SNL: S31E09... HOST: JACK BLACK... DATE: DECEMBER 17, 2005

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Jack Black’s Back!!!

 

Though I wasn’t a huge fan of Jack Black’s first hosting spot, I mainly blamed the year, so I was excited to see the show have him back on for tonight. That’s not to say that I ever had any doubt that they’d have him back, I was just looking forward to see him redeem himself and prove it was actually the show. Thankfully, this is precisely what happened.

Notice that I “mainly” blamed the show. That’s because during the first visit I felt like Jack Black was a bit of a conservative version of himself. I didn’t put my finger on this as a problem until last season’s visit from Johnny Knoxville, where Johnny was promoting his first non-Jackass role, so he seemed more eager to please the mainstream. I feel that might have also partially come into play with Jack Black’s first visit back when he was starting to get more known for his movies than his music with Tenacious D.

I mention Knoxville because not only did Jack Black seem to feel more comfortable in his skin making the evening more fun, Johnny had a cameo role where he was more himself than he was throughout his entire episode. Speaking of cameos, another thing that made the night exciting was that it was another rare propper Christmas episode, with many Christmas themed sketches and a lot of special guests.

Tonight was such a proper send off to the winter break, I could imagine not being able to wait for the shows return. That’s why I’m so surprised that only a few of the Christmas episodes have been treated as a festive spectacle and instead have been mostly average shows. Now, I really can’t wait to see how Scarlett Johansson opens the year. Luckily, I don’t have to wait the month and a half to see how this turns out.

Oh well, we’ll see how it goes when I check in with tomorrow’s update. Until then, it’s now time for me to switch gears to wrap this thing up, and with that, I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with A Holiday Message From The Vice-President Of The United States where Darrell Hammond as a Santa-clad Dick Cheney asked children visitors to the White House what they wanted for Christmas, only to have their answers sound extremely scripted to meet the agenda of the Bush Administration. Will Forte as George W. Bush also joined in on the festive fun by sitting on Santa/Cheney’s lap to ask him for an X-Box 360 for Christmas, and then went on to announce, “Live from New York…”
  2. Jack Black then officially opened the show with a monolog about what it was like to work on the new King Kong with Peter Jackson and then sang a song about the giant ape that he claimed Jackson refused to add to the film.
  3. This was followed by a fake ad for the Stuart Little Mouse Removal Kit where they promoted a convoluted Stuart Little themed mouse trap that required homeowners to place a trail of cheese to a toy car on a track that led to outside the how where the car then blows up mafia style and then repeat until all of the vermin are dead.
  4. Sbarro had Jack Black, Amy Poehler, and Rachel Dratch as a family out Christmas shopping and decided to take a break for a slice of pizza from Sbarro. After getting their order, they sat down to enjoy their meal, only to be inundated by strong winds that blew them and their items all over the restaurant whenever anyone would open the door.  
  5. We then got another installment of Appalachian Emergency Room which featured more of the same but a same that I don’t mind. Once again, we just witness the ER from the front desk as one redneck after the next came in with some of the freakiest hillbilly injuries you will ever see. To add to the fun, musical guest, Neil Young even got involved in this one, and so did Johnny Knoxville who seemed more like himself than he did when he was hosting his own episode.
  6. TV Funhouse then gave us a parody of a holiday special from the ‘60s where tonight’s special musical guest Darlene Love delivered a Claymation performance of a song called Christmas For The Jews.
  7. Darlene Love then stuck around for a non-parody performance of  I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas.
  8. Channel 5 News Team Photo Shoot took us to a photo shoot for a news crew who updated their group publicity photo at the end of each year. The theme for this year was “pointing” where the group was supposed to point and smile at one another for the final pose. Though everyone was quick to figure this simple choreography out, no one would point to Jack Black who played the weatherman. This made our host paranoid which led him to act weird as he attempted to force himself into positions where it would be impossible for a finger not to be pointing his way. It took forever for them to finally satisfy the photographer and when we saw the final shot it wasn’t the perfect shot that was hinted at but instead a shot where Jack Black’s pointing finger was the only evidence that he was actually in the picture.    
  9. This was followed by the first SNL Digital Short to become a classic. This classic featured Andy Samberg and Chris Parnell out on the street, rapping like badasses about The Chronicles Of Narnia and how they were excited to watch it on the opening afternoon.
  10. Neil Young then took to the stage to perform It's A Dream.
  11. Once again, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler gave us the news. This week, Kenan Thompson and, special guest, Tracy Morgan stopped by as tourism representative for Skull Island in order to do damage control for their home since the new King Kong movies led their visitorship to be down.
  12. A Very Downer Christmas gave us a flashback to 1978 where we saw a young Debbie Downer walk in on Jack Black as “the real Santa.” At first, he tried her to go back to bed, but her downer attitude led Santa to try to cheer her up by trying to offer he the perfect gift, only to get nothing but downer facts about every gift he suggested.
  13. Space War 2148 took us to a planet where Andy Samberg as a hermaphrodite alien was stranded on a random planet with a human Jack Black. Though the two were once enemies before the space battle that left them in this predicament, they were now trying to work as a team to live. Well, that was Jack Black’s plan, Samberg on the other hand, kept trying to get our host to sleep with him by claiming they needed to repopulate the universe but Jack Black just wouldn’t give in.
  14. Two A-Holes Buying a Christmas Tree is one of my favorite sketches of all time that featured Jason Sudeikis and Kristin Wiig as two vapid snobs at a Christmas tree lot trying to find the perfect tree with Jack Black as the lot attendant who tried his best to meet their ever-changing, always confusing needs.
  15. We then went to a Spelling Bee where Will Forte played a young Jack Black who struggled to spell the word “Business” while the real Jack Black and his sidekick Kyle Glass summarized this tale through a Tenacious D-style song.
  16. Neil Young then returned to the stage to perform He Was The King.
  17. Finally, Jack Black closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

I’m so happy that this has been such a great season thanks to shows like this that contain sketched like this that contained my three favorite moments of the night. First, I loved Two A-Holes Buying a Christmas because it one of my favorite sketches of all time because I used to joke that it reminded me of my little sister back in her cheerleader days. Next, I really liked Christmas For The Jews because it reminds me of a friend from this time who really liked this sketch and now that friend is gone. Finally, this week’s installment of Appalachian Emergency Room because even though it’s very repetitive, it’s also always fun, and this time the cameo visits from both Neil Young and Johnny Knoxville made it extra special.

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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.