouldn't have taken so long to happen. In fact, I had to double check to make sure he didn't host before to make sure I did contradict any of my earlier statements only to find that he's only been on as cast member acting as him, and that's including special guest appearances. I don't know, maybe I missed something in my notes.

Either way, I think this show might be my favorite of the season, even better than Timberlake's. Though I'd still argue that Timberlake's visit was more of a classic, as far as this challenge goes, I was expecting high quality with Justin but, factoring in the rest of the show from this year, there was no guarantee that this show would be good at all. As it is now, this could either be the turning point to the season where the cast and writer finally work out the rest of their bugs or it will it will just stand out as one of the few that were good.

If I'm being honest, Tracy Morgan deserves as much, if not more credit for this being such a great show because, he wasn't even a part of the cast anymore and this was the best episode of his career. I don't know if the time off got him all fired up and happy to be back on the stage but he was on fire and featured in a higher percentage of sketches than any episode from when he was still a performer. 

That said, Sharpton wasn't bad himself. As I said, he didn't perform like a modern politician where they seemed practiced even when it comes to letting down their guards to actually be themselves. He wasn't doing things like acknowledging the things being said behind his back with a nod and a wink as if to say, "You see what I've done?" No, he owned the rumors as if he were proud, like in the sushi ad, where he admitted to hating raw fish but had no issue at all with selling it for a profit.

And, to add icing to the cake, it was another evening with seventeen segments, keeping the sketches short so we were on to the next premise before any sketch could drag on to the point where it became a bore. This really helped because I'm still be ridden with sciatic watching the show on a laptop while laying in bed, with the fan off so I can hear in a windowless room in the middle of a heatwave, making it extra easy to get aggravated but this episode kept me in a good mood.

With all of that said, it's now time to shift gears and share what I actually saw, as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with A Message From The President Of NBC Entertainment were Jimmy Fallon portrayed Jeff Zucker who was running NBC at the time and this Fallon version had to outline the crazy equal-time programming he had planned for the other Democratic candidates due to the fact that Al Sharpton was running for president this year and it was a time where the media at least attempted to appear as if they were providing fare coverage of each candidate. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, "Live from New York..."
  2. Al Sharpton then officially opened the show with a monolog about why he would make a good President of The United States with this being a great chance to reach out to the youth. About halfway through the segment, a track-suit clad Tracy Morgan joined the Reverend on the stage as a younger version of the Presidential hope who goofed on his old self for what he has become with his fancy new suit and non-James Brown-looking hair.
  3. We then got a repeat of the Mom Jeans ad from earlier in the season which was a fake ad for elastic waisted pants that moms used to wear after having kids and no longer caring about clothes. You know, the ones Obama used to wear.
  4. Michael Jackson On A Rollercoaster was a sketch where, as the title suggests, had Amy Poehler as Michael Jackson on a rollercoaster with Al Sharpton as Johnny Cochran, Rachel Dratch as Elizabeth Taylor, Chris Parnell as another big shot lawyer who Michael just kept calling lawyer, and Horatio Sanz as a random park visitor who was just along for the wacky ride while everyone else tried to discuss Michael's pending child molestation case.
  5. Brian Fellow's Safari Planet then made its triumphant return with special guest Tracy Morgan who revised one of my favorite characters of all time in order to host the show with his brother Ryan Fellow who was played by Al Sharpton and we quickly learned that Brian's child-like personality ran in the Fellow family.
  6. Three Wise Men took place in biblical days and had Jimmy Fallon as a camel riding cop who pulled over Al Sharpton, Tracy Morgan, and Kenan Thompson for reported "suspicious activities in the desert, while they were headed to celebrate Jesus's birth. 
  7. Pink then took to the stage to perform Trouble.
  8. Once again, Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey gave us the news. This week, Jimmy and Tina made fun of all of the cities that didn't air this episode because they opted out to avoid having to give the other candidates equal airtime if they asked for it. Jimmy also used many double entendres while interviewing the real Paris Hilton in order to stick to his promise that he wouldn't make any jokes about her recently released sex tape. 
  9. Stereotypes gave us a heighten view of black stereotypes that were exploited for laughs in the filming of movies back in 1935 with Al Sharpton, Tracy Morgan, Maya Rudolph, Kenan Thompson, and Finesse Mitchell playing member of the film's jazz music group who took offense while trying to deliver their line while the director just told them to run with it. The joke ended with Sharpton breaking the scene to get serious about how we've made progress but there is still a lot of racism in film and television while throwing a couple of sexist jokes toward Maya Rudolph. 
  10. We then got a fake ad for Reverend Al Sharpton's Casa De Sushi where we learned that even though Al Sharpton doesn't like sushi, he had absolutely no problem pitching it to potential customers.
  11. Democratic Candidates had Will Forte as John Edward as he hosted an SNL viewing party for him and his several members of the cast playing fellow Democratic hopefuls who were all jealous that Sharpton was the one who was asked to host.
  12. Pink then returned to the stage to perform God Is A D.J.
  13. The LaToya Jackson Show had Al Sharpton as Joe Jackson who interrupted the show to criticize Maya Rudolph as LaToya Jackson and her scatterbrained way of life why he was on to declare his son Michael's innocence in the molestation case that was the big topic of this era's news.
  14. Cab Ride had Horatio Sanz as a cab driver who picked up Al Sharpton and Maya Rudolph only to annoy the Presidential candidate and his assistant with bizarre facts about himself and his family while they just wanted some silence, well the assistant at least, Sharpton was nice and played along in order to not lose Horatio's vote.
  15. This was followed by a repeat of the Cryogenix ad from earlier in the season which promoted people freezing their heads to wait for future cures for even the most easily treated ailments that usually just take time itself to get over.
  16. Was a fake ad for Unearthed: Cash On Earth that had Darrell Hammond as the late Johnny Cash who was pitching his latest CD box set from Heaven and not the Hell that you'd expect from his tormented soul.
  17. Finally, Al Sharpton closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

As I said up above, I think this episode may be a new favorite of the season thanks to sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments of the night. First I loved Brian And Ryan Fellow's Safari Planet because as I've pointed out in the past, Brian Fellow is one of my favorite characters of all time and it was really fun to meet his brother Ryan Fellow who was just as fun. Next, I really liked the Three Wise Men sketch because it was a fun twist of the old "driving while black," joke with everyone up on camels. Finally, I was a fan of the ad for Reverend Al Sharpton's Casa De Sushi because I loved Sharpton's blatant honesty that he had no problem selling sushi even though he hated the stuff.

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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.