SNL: S33E01... HOST: LEBRON JAMES... DATE: SEPTEMBER 29, 2007

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A Solid Show Spoiled By A Writer’s Strike Year

 

During last season when Peyton Manning was the host, I shared my history with sports and how around the time that this episode originally aired, I had lost interest in sports as a form of entertainment that I’d actively seek out. In that review, I was mainly talking about football since I was never a fan of baseball, or basketball, or pretty much anything other non-combat sport. Other than maybe two or three postseason years, I don’t think I’ve ever watched a full game.

That said, I was still open to like LeBron as a host because, I don’t know if it’s the trash talking from the sport or the safety that comes with most basketballer’s massive size, but it seems to be a sport filled with some funny individuals. Unlike host from any other field of sports, the NBA hosts have yet to let me down. The only thing that had me nervous was the fact that this was a writer’s strike year.

This timing was too bad because not only was the writing strike in effect, this was the first show of the year, which often means that there will be a few bugs from the cast and crew rusting up a bit over the summer vacation. I kind of feel that if LeBron were to host somewhere in the middle of any other season he would be up there with Gretzky, Montana, and Barkley who might be the most memorable hosts from the world of sports, of course, not counting The Rock, who I guess is still at least technically an athlete.

As is, the show was still pretty good I just don’t think that it lived up to its potential and didn’t take full advantage of their hilarious host. I mean, during the opening monolog when they cut away to LeBron’s Klump-esque performance, where like Eddie Murphy, he played each of his family members by himself, I was ready for a night filled with laugh, only to get a night with sketches with one funny note that would get repeated until I found that I was getting bored.

That said, at least there was that one funny note with each sketch, especially each sketch that featured out host because neither the opening sketch focused on Hillary’s inevitable two-term Presidential win nor the sketch Starring Kanye West had any laughs at all. This is why I would love to see LeBron get another shot as the host, keeping in mind that this isn’t just because I’m a sports fan.

As much as I may sound like I’m complaining, if the rest of this writing strike season is able to stick to this level of episode, I’ll be a happy camper since my major complaint was that I felt that it wouldn’t have taken all that much to get me to like tonight’s show even more. With that, it’s now time to move on to see what the next show in this season will bring, but in order to do so, I must now shift gears to share what I saw, as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with An Address From “The All-But-Certain-To-Be Next President” that had Amy Poehler as a smug Hillary Clinton who anticipated being the Democrat’s nominee and two-term President that she preemptively shared her acceptance speech. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”

  2. LeBron James then officially opened the show with a monolog about how his team swept their competition during the year’s NBA Championship. This led to a parody of LeBron’s latest Nike ad where we saw our host’s family members, all played by himself, who criticized LeBron’s performance while watching the show from their home, ala Eddie Murphy in The Klumps.

  3. This was followed by a fake ad for Angry Dog which was marketed as a high energy dog food that promised to transform any family pet into a canine killing machine, making fun of the recent Michael Vick dogfighting controversy.

  4. Penelope brought back Kristen Wiig’s one-uping character who this time kept trying to one-up LeBron while participating in a charitable dating auction.

  5. We then got a parody of High School Musical 3 where LeBron played the new kid on the basketball team who refused to join in on all of the singing and dancing. That is until he realized that song and dance would lead to more time with a naked Gabriella Montez who was played by Maya Rudolph.

  6. This was followed by another SNL Digital Short called Iran So Far where Andy Samberg performed an ode to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as played by Fred Armisen, with background vocals provided by the real Jake Gyllenhaal and Adam Levine.

  7. Read To Achieve had LeBron James attempt to film a literacy PSA directed by Bill Hader only to end up getting continually interrupted by Jason Sudeikis who played a stagehand who kept throwing the basketball off cue, throwing off LeBron’s delivery in the process.

  8. The Lyle Kane Show had Will Forte as the slow-witted white guy host who awkwardly debuted his own show on BET with LeBron as his first special guest.

  9. Kanye West then took to the stage to perform Stronger/Good Life

  10. Once again, Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers gave us the news. This week, Kenan Thompson dropped in as O.J. Simpson to daftly explain his logic in stealing his own memorabilia that eventually landed him in jail. Fred Armisen also returned as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for the not to explain in great detail through his translator, Maya Rudolph, why homosexuality doesn’t exist in Iran.

  11. Best Of Solid Gold had Kenan Thompson as a guy named C. Micah Kring who gushed over the new Time-Life’s Best Of Solid Gold DVDs as he focused on watching Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig, Will Forte, and LeBron James as the classic Solid Gold Dancers.

  12. TV Funhouse then gave us another Ambiguously Gay Duo who haven’t been seen in a while. Tonight, the segment was brought back with Big Head and Dr. Braino hosting a fake backyard barbeque with hopes to catch the questionable gays in a similar scandal to the one involving Senator Craig, by attempting to trick them into some gay hijinks while inside the Port-O-Potty.

  13. 106 And Park had Kenan Thompson and Maya Rudolph as two characters named Terrence and Roxie who cornered tonight’s musical guest Kanye West about all of the recent award show controversies that he was involved with from his claiming the George Bush doesn’t like black people, to stealing the spotlight from Taylor Swift.

  14. Kanye West then returned to the stage to perform Champion/Everything I Am.

  15. Great Moments In Guidance Counseling had LeBron James as a high school student whose guidance counselor, Jason Sudeikis advised him to choose the NBA over school because “college is for losers.” 

  16. Finally, LeBron James closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Considering that this was the first episode of the season, it’s not a lie when I say that it was my favorite episode from this year. I just wish that this meant even more, considering this was a pretty solid episode thanks to sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments from the first night of this writer’s strike year. First, I loved The Lyle Kane Show because both LeBron James and Will Forte kept cracking me up with their nerdy characters who were so out of place considering this was supposed to be a show that aired on BET. Next, I really liked Best Of Solid Gold because it reminded me of when I used to crack my mom up while mimicking the Soul Train Dancers when I was a little kid. Finally, I was a fan of this weeks Penelope sketch because I usually don’t like this character as much as I did back in the day but it cracked me up when she kept trying to one-up LeBron James while he was playing himself.

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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.