SNL: S30E02... HOST: QUEEN LATIFAH... DATE: OCTOBER 9, 2004

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or...

R.I.P. Rodney

 

Tonight makes two in a row where the opening sketch for the show was double the length of a traditional episode and covered Presidential Debates that I no longer care about at all. I’m mean, this election was almost an exact repeat of the idiot vs. robot battle between Bush and Gore, minus the hope that in these new days of shady politics the lesser of two evils doesn’t always win.

As I often point out, I’ve followed politics for most of my life mainly to be able to keep up with comedic references in the late night show that I watch or podcast and talk shows that I listen to, so I’m always at least somewhat aware of what is going on. This is why I’m so blown away that this Presidential Election cycle was so dull, that I believe there were more stand out stories as to how Bush, an arguable war criminal at the time, couldn’t be beaten with ease.

You would think, this would be an even closer, more controversial call than round one, where the now loved dimwit got into the White House in the first place. Again, this leaves me with little hope that we won’t see something similar in 2020. If that’s not scary enough, what I really dread is years from now when Trump is his silly self without any power, we’ll applaud his artistic endeavors while he gripes about the next mega-monster to take over the world.

Sorry for another review filled with political talk but as I said yesterday, it’s hard to avoid the subject when lame, outdated, political sketches make up a bulk of the night. As for the rest of the show, I felt like Queen Latifah was ten times better than she was for her first visit. I think this is because she was still new to acting for round one, and had the energy but not the skills to pull off the performance that she may have wanted.

For this visit, the Queen had much more acting under her belt, and it was very obvious. Though I did think that her first visit was fun because of her enthusiastic energy, the acting felt more fitting for a board sit-com, with big unnatural gestures that may have worked well if you couldn’t sense that she was just delivering lines and not living them.

I was pretty sure that this was going to be the same case today, considering it wasn’t that long since her first shot as the host, only to be blown away by how much Queen Latifah had grown in so few years to be able to pull off this performance. In fact, I liked her so much that I didn’t really mind all of the political talk, but I still can’t wait for this year’s election to wind down to get back to the usual fun and games.

With that said, it’s now time to wrap this thing up by sharing what I saw, and in order to do so, I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with Decision '04: The Presidential Debates where we got to see parody coverage of the second debate between Will Forte as George W. Bush and Seth Meyers as John Kerry. Again, this may have been more fun back in the day when these debates were still fresh on my mind but looking back, this may be the most boring election year for the show since it started. After making fun of Bush being an idiot and Kerry a robot, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Queen Latifah then officially opened the show with a monolog about all of the things that she’s been up to since the first time she hosted the show and then went on to promote her new jazzier album. Before she could move on to describe her new sound Horatio Sanz, Maya Rudolph, Fred Armisen, and Will Forte interrupted as a jazz group called The Scat Cats who forced our host into joining them in a scat-filled jazz song.
  3. This was followed by a fake ad for Short And Curly which was a shampoo for men to use on their pubic hairs to keep them clean and shiny.
  4. The Prince Show then returned for more quirkiness with Fred Armisen as Prince and Maya Rudolph still as his sidekick Beyoncé. This week’s quirky guest was Queen Latifah as Patty LaBelle who did the interview while sitting on the back of a carousel pony.
  5. This was followed by a fake ad for Excedrin with Queen Latifah as an office secretary who had to turn to the painkiller to help her rid the stress caused by the racial tension headaches caused by her bigoted officemates.
  6. Decision 2004: The Vice-Presidential Debate had Queen Latifah as moderator, Gwen Ifill, who ran the show in the debate between Darrell Hammond as Dick Cheney and Will Forte as John Edwards. As with the opening sketch, this might have been more fun at the time but now almost feels like I’m watching real debate footage because the references are no longer important.
  7. Queen Latifah then switched to musical guest mode to perform The Same Love That Made Me Laugh.
  8. Once again, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler gave us the news. This week, Rachel Dratch checked in via satellite as Martha Stewart who gave us an update on her life in jail. She also introduced us to her cellmate, Queen Latifah, who adored her crafty new cellmate. Finesse Mitchell also stopped by to share why he thinks that young black women should stop giving their babies weird names.
  9. The Recruits had Rob Riggle as an NBA representative who went up against Seth Meyers as a respectable college recruiter to compete with one another with crazy offers while courting Finesse Mitchell to be a new player in either league.
  10. TV Funhouse then gave us another installment of The X-Presidents where the former leaders who now have superpowers battled George W. Bush with the help of Ron Reagan Jr. and the X X-Presidents who came back from the dead to attempt to win back America for its people.
  11. Dangerfield Tribute had Darrell Hammond as Rodney who performed one last stand-up routine at Horatio Sanz as St. Peter’s request when meeting the recently deceased comedian at the golden gates.
  12. Vote Or Die! had Finesse Mitchell’s Starkeesha character and friends terrifying a neighborhood while canvassing votes with this violent call to action.
  13. Queen Latifah then switch back into musical guest mode to perform Hard Times.
  14. Zinger Vs. Snap then returned for another installment where this time Queen Latifah played a scientist named Sheila “Snaps” Alsnape to have a roast battle with fellow scientist Seth Meyers as Dave “Zinger” Clinger while the world waits for their help.
  15. Finally, Queen Latifah closed the show by thanking the audience and saying her goodnights.

Even though this episode was more political than I prefer, it was still enjoyable with the help of these three sketches that contained my favorite moments of the night. First, I loved this week’s Zinger vs. Snap because this serious of sketches always takes me back to junior high where all we did was roast one another, and the Queen was great in this fictional world because you could tell that she was coming from a place of experience. Next, I really liked the fake ad for Excedrin not just because the joke about racial tension headaches was pretty funny but I actually bought Latifah as a legitimate pitchwoman. Finally, I was a fan of the Dangerfield Tribute because as I often point out, I was a huge comedy nerd as a kid, so it was nice to see this sentimental send-off.

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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.