SNL: S34E06... HOST: JON HAMM... DATE: OCTOBER 25, 2008

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A Season Of Underutilized Hosts

 

If I were judging my expectations of this episode based on the one time I tuned in to watch Mad Man, I wouldn’t be all that excited about this episode because I wasn’t that big of a fan of the show. However, I was a huge fan of Jon Hamm from this time because he used to be on a few of my favorite podcast all of the time, including Comedy Bang Bag, which I believe was Comedy Death Ray at this specific time. I also used to love when he would show up on Doug Loves Movies.

Because of his podcast involvement, I had high hopes for this show and do not feel that I was let down, even though there were at least two Mad Men themed sketches and possibly more being that since I easily could have missed a reference. The thing I like about Jon Hamm is, he has a look that makes you think he wouldn’t be that funny of a guy because he has a look that seems more fitting for serious roles. In fact, if I didn’t know him from podcasts, I probably would have given him a chance.

The fact that Jon Hamm was a bit of a regular on podcast around this time, I feel like I know him even better than hosts who I’ve seen all their work. For example, with Hamm, I could tell from his appearances on Comedy Bang Band/Death Ray that he is a genuine fan of the comedy genre making his enthusiasm about being a part of Saturday Night Live feel genuine. Where I could see myself writing him off as a hot host who was just happy about life in general with everything going his way, instead I was rooting for him.

The fact that I was cheering on the host might have helped the show as a whole because other than my interest in seeing Hamm act in something funny, after hearing so much of him around this time, I might have had the same issued that I’ve had with the rest of the season where I feel like the hosts are being underutilized. Yes, he was in a lot of the show’s content, but he wasn’t in the two political sketches that seemed to take up a whole lot of time. It was also a night that contained four musical performances with song number four during the credits, so it didn’t technically take up any extra time, but the other three songs definitely did.

It’s weird how often each season seems to suffer from the same issues throughout the year, even when they manage to address and fix the issues from the prior year. Part of me wants to think that this is due to the failure of market research where the show sticks to a strategy because they’re too confident that their analysis is accurate as to what the audience really wants. Then again, my own content suffers from repeating problems depending on the era that it’s from.

Often times I will write a post and see a spike in readership which then boosts my confidence that I’m actually on the right track, only to find weeks later when spike turns out to be an anomaly, that what people actually wanted was all just in my head. I then flounder a bit to figure it out until I finally fall back into my proper zone that may need more development but is at least the appropriate tone.

As I said yesterday, I really hope that they work this out quickly because I’ll be pissed if the upcoming host for the rest of the year get this same sort of treatment since the schedule is so strong. Again, we’ll have to wait to see how that plays out as this challenge continues on. Until then, it’s now time for me to shift gears in order to share what I saw. With that, I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with parody C-SPAN coverage of The Road To The White House where Jason Sudeikis as Joe Biden and Darrell Hammond as John Murtha made increasingly crazier statements while speaking at a rally in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The C-SPAN announcer at the top of the sketch added that this address was an effort from the two to ruin Barack Obama’s lead since both men were too straightforward with their approach that you just don’t usually see in the world of politics. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, these crazy statements led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”

  2. Jon Hamm then officially opened the show with a monolog where he tapped into his Don Draper character to speak a marketing scheme to trick new viewers into switching over to AMC to watch Mad Men instead of tonight’s episode. By marketing scheme, I mean he straight up lied and pretty much said that his show was Dancing With The Stars and also featured John McCain and Barack Obama smoking real weed with the case of CSI

  3. Trick-Or-Treat had Will Forte as a registered sex offender who made an awkward introduction while trick-or-treating at neighbor, Jon Hamm’s, house. At first, he claims that he’s just disguised as a sex offender as a costumer but after some questioning, Jon Hamm broke Forte down and got him to admit that the costume was actually real. Even then, Will Forte uses so much double talk that it’s hard to tell even in the sketch if the accusations were supposed to be real.

  4. We then got another SNL Digital Short called Rasta Man where Andy Samberg performed a Rastafarian rap about himself as a cliché white Rasta man, living off his parents’ money while attending college.

  5. Mad Men/Two A-Holes At An Ad Agency In The 1960s took us back in time so that Jason Sudeikis’s and Kristen Wiig’s a-hole characters could do their thing while in a meeting with Don Draper from Mad Men.

  6. The Barack Obama Variety Half-Hour started with Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph as Barack and Michelle Obama letting us know that in lieu of a serious message their Wednesday night show that they will host will a star-studded event filled with celebrities singing their praises. What followed was a cheesy TV special reminiscent of something that you’d see on TV in the ‘70s complete with cheesy comedy bits and horrendous songs that could break out at any moment.

  7. Don Draper's Guide To Picking Up Women had our host as his TV character once again, this time to demonstrate how to pick up women without using any effort at all.

  8. Coldplay then took to the stage to perform Viva La Vida.

  9. Once again, Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers gave us the news. This week, there actually was no Amy Poehler since, as Seth announced, she gave birth to her baby earlier that afternoon. Will Forte then dropped in as the voice Robo-Caller who attempted to clear his name considering how everyone hates him during the political season. Bill Hader stopped in as Ralph Nader to let us know that he’s running again even though the media wouldn’t let you know it. Fred Armisen returned as the comedian who struggles to make comedy on the spot based on newspaper headlines. Kenan Thompson and Maya Rudolph then wrapped things up but singing a Duet about Amy Poehler being a new mom. (Clip 2)

  10. Variety Vault took us back to 1959 for another Vincent Price Halloween Special with Bill Hader as our titular host for the event. As always, Price has a panel of celebrity guess from his time and then struggles to keep them all in line.

  11. Jon Hamm's John Ham was a fake ad for a new line of ham being marketed by our host that was explicitly designed to be eaten in the bathroom and featured ham that rolled out from a toilet paper dispenser.

  12. Coldplay then returned to the stage to perform Lost.

  13. Pat Finger was a fake political ad where Jon Hamm played, Politician, Pat Finger who was running for office in Butts.

  14. Coldplay returned to the stage once again, this time to perform Yellow.

  15. Finally, Jon Hamm closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights and then Coldplay returned to play through the credits.

I hate to get hung up on a show’s flaw, especially when it’s a repeating flaw that seems season specific and nothing to do with the host because despite how the review up above may sound, I actually really liked this viewing thanks to sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments of the night. First, I loved Jon Hamm’s John Ham because not only was the idea of the toilet based pork product but I also loved how our host broke down the similarities and difference in his name and the name of the product. Next, I really liked Mad Men/Two A-Holes At An Ad Agency In The ‘60s not only because I love the two a-hole characters, but I liked how this sketch was a parody of Jon Hamm’s show that I was able to enjoy even though I’ve only seen one episode of the reference material. Finally, I was a fan of Pat Finger For City Council Of Butts because I’m a grown child who is still humored by this type of wordplay.

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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.