Cooking Up A Silly Start To The Season
As I said during his past two visits, I’m a stand-up comedy fan who didn’t jump ship on Dane Cook when it became a trend to see him as a sellout. That said, this timing also coincided with the period of my life where I started to lose interest in the world of entertainment in general, making it so that I stopped following his career anyway. Yeah, I kept my feet in the water and continued track what was going on in the industry but all of the passion attached to my interest was gone.
I keep hoping that this challenge will reignite said passion, which in many ways it has, but I still struggle with being as enthusiastic about these newer shows as I was throughout the early years. Again, this is because, up until about three seasons ago, I used to watch SNL every weekend with family and/or friends leading me to connect to each episode for more reasons than just what’s on the screen.
In the past, if an episode was average or dull, I could fill in any gaps with autobiographical tales about what I was up to during the airing of the specific show. That, or I could share how a half-funny sketch would become hilarious to me after it evolved into an inside joke between my friend and me. Though I’ve seen most of these newer episodes, I watched them alone on Netflix or On-Demand leaving only the show to revisit and not the fond memories that would build along side of the viewing.
Like tonight’s show, for example, it was funny enough that see it being fun to watch with a group which would then develop fond memories for the evening, giving me plenty of things to write about. As is, having viewed this show twice all alone, once in the past and once a couple hours ago, all that I have to discuss is the episode’s content. I know that should be the goal of a traditional reviewer, but that’s not my ultimate goal.
Though I enjoy reviewing content, this blog is more about introducing myself to the digital world through the long-running challenges where I share as much about me and the process as I do about the actual task at hand. It just kind of sucks how these shows that I’m less connected to are starting to be more common at the same exact time that I’m seeing an increase in readership for this site. Though it’s nice to see the boost, it would have been nicer if this boost came while I was in the middle of my wheelhouse, and not during this time where every show seems to be just okay.
I feel my outlook will change again soon, probably during the Obama years when the episodes will start to feel new enough to where I stop feeling the sorrows from losing my nostalgic connection to the show as a whole. We’ll see when that time comes and hope that I remember to point it out, but until then, it’s now time to wrap this one up and share what I saw, as I give you…
The Wicker Breakdown:
This week's show started with parody coverage of a speech for Richard Eckstrom’s Run For Comptroller where Will Forte played an extremely bored George W. Bush to make small talk in the background during an event where Jason Sudeikis as Richard Eckstrom announce that he was running for comptroller of South Carolina. The central joke was that Bush was trying to sell his second term as a success to the people around him, but they all seemed more impressed by this potential comptroller than they were with The President Of The United States Of America. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
Dane Cook then officially opened the show with a bit from our host’s stand-up that mainly focused on negative people who seem to go out of their way to bring a conversation down. He also did a large chunk about the twisted thoughts that come to you when you learn of someone’s suicide. First, how your initial thoughts are of all of the good time with the person when they seemed like the happiest person on the planet. The second thought is the dark need to learn how they pulled it off.
We then got a sketch called Homeland Security Refresher where Dane Cook and Jason Sudeikis played two Homeland Security Agents who taught a class of new recruits how to identify liquids and gels while working at the airport checkpoint. This was the time when liquids and gels were villainized by security, so this lesson wasn’t as simple as you would think because all of the new cadets kept getting too hung up on the technicalities of scenarios being proposed.
Hugo Chavez Political Roundup had Fred Armisen as the titular host of a Banana Republic version of The McLaughlin Group where he griped about world events from the perspective of a collection of anti-American world leaders who he had on as his guests.
This was followed by another SNL Digital Short where Dane Cook arrived at work to find a new cubicle mate. He was so put off from having to share this tiny space with new hire, Bill Hader that he initiated a Cubical Fight which was literally a fight to the death.
Al Pacino Checks His Bank Balance was as the title suggests, Bill Hader calling Wells Fargo only to deal with Kristin Wiig who was actually a very helpful customer service operator who pointed out his debit card issue was that he had negative fourteen dollars in his checking account and over twelve million in saving. It turns out that Pacino transferred money his life saving to checking as needed and tonight he needed about six hundred bucks to buy one of those new fancy astronaut beds that he saw on a TV commercial.
The Killers then took to the stage to perform When You Were Young.
This week, Seth Meyers took over for Tina Fey to join Amy Poehler and gave us the news. This week, started with the real Brain Williams joining Amy Poehler at the Weekend Update desk, mistakenly thinking that he had taken over the Tina Fey gig. After the confusion was corrected, Darrell Hammond and Maya Rudolph also dropped by as Bill Clinton and Condoleezza Rice to make amends for their differences that stemmed from a disagreeing over Bush’s anti-terrorism policies. Throughout the makeup segment, Clinton kept trying to hit on the former Secretary Of State. Jason Sudeikis also stopped by as politician George Allen in order to ramble through an excuse as to why he made a racist statement about “macaca” back around this time. Andy Samberg then wrapped things up as Dustin Diamond to discuss the release of the Screech Sex Tape that was recently “leaked” earlier in the week.
Water Coolers had Dane Cook and Will Forte as to water delivery guys who managed to drink all of their product by chugging it straight from the five-gallon bottle while they should have been out on delivery. This left the two stuck trying to hide the evidence of their major mistake from their regional vice-president who was played by Kristin Wiig when she dropped by their apartment for after receiving several complaints. After a few questions, Will Forte opened a closet door which led to literally, at least one full minute of their spent water bottles crashing to the ground while the two guys tried to force a look of innocence while Wiig was thoroughly unamused.
The Killers then returned to the stage to perform Bones.
Farrah Fawcett For Ocean Save had Amy Poehler as Farrah Fawcett who rambled on incoherently about her ocean saving cause before chasing the camera across the studio to force herself into another sketch that was already in progress.
Closing Time took place at approximately two o’clock in the AM with Dane Cook and Jason Sudeikis as two bar owners who were desperate to get their customers to leave after making several announcements that it was last call. They turned on the lights to kick everyone out just in time for Amy Poehler as Farrah Fawcett to force herself into the scene. Other than the meta aspect of Farrah Fawcett crashing the scene, this sketch wasn’t all that far off from aggressive bar owners who rushed their patrons out of their establishment, the exact second the clock hit two o’clock in the AM.
This was followed by a fake ad for Geico where their new pitch-person was Maya Rudolph as Whitney Houston who would turn the company’s customer comments about their service into her very own rambling words.
Finally, Dane Cook closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.
I know that I barely talked about this episode up above because it was another show that was just above average but was still fun enough thanks to sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments of the night. First, I loved the Homeland Security Refresher sketch because based of the description, I thought it was going to be a bore only to end up laughing the hardest I’ve laughed in a while by the entire group’s brand of idiotic confusion. Next, I really liked the Water Coolers sketch because I really liked the Meta aspect, but I also loved that these two goofballs kept drinking straight out of five-gallon water bottles and hid them all over the place as if they were hiding airplane-sized bottles of booze. Finally, I was a fan of the SNL Digital Short: Cubical Fight because I’ve worked in enough cubicle farms to enjoy the Lord Of The Flies approach to dealing with cubical sharing.