SNL: S34E18... HOST: TRACY MORGAN... DATE: MARCH 14, 2009

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Even A So-So Season Can’t Slow Brian Fellow

 

I was very excited about the second half of this season when I first saw the line up of host. Then the second came, and my excitement died down after they managed to disappoint with both Alec Baldwin and The Rock which led me to have doubts about tonight’s viewing. Being that fact Tracy Morgan is one of those people who cracks me up by merely looking at him, even though this is a weaker season, I couldn’t see how he could fail. Then again, one of my biggest complaints from this year has been how almost every episode underutilized the host leading to these weaker shows.

Thankfully that wasn’t the case tonight which led me to absolutely love this viewing experience. I love Tracy Morgan because he reminds me of an amalgamation of several old friends which is the reason I laugh just by looking at him. I also love the guy because he’s one of those comedians who I feel like I discovered because I liked him in a little-known show called The Uptown Comedy Club that used to air after SNL for a couple of years while I was in high school.

When Tracy first hit the SNL scene, I was living in Seattle and no one ever heard of The Uptown Comedy Club, so I was allowed to talk him up and share his old bits like I was a promotional tool. Not that he needed the help but, being this type of fan creates a tighter bond, on the fan’s side of course, especially when they live up to the hype and prove to your friends that you were right in liking them. This early connection may be the main reason that I like Tracy Morgan as much as I do, but either way, he still put on a top-shelf performance, making this the best episode of the year.

With that said, lets now explore why I liked tonight’s viewing so much. First, I loved to see that there were eighteen segments to the night, even though the last sketch was a rerun of a fake ad but that disappointment didn’t come until the very end of the night, and at least it was a funny fake commercial. Next, the show started strong with a sketch that had absolutely nothing to do with politics, so I didn’t zone out or end up in a bad mood from the reminders of how we got to where we are politically.

Tracy’s fish tank story from the monolog cracked me up with the various reenactments off how Tracy acted at home but then got nervous when the very first sketch was a repeat of the fake commercial for edible diapers that’s already air multiple times this year. I just don’t understand how during this age of the modern internet, why the show would repeat the same sketch so much, or repeat a sketch in general. That said, I was instantly won back by the first note of Brian Fellow’s theme song.

It was so grand to see Brian Fellow again because I think he may just be my favorite reoccurring character of all time. The next sketch surprised me because I’ve yet to enjoy a parody of the view but Tracy as Sherri Sheppard continually had me laughing out loud, as did the Scared Straight parody that followed. Tracy Morgan was barely in the Nightline sketch that followed with might explain why I had to rewatch it to remember the joke, but then he returned for the next sketch as Astronaut Jones, another favorite of mine.

Kelly Clarkson then took the stage, and though she’s not really in my genre, I don’t mind her or her music. I’m actually rooting for her as a person because she seems like one of us who snuck into the club of them and is still blown away by her fame. The news was the news, which sounds like a diss, but seriously, it’s hard to hold any enthusiasm for decade-old jokes about current events that are all now old and, more often than not, irrelevant. Maybe once more time passes the old news jokes will be fun again like the news from the real early episodes but for now, the news is consistently entertaining but nothing to write home about.

At this point on an average night, there would be three or four sketches to wind down the night, but tonight there was still eight whole segments to go. I was bracing myself to not like the next sketch because I never heard of the show being parodied but then when I saw it was about Mormon polygamy with Tracy joining a marriage as wife number four any concern went out the window. And never returned because the rest of the night was pretty solid.

The SNL Digital Short had me to literally laugh out loud at it dumb dad joke based content as did the quick fake ad starring Tracy Morgan who was pitching a pill that worked the opposite of Viagra and helped to keep your boners down. The game show sketch was so weird and random in a way that was right up my alley and led to another song break from Mrs. Clarkson. We then got another weird sketch that I liked because it clearly came straight from Tracy Morgan’s head, which was followed by another fake commercial rerun before our host said his good nights.

I think my favorite part about all of this was that this enjoyable show was an episode that I’ve never seen before. This answered my question about The Rock’s episode that I thought I might not have liked since I was watching it cold and had no preexisting nostalgic connection to the episode. Tonight proves that old or new, a good show is a good show no matter what.

With all of that said, it’s now time to wrap this one up, and in order to do so, I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with a sketch called Tracy Returns where one of my favorite alumni cast members couldn’t get past the guard who would not let him in without his ID which sent our host on a punching spree as he coldcock any individual who got in his way between the studio entrance and the main stage. The people he punched included security, two random fans, a show page,  John Cena and Tina Fey. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it all eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”

  2. Tracy Morgan then officially opened the show with a monolog about how he was excited to host because he was going to star in more sketches tonight than his entire seven-year run as a member of the cast combined. He accused the media of making his crazy exploits out to sound more ghettos than they actually were and then shared several examples of how they reported a fish aquarium incident that ended with his apartment on fire. He then finished his routine with another one of his classic interaction with Lorne Michaels where he called him a bitch and then told him to go get his soda.

  3. This was followed by another repeat of the Chewable Pampers that’s already aired multiple times this season and featured organic diapers to be eaten in an effort to throwing away.

  4. Brian Fellow's Safari Planet then returned for a much-needed update with Tracy Morgan in the titular role as the animal show host who has no clue about anything to do with animals. This week, Fellows was hung up on the idea that a baby cow was trying to pass itself off as a snobby human with a British accent while interviewing Andy Samberg about a red-tailed hawk.

  5. This was followed by another parody of The View where they were all on-remote from Disneyland with the cast members impersonating The View women doing typical The View things with the main focus being that Tracy Morgan as Sherri Shephard struggled to follow any conversation since she had never heard of a single subject that was brought up.

  6. Scared Straight then returned for another parody of this kid scaring show where this time Tracy Morgan teamed up Kenan Thompson hardcore prisoner character to attempt to scare Bobby Moynihan, Andy Samberg, and Bill Hader out of ever wanting to go to jail. As always, Kenan stole all of his badass stories from movies, only this time he had Tracy Morgan to back him up and add his own movie based stories to tell.  

  7. We then got another parody of Dateline with Bill Hader as Keith Morrison who further reveled in the misery of his interview subjects who all suffered from terrible crimes.

  8. Astronaut Jones was another Tracy Morgan character to be brought back in order for him to sing his theme song before flirting with Andy Samberg as a transvestite alien but that didn’t stop Jones from being interested since he’s been in space alone for so long and there was no one around to witness.

  9. Kelly Clarkson then took to the stage to perform My Life Would Suck Without You.

  10. Once again, Seth Meyers gave us the news. This week, Bill Hader tried to contain his anger as John Malkovich after getting swindled by Bernie Madoff. Tracy Morgan then joined Seth after he shared a story about a strip club tax for a really quick game of Really?!? Kristen Wiig also stopped by as Barbie to celebrate her fiftieth birthday while trying to down her birthday drink with her unbendable elbows. (Clip 2)

  11. This was followed by a parody of Big Love where Jason Sudeikis introduced his three Mormon wives to wife number four, Fantasia Divine who was played by Tracy Morgan.

  12. We then got another SNL Digital Short called Party Guys that showed Bill Hader and Andy Samberg pointing out all the clichés that they spot while handing out at a lame party. Meanwhile, every insult was treated extremely literal like when they called a trio of idiot friends a bunch of Jokers, they were all dressed as The Joker from The Batman.

  13. Suppressex had Tracy Morgan as a doctor who advertised a pill that suppresses untimely erections for people who are already always ready to calm down.

  14. High IQ was a game show sketch that had Jason Sudeikis,, Darrell Hammond, and Michaela Watkins as three Brainiac contestants who all get distracted from working through their final answers by the crazy sideshow theatrics of host, Tracy Morgan’s freaky friends.

  15. Kelly Clarkson then returned to the stage to perform I Do Not Hook Up.

  16. Family Flix had Tracy Morgan as director Percy T. Douglas who revealed both the ending and a carnage count of all the actors and dogs that were killed while making his film, Rocket Dog. Kristen Wiig played the host who pulled all of this information out of Tracy, and she was completely confused by every word that he had to say.

  17. We then got a repeat of the Gas Right commercial from earlier in the season which was pretty much just a fake ad for the Breathe Right Strip only this strip goes on your butt in an effort to keep your sleeping farts silent.

  18. Finally, Tracy Morgan closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

I think that my biggest issue with this episode is that fake that it’s the first one in a while that made it hard to pick these three sketches as the ones that contained my favorite moments, opposed to just picking the only sketches that I just kind of liked. First, I loved The Return Of Brian Fellow because as I said up above, I really think he may be my favorite SNL character of all time. Next, I really liked this week’s The View parody because it was extra fun when you factor in the surprised that I actually liked a The View parody for the first time. Finally, I was a fan of the Scared Straight sketch because I like this series enough when Kenan Thompson is on his own, so I really got a kick out of seeing him teamed up with Tracy Morgan.

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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.