SNL: S31E18... HOST: JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS... DATE: MAY 13, 2005

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The Show’s First Female Alumni Host

 

It’s hard to believe that’s taken the show this long to have their first female alumni host considering the talent that’s gone through the show. Then again, unless something changed since I’ve started this challenge, the show has still yet to have an Asian cast member on the show but that yet to stop them from making many Asian based jokes. In general, this is why it’s hard for me to take these comedy show’s serious when they decide to get on any form of a high horse.

There was a little of this high horse joking at the start of the show where we got to see a parallel world where Al Gore created a perfect world after defeating Bush in the election. Granted, I do feel that gore would have been better than Bush, but now I feel let down by my countries political system in general so, as I’ve said in the past, these political opens starts each show in a hole that it then has to crawl out of.

At first, I feared this was going to be another average second to last show of the season where it often feels like the writers attempt to crowbar in all of the sketches that were not accepted by the prior guests from the year. To add to this fear, it felt even more likely considering that the night was only thirteen segments long. The monolog won me over a bit that’s to the special visits from Jason Alexander and Seinfeld, but then I was out again when the next couple of sketches were so average and ran long that I thought that my theory was correct.

These average sketches were good enough that it felt very reminiscent of last night’s show, hosted by Tom Hanks that was technically really good but only had one or two laughs. Then, from sketch five on, I literally laughed out loud during the rest of the sketches that made up the night and even laughed really hard at Fred Armisen’s segment during the news. Between the overall seriousness and Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s experience with sketch, this ended up being an above average show that got me to laugh more than any of the show from last week, and there were several good shows throughout that seven-day run.

Now, I just have Kevin Spacey to watch which may be interesting because considering his recent controversy. I try to be open towards hosts who weren’t controversial until recent times, but I can’t help but look for signs in their sketches considering the fact that the hosts do play a part in the writing process.

We’ll see how that goes but until then, it’s now time to wrap this review up by sharing what I saw in tonight’s episode, as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with a Parallel Universe Address from President Gore where, special guest, Al Gore, addressed an America from a parallel world where he didn’t lose to Bush. In this address, we learned how perfect the world turned out to be in the alternate timeline. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Julia Louis-Dreyfus then officially opened the show with a monolog where she first reminded us that she used to be a Not Ready For Prime Time Player and how she was the first female cast member to come back as an alumni host. She then went on to share a few jokes about alternate titles to her show The New Adventures Of Old Christine. She also had a bit of a routine where she marveled over the fact that she wasn’t affected by the Seinfeld Curse the way the Jerry Seinfeld and Jason Alexander seemed to be. This was before she shared a pre-recorded video with a struggling Jason while Jerry was nowhere to be found, that is until we got back into the studio where he tried to kill his former co-star with a light that he planned to blame the technical failure on the curse. Luckily, this was several months before the Kramer/N-word fiasco or else she would have had much more evidence of this mentioned curse.
  3. This was followed by a fake ad for Tech Pack that had Jason Sudeikis as a spokesman who recommended this crazy pack for to the ad’s sample human, Kristin Wiig who struggled to carry all of her technical gizmos around the airport. Though a joke at the time, these types of packs seem to make up a bulk of the Kickstarted ads that I now see on social media. The only problem was that this Tech Pack’s design made it look like a suicidal terrorist’s bomb.
  4. Bum Attention took us out to a fancy restaurant where Julia Louis-Dreyfus took a blow to her self-esteem when a filthy “bum” played by Bill Hader made an obscene gesture toward Julia’s all of her friend while giving zero attention to her. At one point, Julia got so depressed by the lack of attention that she went to the bathroom to cry and while she was out, her friends hired Hader to be offensive to Julia as well. This plan worked leading Julia to instantly take joy in being disgusted by this man’s behavior. Then, after demanding the man leave the restaurant after finding out that he was hired, Julia expressed her gratitude toward her friends for putting in the effort to help and boost her mood.
  5. We then went to The Morning Show which was constantly filled with gaffes making it hard for the cast and the crew to put on a show that made much sense at all. These issues ranged from missed sound cues to the Kristen Wiig as one of the hosts who kept forgetting her name. To add to the fun, there was also a chair that would randomly make farting sounds some of the times that the show’s guest played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus would move around. The inconsistency of the fart noises only added to the awkwardness of the show. There was also a running joke that kept cracking me about an old timer on the crew name Stan who was supposed to be celebrating his seventy-second birthday, only to die right before the show and throughout the confusion, everyone kept offering him best wishes for this special day.
  6. This was followed by a MySpace Seminar where Andy Samberg played as community teacher who was trying to squelch the concerns of Julia Louis-Dreyfus who played a soccer mom who was worried about her kids. Meanwhile, the rest of the room was made up of a bunch of middle-aged perverts who all justified Julia’s reasons for being concerned.
  7. Paul Simon then took to the stage to perform How Can You Live in a Northeast Town?
  8. Once again, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler gave us the news. This week, Al Gore returned from the opening sketch to debate Amy Poehler on global warming. Tina Fey’s “grandfather,” played by Fred Armisen kept making repeated attempts to call the new Medicare hotline that was meant to streamline the process but only left old people confused. Finesse Mitchel got another segment where this time he discussed men’s fashion and what young men should wear when dressing for the prom. Andy Samberg then wrapped things up as David Blaine and failed to hold his breath for nine minutes “while at a news desk” which was his latest magic trick/stunt.
  9. This was followed by a parody rerun of a ‘70s game show version of the party classic Charades! In this sketch, Julia Louis-Dreyfus played a contestant who kept making obscene looking gestures when giving her clues to the panel of celebrity guests.
  10. We then went behind-the-scenes for a taping of Unsolved Mysteries where Julia Louise-Dreyfus played an actress who was completely frustrated when she participated in a pop culture-related re-enactment for an incident that obviously didn’t actually happen. In this sketch, we also met Kristin Wiig as the woman who Julia was playing which made it clear that this was a fictional tale from a woman who was out of her mind.
  11. Paul Simon then returned to the stage to perform Outrageous.
  12. This was followed by another SNL Digital Short that gave what turned out to be a PSA for the United Peyote Growers Association after we witnessed Andy Samberg as a distraught man who threatened to jump to his death over a recent breakup only he would be jumping from the top of a standard street curb.
  13. Finally, Julia Louis-Dreyfus closed the show by thanking the audience and saying her goodnights.

Though there was a bit of a slow start, once the show fell into a groove the rest of the night was really fun with the help of sketches like these that contained by three favorite moments of the night. First, I loved The Morning Show sketch not just because it was the turning point where the episode went for okay to really good but I also just love this brand of comedic confusion. Next, I really liked the MySpace Seminar first because of the MySpace references, but I also couldn’t stop laughing at the jokes from the undercover pervs during the dawning of the age of social media. Finally, I was a fan of Fred Armisen playing Tina Fey’s grandfather on the news because the confused old man kept me cracking up the entire time that he was on the screen.

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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.