SNL: S35E16... HOST: ZACH GALIFIANAKIS... DATE: MARCH 6, 2010

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Galifianakis: A So-So-Season-Proof Host

 

I discovered Zack Galifianakis back when he was part of The Comedians Of Comedy series of documentaries, comedy specials, and tours with Maria Bamford, Brian Posehn, and Patton Oswalt. Though I recognized his face from movies like Out Cold, Bubble Boy, and Corky Romano, he was the only person from the series who I wasn’t already a huge fan of for his stand up alone. In fact, I’m not even sure if I knew him as a comedian up until that point, if anything, he was the only one from the bunch where I wasn’t already familiar with his back catalog of jokes.

As someone who’s always loved Andy Kaufman-esque performers who seem to be in it to entertain themselves just as much, if not more, than they are in it to entertain their fans. I think this is because I was an extremely lonely child and spend most of my youth trying to entertain myself in these same ways while locked away in my room. Being that this was a time before the internet and cable was nowhere near what it’s like today, I would force humor into the most random things.

Whether I was searching for personality quirks while watching serious speeches on C-SPAN or getting over excited about watching televised sheep herding competition while channel surfing, I was continually curating bizarreness to share when the time did come to interact with the world. Sure, I may not have developed this approach to the point where it became profitable, like it has with tonight’s host, but I do feel like I relate to the ways in which he’s a weirdo.

This is why I have no season-based concerns about tonight’s episode. This season has been so inconsistent that I’ve been nervous for some of my favorite hosts’ episodes. I feel like if anyone is season proof, Galifianakis is that man, especially since, I’ve been more disappointed in the content and not the actual cast. I feel like Zach will come in and pull a Pee-Wee Herman where even if there happens to be a reoccurring sketch, the Zach Galifianakis character of himself will still find a way to be the star.

With that, let’s fire the episode up so that I can share my real-time viewing experience. Oh yeah, I forgot, the opening sketch typically is what it is no matter who is the host, and tonight was another political one that was a bummer because once again, it highlights how it wasn’t just FOX News and the conservative who weren’t all that impressed by Obama’s first term. I’m huge up on this because I’m an independent thinker with liberal views who has gotten so much grief for not falling in line and don’t consider him to be the best president in the world solely because he may have had the most likable personality of any President that we’ve had since I was born.

Zach’s opening was brilliant with Zach being Zach and cracking me up the entire time. All that it took was him saying it was great to be back to get me and the audience rolling, considering this was his first time. Between Zach’s performance and the audiences’ energy in their response, I doubled down on the views that I mentioned in my intro and was even more excited about tonight’s episode, keeping in mind, I’m almost completely unfamiliar with this entire year and this is my first time watching tonight’s show.

I usually don’t like The Vogelcheck Family, but I had hopes that our host would turn the sketch on its head enough to where it would be more than just a shock values based joke focused on men making out with men for a cheap laugh. The sketch started out pretty standard for this series of sketches, and again, I probably would have found this much funnier at the time when there was still value to the shock of men making out, but now I just see a creepy family and Zach’s effort’s didn’t even seem to help. That said, this sketch does always seem to boost the energy of the crowd as they respond in shock, which in turn seems to fire up the cast member involved, if I’m looking for a silver lining.

I once shot a film in a millionaire house that had one of those magical Japanese bidets and have been a fan of the idea ever since, so I loved the sketch that followed where Galifianakis and Wiig were obsessed with the details of the bidet that the discovered in their hotel room. I’m also obsessed with people who are obsessed with very specific things, so I loved this couple obsession with their squirting toilet. I also loved the segment that followed where Zach videobombed every show that aired on NBC around this time. This is the type of cross-promotion that I really don’t mind to the point where I would like to see similar synergy instead of the dumb digital network advertising that constantly pop up on the corner of the screen that distract viewers from the show that they tuned in to watch.

Zach’s videobombing segment also led to the first Today parody since they started to have it as part of the show since I love when one sketch bleeds into the next, and am surprised that they don’t do it more. That said, I was bored to death by this Today sketch until Galifianakis came on, but I could see liking it more if this series came out when I was working graveyard, and the internet wasn’t modern leading me to watch when I’d get bored allowing me to relate to these morning show parodies much more.

I’ve heard the name Vampire Weekend for years, but their first performance has me questioning if I’ve ever heard them before. Though I don’t mind their sound, I can’t tell if I would be into them back when I was more open to new music. There’s a part of the chorus that sounds like an old jingle for an ad that piqued my interest, but I’m not sure if my interest was piqued from the music or the mystery of which ad it reminded me of. The mystery turned out to be more of a cadence thing the actual sound but then the singer sings, “I can feel it coming,” reminds me of the theme song for Slinky.

The news this week was really fun but that might just be because when Kenan was on as Mo’Nique to try out her acceptance speech for the Oscars, he as she, thanks the grips, electricians, best boys, and gaffers, which were all of the unacknowledged roles that I worked back when I worked in “the industry.” I also liked that the entire segment was pretty quick which is surprising for an episode that’s only thirteen segments long.

Considering how What Up With That has been my top sketch twice this season and would have won the top spot more if I was being honest, and how I ramble on about my love of this series every time it’s on, I don’t think I have to tell you how I feel about this installment. It was just as good as the rest from this series without even needing to get Galifianakis involved, even though Zach’s involvement got me to laugh the hardest. And don’t get me started on them bringing out Grown Baby Jessica who fell down a well because I was just joking the other day how Grown Baby Jessica should be on the next season of Dancing With The Star.

I was expecting The Situation Room parody to ruin the run of fun, especially with it being another sketch making fun of the youth for being dumb for complaining about the rising price of tuition for school. For the most part, I was right, but I did like how the older generation was also hit for not understanding technology or youth culture at all. If this were a sketch from any other decade, they’d probably just bash the generation for doing the same things every generation gets bashed for, and move on as if the elders had it all figured out.

I’m still on the fence about how I feel about Vampire Weekend. I want to like them because I have old friend’s that were fans, but still, I think it’s more music I don’t mind but would never actively seek out. I was a huge fan of the final sketch of the night with the beauty pageant talk show because Zach’s character in the sketch reminded me of his character from the movie The Campaign, that featured several former SNL castmates. This was the first time in forever that I wasn’t ready for the show to be done by the time our host said his goodnights, so I think that’s all that I need to say about what I thought of tonight’s viewing.

With that, I’m going shift gears quickly and jump right into the details, as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with parody C-SPAN coverage of a Presidential Address On Health Care Reform where, once again, Fred Armisen played Barack Obama to share how he was hell-bent on passing a health care reform bill.  He didn’t even care if the bill being passed was unpopular. The President just wanted to pass something so that he can fulfill one of his campaign promises before the end of his first term. As always, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”

  2. Zach Galifianakis then officially opened the show with one of his stand-up routines where he started telling jokes as if it were a more traditional monolog that received the biggest response from the audience than I’ve seen from this show in years. After a few introductory bits, he then moved to the side of the stage to tell several one-liners while playing a soft atmospheric tune on a piano.

  3. The Vogelcheck Family then returned for more men making out with men. This time with the premise that the overly physically affectionate family greeted each other with big hugs and wet kisses while at a funeral and Zach Galifianakis joined in with the kissing as the priest who was in charge of the services. Jenny Slate played this week’s outsider to be disturbed by the mouth kissing family.

  4. Bidet took us to a hotel where Zach Galifianakis and Kristen Wiig played a couple on vacation who were curious to test the limits that can be imposed upon the bidet that came with the room while Andy Samberg as their bellhop attempted to show them the entire hotel suite.

  5. Zach Drops By The Set was a segment that showed Zach Galifianakis videobombing various NBC shows from throughout the week while he was allowed to wander the NBC studios in between rehearsing for tonight’s show.

  6. This was followed by another parody of Today where once again, Kristen Wiig and Jenny Slate played Kathie Lee and Hoda for more of the same Today parody nonsense. Only this time, Zach Galifianakis kept peeking in through the window, partially to play off the previous sketch where Zach was videobombing, with the added storyline that Galifianakis was obsessed with Hoda.

  7. Vampire Weekend then took to the stage to perform Cousins.

  8. Once again, Seth Meyers gave us the news. This week, Kenan Thompson dropped by as Mo’Nique to practice her Oscar speech, in order to hold it down for forty-five seconds. Will Forte also stopped by to sing a song to commemorate Women’s Herstory Month. (Clip 2) (Clip 3)

  9. What Up With That? then returned for another installment of my favorite series from this time, where, as always, Kenan Thompson played a host who would do nothing but sing his theme song while ignoring his star-studded panel of real guests who don’t get to say a word, which this week included Paul Rudd, and Frank Rich.

  10. This was followed by a parody of The Situation Room where once again, Jason Sudeikis portrayed Wolf Blitzer to deliver the hard news as provided by CNN viewers about the college tuition issue in America. As always, the old folks in charge of writing the sketch made fun of the youth for being dumb, forgetting how they were/are the idiots to their parent’s generation. That said, the sketch also made fun of the old folks in the news for not understanding technology, and letting youthful offensive slang into their “serious” broadcast.

  11. Vampire Weekend then returned to the stage to perform Giving Up The Gun.

  12. Pageant Talk had Jenny Slate as a beauty queen who’s moment in the sun following a big win was ruined by her parents, Zach Galifianakis, and Kristen Wiig, who kept bickering while trying to interview their daughter their pageant themed talk show.

  13. Finally, Zach Galifianakis then closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights

I really needed this episode because thanks to sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments, I laughed the hardest during this viewing than I have in quite a while. First, I loved The Bidet sketch because it reminded me of the things that would go through my head if I checked into a hotel to find that there was a bidet included in the room, plus, the questions asked to the bellhop kept cracking me up. Next, I really liked Zach Drops By The Set because I could imagine how fun it would be watching NBC that week to see Zach Galifianakis randomly drop by during all of their popular shows. Finally, as much as I want to give What Up With That this final spot, I want to switch it up and share that I was also a fan of Pageant Talk because Zach’s character made me really want to rewatch a couple of Galifianakis’s movies where he made similar character choices.

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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.