SNL: S36E05... HOST: JON HAMM... DATE: OCTOBER 30, 2010



A Hammtastic Third Visit From The Mad Man!!!


As I said the last two times that Jon Hamm was the show host, I’m a fan of the man from a period of time where he was a bit of a regular on a couple of podcasts that I love. Other than that, I’ve never seen any of his work other than tiny roles or cameos in movies or on TV. I felt his first visit felt a little flat because half of the sketches seemed to be centered around his character on Mad Man, whether it was a direct parody of the show, or took place during the time period and had the same style. His second visit was a little better because they lightened up on the Mad Man related content but, I still feel that Hamm’s comedic abilities we underutilized.

Based on the pre-viewing legwork for this visit alone, tonight looks like it’s going to be a show with the potential to be lots of fun. Considering the fact that I have nothing new to add about our host, and have no connection to this actual episode, I’m going to make this intro quick and jump right into sharing the real-time viewing experience of tonight’s episode, and with that, here we go.

Though I keep having the same issues with the opening political sketch being a bit boring because they’re always based on current event references where the jokes don’t really age well over time. I’m finding it interesting just how critical the show’s been towards Barack Obama while disguising their harshness by having every criticism delivered with a knowing smile. I also find it interesting how many of the cast members who’ve been involved in the harsher content now praise Obama as the best president that we’ve ever had. Again, why I’m no longer interested in the political views of comedians since the most important thing is to get the biggest laughs at the time while using the excuse of “it’s just entertainment” whenever they change their minds.

I have seen one episode of Mad Men and personally didn’t like the show because it’s just not for me. That said, though I don’t like when SNL features nothing but Man Men related sketches all throughout the night, I don’t mind Jon Hamm’s references at the start of the show because it’s still what he’s mainly known for. Our host's performance also made me excited for the rest of the show because he seemed much looser than either of his past performances.

I think one of my new favorite things is the pairing of Rihanna with Shy Ronnie because I loved their collaboration during her last visit as the musical guest, so I was over the moon when I saw that the two were back together. As I point out down in The Wicker Breakdown, I’ve always enjoyed Bill Hader as Vincent Price and all of his various specials, but this is a series of sketches that I just enjoy watching and not having to come up with something to write about.

The two Back To The Future audition sketches cracked me up because they reminded me of the classic series of sketches where they did the same thing for Star War, plus I always love to see hypothetical casting for alternate versions of classic films. I’m not sure about them having an audition themed sketch in between these two audition parodies. Yes, there is a syncing of themes, but at the same time, three such similar sketches in a row feel a bit lazy to me. At least the audition-themed sketch was both different and entertaining enough to stand out from the pair of Back To The Future audition parodies.

Thankfully, for this visit, Rihanna sang a song that I actually know, so it kept my attention. The news was fine but like with the opening sketch, tonight was filled with more current events from back then that aren’t as topical and/or fun due to the passing of time. I was won back by the I Didn't Ask For This talk show sketch. Probably more now than I would have back then because it makes fun of those who unintentionally became a meme, which I don’t think was as common a term at this time, and they made parodies of a few of my few favorite viral moments. I’m just not sure if I was as up to date on the meme game at the time this originally aired, but definitely am at this moment.

The motorcycle cop sketch had a few funny moments but being that everything built to where the primary humor was a male make-out session had me lose interest about halfway through. It’s not that I’m homophobic or felt that the sketch was, as I’ve said many times from this time period, I’m just over the shock value humor of two straight dudes making out. It seems like it’s been a while since there’s been a sketch based on a terrible lounge routine, and though I didn’t mind the lounge act sketch from tonight, I hope it’s not brought back if Jon Hamm were to return for visit number four.

I knew and liked Rihanna’s second song more than the first which was nice because again, it kept my attention as opposed to most nights where I’m just ready for the show to be over by the second song. To be clear, being over the show by this point of the night has as much to do with the fact that I’ve been doing this for over six-hundred-eighty-five days in a row without a real break at all.

Though I like both David Spade and Fred Wolf, I didn’t really dig the Wolf animation with Spade playing a purse dog, because by this point, as out of it as I was toward movie and television, I couldn’t care less about the pop culture based stars being referenced throughout the routine. As with Emma Stone’s review, sorry for the low energy, I think I’m coming down with a cold, but when all was said and done, but the time Jon Hamm said his goodnights, I was delighted with tonight’s episode and do think that it’s been Jon Hamm’s best visit so far.

This makes three excellent show in a row, further squelching my concerns for the rest of this season. With that’ it’s now time to dig deeper into the details 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 Message From The Vice-President Of The United States where during an address to the nation, Jason Sudeikis as Joe Biden compared the plight of the Chilean miners who were stuck in a mine shaft with the problems facing President Obama. His most significant point was that these trapped miners were just happy to be alive despite all their struggles so we should be twice as happy since we don’t live under the ground. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, this comedic criticism led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”

  2. Jon Hamm then officially opened the show with a monolog about how this was his third time as host but second time hosting the Halloween episode. He then talked about his role on Mad Men and then attempted to prove his worth as an actor portraying an advertising executive by creating on-the-spot slogans for random items chosen by “audience members,” only he was horrific idea man in the world.

  3. This week’s SNL Digital Short reunited tonight’s musical guest, Rihanna with Andy Samberg’s Shy Ronnie to sing a song called Ronnie And Clyde while the two robbed a bank for their music video.

  4. We then got another Vincent Price's Halloween Special which was more of the same from this series. I like this series of sketches, but it’s repetitive enough that I don’t always feel like digging deeper into the description.

  5. Back To The Future 25th Anniversary DVD as a fake ad for the celebratory release of this DVD that featured our host and several members of the cast impersonating ‘80s era celebrities who auditioned for the film.

  6. We then went to another Audition themed sketch where Kristen Wiig played an actress auditioning for a role, but before even attempting a take of the audition scene, Wiig went on to lay down her list of ridiculous demands and what she will and will not do to Jason Sudeikis who played the movie’s director. By the end of Wiig’s list, Sudeikis shared that she wasn’t cut out for the role. Jon Hamm then entered the room as her husband and acted his ass off with defending his wife’s acting ability before leaving and returning as the next auditioner who had a list of demands of his own.

  7. The marketing material for Back To The Future 25th Anniversary DVD returned for more impersonations of ‘80’s era actors who “auditioned” for the Back To The Future film.

  8. Rihanna then took to the stage to perform What's My Name?

  9. Once again, Seth Meyers gave us the news. This week, Bill Hader returned as James Carville to share his crazy thoughts on the upcoming midterm elections. Fred Armisen and Kristen Wiig also returned as their character who make up songs on the spot to share their “new” Halloween songs. (Clip 2) (Clip 3)

  10. I Didn't Ask For This was a talk show sketch hosted by Bobby Moynihan who interviewed Jon Hamm and others like him who unintentionally became famous after an online video clip of them turned out to be a viral sensation. This sketch is the one used in the classic meme where Bobby’s character is so terrified by the maze/zombie prank that he punched through his monitor as a result of the jump scare.

  11. Highway Cops was sort of a parody of CHIPs where Jon Hamm and Jason Sudeikis played two motorcycle cops who had to share the same bike which led them to miss their assignments because they were too busy frolicking and making out while riding around out in the woods.

  12. Darleek And Barney was a parody of a terrible lounge act with Jon Hamm and Kristen Wiig as a duo who were horrible in their efforts to ad comedy to their routine by constantly pretending to fight in the old-timey stage show way.

  13. Rihanna then returned to the stage to perform Only Girl (In The World).

  14. Greetings From American America: Dog In Purse was a cartoon by Fred Wolf that featured a dog voiced David Spade who mused about his lot in life where he sees his world through the view of his celebrity owner’s purse.

  15. Finally, Jon Hamm closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

As I said up above, this was my favorite visit from Jon Hamm so far thanks to sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments of the night. First, I loved the I Didn't Ask For This talk show sketch because it was made up of a couple of parodies of my favorite viral videos from that time. Next, I really liked the reunion of Rihanna and Shy Ronnie for the SNL Digital Short: Ronnie And Clyde because I really dig the fact that Rihanna agreed to do this follow up song. Finally, I was a fan of the Back To The Future 25th Anniversary DVD promotional material because I’m always a fan of sketches that show alternative casting options for classic films.


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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.