A Pig Vomiting/Harvey Pekar Of A Host
Tonight’s episode hosted by Paul Giamatti was almost a repeat of last night’s viewing featuring Topher Grace, in that, I love Paul Giamatti as an actor but felt that his episode was pretty weak. However, unlike with Topher, who again, I’m a fan of outside of the world of sketch, I feel the show was more of a let down than the host. Where yesterday I felt the Eeyore-ish tempo killed the mood, tonight it felt like the energy was right only most of the jokes fell flat.
First of there is a problem where I don’t really care about the references from this period because these shows took place while I was in a year-long, fully immersive screenwriting class up in Canada that kept me so busy that I lost track of the rest of the world. I can’t believe that it took me so long to put this together, but this explains why I’m not connecting to so much material. It reminds me of when I came back to America to hang out with friends over the holiday break only to find that I was completely out of the loop when it came to the inside jokes.
There was another weird thing that seemed to happen a couple of times throughout the night where a segment would start out feeling positive, building an expectation that there would be a comedic negative flip, only to have the sketch eventually end on the same positive note. Like during the monolog, Paul Giamatti started to tell a tale about his time at The Golden Globe Awards. He seemed so excited about it being the first award circuit he was nominated for that I thought for sure the story would lead to a tale of an embarrassing rookie mistake, only to instead tell a story about how the night was so great.
The Lundford Twins’ Feel Good Variety Hour suffered from the same fate because the sketch was set up that this sketch was that this was an unaired variety show that was locked away in the vaults. The fact that this fiction show was vaulted hand me expecting either a barrage of off colored jokes or something dark that justified why it was locked away for so long, but then when the sketch played out, it was just a typical parody of a ‘70s variety show. In fact, if it weren’t for Amy Poehler’s old lady character who kept yelling, “Ah, that’s NUTS,” as her catchphrase, this sketch wouldn’t have been funny at all.
I now fear the rest of this year because usually when season’s start out slow like this one has the first show back from the winter break usually sets the tone for the rest of the year and tonight make to post-break shows in a row that have been pretty bad. With all of that said, I really hope that Giamatti comes back because he does have the potential to be a really fun host, and I know this because I’ve been watching him every Thanksgiving in the movie Duets throughout the past seventeen years as a drunken holiday tradition.
To add to my fears, I see that Paris Hilton is the next host in the lineup. Oh well, we’ll see what happens, but until then, it’s now time for me to shift gears in order to share what I saw as I give you…
The Wicker Breakdown:
This week's show started with The Bush Twins alone in their White House room after the Inauguration with Amy Poehler and Tina Fey as said twins who kept speaking in non-sequiturs using their “secret twin speak” after a night of sneaking drinks during the celebration of the start to the second term or their dumb dad. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
Paul Giamatti then officially opened the show with a monolog about the fact that he was happy to have an audience considering the fact that there was a massive New York blizzard on the night the episode originally aired. He then went on to share a recent experience he had at The Golden Globe Awards where he was nominated for the movie Sideways. At first, I thought this would lead to a tale of woe, but instead, he just shared how awesome it was to be in a room filled with so many big industry names while also sharing some details about a couple of quirky interactions with some of the bigger stars.
Rice Confirmation Hearing had Amy Poehler as Senator Barbara Boxer who called out Maya Rudolph over her numerous lies about many details that came to light after 9/11.
We then got a repeat of the fake Gaystrogen commercial from last season which was a hormone supplement for gay men who hit menopause.
Limo Ride had Finesse Mitchell as Paul Giamatti’s Golden Globe limo driver who kept mistaking our host for former Not Ready For Prime Time Player, Rob Schneider. Thanks to the identity confusion, Finesse didn’t realize how hurtful it was when he kept talking up Jamie Foxx, who just beat our host for the best actor Golden Globe award.
Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz then returned as the spastic Kaitlin and her stepdad Rick. This time, Kaitlin kept trying to play the drums while on a visit to her Uncle Chas’, aka Paul Giamatti’s music store.
Ludacris then took to the stage with Sum-41 to perform Get Back.
Once again, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler gave us the news. This week, Rachel Dratch reported on a big winter blizzard while standing in sub-zero weather where she was struck by a phenomenon called “white blindness” where everything started to blur together because of all of the snow. Darrell Hammond also returned as Arnold Schwarzenegger to comment on California’s first public execution in three years.
Variety Vault took us back to the ‘70s where Paul Giamatti and Fred Armisen played The Lundford Twins so that we could watch a classic unaired clip from their fictional show the Lundford Twins’ Feel Good Variety Hour that that pretty much just parodied an amalgamation of all of the variety shows from that time. I found this to be a bit disappointing because just
Reinhold Investments had Will Forte as a woeful office executive who continually yelled “Oh, no!” to a client on the phone while Paul Giamatti had an in-person meeting with Rachel Dratch who he was trying to win over as a new investor.
Ludacris then returned to the stage with Sum-41 to perform Number One Spot.
Spy Glass was a parody of a BBC gossip show with Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler as the two British hosts who shared the British gossip of the day. This sketch was mainly filled with puns and laughs at the expense Yankees talking with fancy accents.
Franklin The Cat continued the cast member acting as large animals who ruin dates theme that’s been sprinkled through this season. This time, Fred Armisen played the titular giant cat who ruined a date between Rachel Dratch and Paul Giamatti.
Finally, Paul Giamatti closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.
Though I wasn’t a huge fan of this episode, at least it was fun enough that I didn’t have to struggle to find these sketches that contained my three favorite moments of the night. First, I loved Kaitlin Gets Drums because I’m finding that I love this spastic Kaitlin character because they don’t treat her like an outcast like Mary Katherine Gallagher which ends up highlighting her hyperactive charm instead of triggering a bit of a sense of sorrow for a girl who just doesn’t fit in. Next, I really liked Franklin The Cat because I’m loving this theme from the year where they keep having cast members act as if they were real animals who ruin the dates of the owners. Finally, I was a fan of the Limo Ride sketch because it kept cracking me up how Finesse Mitchell kept insisting that Paul Giamatti was former cast member Rob Schneider even though the two look nothing alike at all.