SNL: S34E19... HOST: SETH ROGEN... DATE: APRIL 4, 2009

Capture34195.JPG

or...

Where Have All The “Flower” Joke Gone?

 

The first time Seth Rogen hosted I pointed out how I felt a tab bit let down but couldn’t wait for his return since I am such a fan of his work since he uses dumb guy humor similar to what I used to write myself. I felt that he did well performance-wise but the content of the night was just average and felt like he wasn’t all that involved. I often pointed out how these results sort of seems common amongst comedic hosts on their first time.

Part of me feels that this is due to the fact that these types have so much respect for the show that they only get involved up to a point in the writing process. For round one, they’re often still new to the industry or at least new to being in the spotlight and unsure how to use their new powers that come with success. They are almost always better for round two as they work with the confidence of actually being a star.

This was the case tonight where Seth as a host was ten times better than he was for his first visit, but unfortunately, the actual content didn’t equally improve leading to another so-so show with an underutilized host. I wish Rogen would have come in like Jason Lee when he was there to promote My Name Is Earl who really seemed to strongarm the show into the direction that he wanted since his episode had an entirely different energy from any other show from the rest of the year.

Though I didn’t expect for Seth to go as extreme as people like Jason Lee, Pee-Wee Herman, or most famously Richard Prior who may have been too controlling to be invited back, (my own theory based on the fact that all three were one and done host,) how could you have an episode hosted by world famous stoner, Seth Rogen without a single reference to pot? Not that the show really needed any marijuana humor, but the lack of it did make it feel like anyone could have stepped in to host tonight's episode.

Once again, tonight feels like it was just thrown together using content from last season that wasn’t used due to the strike which might be the source of the feelings that the hosts have been underutilized. With that said, let’s explore my experience as I watched, where once again, I started out disinterested in the opening political sketch since once again, it started so slow it felt like I was watching that actual news and not a show famous for its humor.

The second half of the opening sketch actually was pretty funny, but I was so zoned out by the time it got to this point that I had already written off the scene. Seth was fine with his monolog even though he tapped into one of my biggest pet peeves of even joking that the writers were slacking while comparing this visit to the last. He shared how for round one the writers worked with his for days, but tonight they told him to take part in the hack of a start by taking questions from the audience.

Though I don’t mind this brand of a joke when it’s genuinely ironic, when it’s actually the case where the laziness joked about shows it then switches to become a pet peeve while lowering my hopes for the rest of the episode. The Fast And The Bi-Curious then won me back as a fan. This one was kind of interesting to me because, in general, I’ve been finding that I’m no longer a fan of the homoerotic humor as an effort to provide proof that a person’s not homophobic, even though I used this approach myself around this time. That said, where I see a host like Alec Baldwin joining in on humor like this just because it’s a trend, I still found this sketch to be funny between Seth Rogen and Andy Samberg since it’s a brand of humor that still seems genuine to them.

The next sketch was fun because it had a bunch of cast member impersonating comic strip characters, but other than seeing these drawn people in human form, I don’t even think that there was an attempt to make a meaningful joke. I like the idea of Bill Hader’s Italian talk show host character from the sketch that followed, but I’ve yet to really like an entire segment. Tonight’s installment was sort of fun but only because the extremely quick bit from Bobby Moynihan cracked me up and not any of the key players from the scene.

Of course, I loved the Like A Boss music video that followed because it’s such a classic SNL Digital Short that I still sing from time to time to this day. The Girlfriend Voices sketch that had our host and the cast speaking like babies in love was funny enough that I’m willing to bet if they would have switched it with the comic strip sketch, I would have felt better about the entire night considering I wouldn’t have had to wait so long to be entertained by a non-prerecorded scene.

Phoenix was another band that I never heard before and made me miss the days that I was more up to exploring new music because they were right on the cusp of sounding like something I might have loved to explore their catalog. The news was the news once again, only this time, I loved Kenan Thompson as his French Def Jam comedian character. I’ve always like when this character would show up but for some reason, tonight, he just really tickled a spot that made me love it.

The Presentation sketch was another good one, but as I’ve pointed out in the past, I’m easily won over by Grease humor since my older sister made me watch the movie so many times that I actually grew to be a fan while remaining a straight guy. The sketch with the idiot being tutored at school was another fun one thanks to my love of dumb guy humor. The commercial that followed was so convoluted that I just enjoyed the weirdness that was going on.

I liked the second song from the band, and absolutely loved the final sketch with The Muppet’s since that’s another show where I watched every single episode as part of a challenge. Seth Rogen then wrapped things up with his goodnights which was followed by one more performance from the band that I enjoyed.

So as you can see, I didn’t hate this episode, but considering how much I like tonight’s host, I wanted to like it more. Now that I shared all of my thoughts on this show, it’s now time to dig into some more specific details, as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with A Special Address From The President Of The United States that had Fred Armisen as Barack Obama out on a political trip to Europe where he outlined which companies he will and will not agree to bailout in the future, in reference to the bank and auto bailout from the time. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”

  2. Seth Rogen then officially opened the show with a monolog that started with a very quick plug for his new movie Observe And Report before switching to the topic of this being his second-time host and how different things are for round two. The first thing he pointed out was how he lost a ton of weight since that first visit with the rest of the changes focusing more on thing related to the actual show, like how he learn Lorne’s name was Lorne and not Lorain. He shared a few more examples, but the biggest difference for him was how the writers spent days with him the first time in their effort to come up with the perfect monolog while this time they simply told him to take questions from the “audience.” Of course, the cast then acted as the audience members who kept confusing Seth with Kevin James due to his weight loss while also confusing Observe And Report with the movie Paul Blart: Mall Cop.

  3. This was followed by a fake trailer for The Fast And The Bi-Curious that was filled with fast cars and male-on-male exploration between Andy Samberg and Seth Rogen.

  4. Save The Funnies took place at the Marriott Hotel and has Jason Sudeikis as Dick Tracy to lead a group of comic page characters in their efforts to find a way to keep the newspaper business afloat in these trying times.

  5. La Rivista Della Televisione the returned for another installment of Bill Hader’s Italian talk show host who doesn’t speak a lick of English to interview Seth Rogen, aka that infamous “Bear Man” of American cinema, as the Italian market referred to his English-only speaking self.

  6. We then got another classic SNL Digital Short called Like A Boss, which was pretty much a music video for the titular song and sung by Andy Samberg.

  7. Girlfriend Voices had Seth Rogen, Bill Hader, and Andy Samberg as a trio of friends who all creep one another out while speaking in their cuties-relationship-voices while talking on their phones to their girlfriends between planning a very explicit bachelor party while hanging out at a bar. Though it started with the guys making baby talk with their girls, as the sketch went on, we learned that each of them had a specific voice for every single person who called in.

  8. Phoenix then took to the stage to perform Lisztomania.

  9. Once again, Seth Meyers gave us the news. This week, Jason Sudeikis returned as Rod Blagojevich who was desperate to launch a get rich scheme of his own to match with Bernie Madoff. Kenan Thompson also returned as his French Def Jams Comedy Comedian character to comment on Obama’s European tour that was referenced in the opening sketch. Kristen Wiig then dropped by as Madonna to share how she was upset about not being able to adopt an African baby which triggered Abby Elliott as Angelina Jolie to once again, magically appear to one-up Madonna with her adoption talk. (Clip 2)

  10. The Presentation had Seth Rogen as an office worker who screwed up when the audio for his presentation that went out to all of the company’s investors was swapped with the song You’re The One That I love from Grease.

  11. Milestone High had Andy Samberg as a geek named Eli who attempted to tutor dumb Lance who claimed he was the schools’ basketball superstar. Eli attempted to teach his lessons using basketball metaphors which Lance took literal leading him to fail every test. To top things off, by the end of the sketch we learned that he wasn’t even good at sports but was just some dumb guy who was utterly hopeless.

  12. This was followed by a fake ad where Seth Rogen played a pitchman trying to sell an Easter collaborative featuring Will Forte and Kristen Wiig in the titular roles of an album called Clancy T. Bachleratt and Jackie Snad Sing Easter Songs about Spaceships, Toddlers, Model T. Cars & Jars of Beer.

  13. Phoenix then returned to the stage to perform 1901.

  14. Muppets Hit And Run featured the cast as The Muppet’s who are shocked when Seth Rogen as Rolf rolls the Muppet bus over a pedestrian and then tries to convince everyone if they’d just stay silent he can probably get away with this hit and run.

  15. Finally, Seth Rogen closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights Phoenix then ended the night with on more song called Too Young.

Though I was a tad bit disappointed by this episode because I was more host-specific humor, I was still entertained throughout most of the night with the help of sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments of the night. First, I loved this week’s SNL Digital Short: Like A Boss, because as I said up above, this is a song that I still sing to this very day. Next, I really liked the Muppet Hit And Run, that would have won the top spot due to my love of The Muppets but Like A Boss is just too classic not to get the top spot. Finally, I was a fan of Bobby Moynihan’s part in the La Rivista Della Televisione sketch because that guy really cracks me up even more now that I’ve become an even bigger fan of his involvement with the Comedy Bang Bang podcast.

Capture34192.JPG
Capture34193.JPG
Capture34194.JPG
 

Watch More From Seth Rogen:

 

Hear More From Phoenix:

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.