A Paul Squared Evening Of Fun


First off, I’m going to warn you that the next few reviews might seem a little rushed because trying to bank as many reviews as I can to cover the next few days in my effort to take a bit of a vacation from SNL without breaking streak of posting one review a day. I want to take a bit of time off to celebrate Thanksgiving without having to work on this blog at all. I plan to drink a lot on my favorite holiday, so I need another backup review to cover my recovery day. I then want to bank at least to more reviews to get me all the way through the weekend.

Being that I couldn’t come up with a single thing to say about tonight’s episode hosted by Paul Rudd, who I’m a huge fan of, is a sign that I need to do something to rekindle the fire. As I’ve said in my last few reviews, I’m starting to feel extremely burnt out and need to take a legitimate break from writing in general, keeping in mind, I’ve been writing daily posts for going on five years through The Daily Breaker and all of my other challenges.

Four days straight with only limited work shouldn’t be too much to ask. So, now that I shared what I’m up to, I just got done watching the episode which the third show in a row that left me feeling a little bored, which I hate to say because of how much I like tonight’s host. I think part of the problem was that the night was as much about Paul McCartney as it was for the Paul who was our actual host. I don’t know if this is why the entire night felt a little too safe out of respect for their legendary musical guest.

It’s too bad because I loved Paul’s first visit and figured he’d be a host who would be good every time that he’s on, especially since by this point, he’s been working with SNL Alumni in movies for so long. This makes me wonder if he was too confident in the writers figuring he’d just work with whatever he gave them. Or maybe I’ve been so used to the last two consistently average season that I forgot how the show used to always goes through a bit of a slump toward the end of the calendar year with the cast and writers suffering from short timer’s syndrome right before their winter vacation.

Either way, the night was still okay, but it definitely did not live up to my expectation. With that, let’s travel back in time to see if we can figure out why as I share my real-time viewing experience. Where I liked last week’s political opening sketch, I’m back to being annoyed. Even though I’m fully aware the sketch is parody, it references truths that leave me feeling bothered by how even at the time we kept turning a blind eye to all of the failures during Obama’s presidency while acting like every problem started with Trump. And again, no, I’m not a Trump guy, I’m just a guy who bought into false hope.

Paul Rudd gave a pretty good performance for his monolog. Though it felt well-rehearsed like I was complaining about last night with De Niro, I didn’t mind delivery felt a like a stand-up routine and not like someone about to hand out an award. The joke with our host thinking the Paul chants were for him and not McCartney ending with Paul Brittain joining in on the Paul talk was also a funny bit. Based on the pre-viewing legwork, I wasn’t sure I would like the fake cat food ad, but it did have me laughing as it actually played out.

As always, I hated the Vogelcheck Family sketch because watching this era of the show on a daily basis, I am so over the joke of straight men making out. I did, however, enjoy the game show sketch that followed because I’m a fan of game show sketches but am horrible with names so I could relate to the contestants in this name game. It was amusing to see Paul McCartney play along in this week’s SNL Digital Short. As I said yesterday, I was aware of Wikileaks around the time this show aired, but I didn’t pay much attention to it until a bit later on, so it’s interesting to see SNL take on the organization from this time, even though the Assange sketch wasn’t all that hilarious.

Speaking of not hilarious, I’ve yet to laugh at Fred Armisen’s aggressive producer character who always fills in as an inappropriate fill in for daytime talk shows, and didn’t laugh once again. I got a bit bored during the sketch which led me to zone out a bit during Paul McCartney’s first performance. Though I get the influence of Paul and all of The Beatles and fully understand how important they are to music in general, I’ve never been a huge fan.

Unfortunately, the news did win my attention back this time, though the Stefon segment was fun as usual. As I said before, when I zone out, I mean that I just watch, too uninspired to take any notes. That said, the sketch that followed the news was okay, but I watched it while still zoned out. Abbey Elliot did a great impersonation of Meryl Streep, but the sketch wasn’t funny enough to pull me back into the show, and neither did McCartney’s second musical performance I did like the song better than the first one though.

The final sketch that took place during a play rehearsal caught my attention. It took me back to my high school days when I was in stagecraft where there was this crazy mixture of construction worker types building the sets, doing the lights and sound, and actor types who were a bit more sensitive in their efforts to work out their craft. The show pretty much ended with a concert from Paul McCartney, so I just listened while moving on to write the top portion of this reviews. I did enjoy the medley of songs he performed more than either of the early performance.

As I said up above, I’m still burnt out, a little sick, and am rushing to get through as many reviews as I can before Thanksgiving to afford myself a bit of a break. So, I was extra happy to see Paul Rudd return to the stage to say his good nights so that I could move on to wrap this one up. With that said, I’m going to do so by shifting gears in order to dig deeper into the details as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with another Message From The President Of The United States where once again, Fred Armisen played Barack Obama to address the nation after being held hostage by the Republican Party until he gave in to willingly authorize more tax cuts for the rich, going back on another campaign promise. As always, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”

  2. Paul Rudd then officially opened the show with a monolog about how he was excited to return to host his second episode. He also shared how he was surprised by the throng of fans who he heard chanting, “Paul! Paul!” outside of the outside of the building thinking they were cheering for him until tonight’s musical guest Paul McCartney joined our host on the stage to clear up any confusion. Featured cast member Paul Brittain joined the other two Pauls on stage thinking the chanting was for him.

  3. We then got a fake ad for Feline Culinary Creations which marketed succulent gourmet dishes. Though the description of each pet meal sounded amazing, when they showed the end product, it was just the same old wet square glop of cat food being flung into a food bowl.

  4. The Vogelcheck Family then returned for more man on man making out between our cast and the host to the backdrop of this over affectionate family. This time, the reason for the family get together was Christmas, and Vanessa Bayer played the outsider who learned to accept the family’s weird ways.

  5. What's That Name? was a game show sketch with Bill Hader as the host who asked contestants, Paul Rudd, and Vanessa Bayer if they could name people who Hader would share photos of or call out to the stage. Though both contestants could recognize every third-tier celebrity with easy, neither could place the people from their daily lives like Kenan Thompson who played one of their doormen and Kristen Wiig who played the other’s maid.

  6. We then got another SNL Digital Short called Stumblin’ where Andy Samberg and Paul Rude stumbled through life while Paul McCartney played a tiny harmonica to a parody of Dolly Parton’s song 9-to-5.

  7. As the title suggests, Julian Assange In Prison took place in a prison where Bill Hader as Julian Assange was being held over his involvement with the rape scandal he was eventually cleared of from this time. In the sketch, Assange interrupted a MasterCard ad to threaten his return to do personal harm against some of the countries’ favorite websites.

  8. Sexually Speaking brought back Fred Armisen’s aggressive producer character who always plays an inappropriate last minute fill in for one of his talk show hosts. This week he filled in for a sex advice show that usually had a sensitive female host.

  9. Paul McCartney then took to the stage to performs Jet.

  10. Once again, Seth Meyers gave us the show. This week, Paul McCartney joined Seth for a segment called Weekend Update Audio Caption with Prince Charles and Camilla where Seth played the voice of Charles and Paul provided the voice of Camilla to predict where the two might have said based on a paparazzi picture. Stefon also returned to share trendy NYC spots for people to visit around Christmas. (Clip 2) (Clip 3)

  11. Holiday Jam took place at a school’s Christmas event where Paul Rudd played a math teacher who loved to make horrible puns while Jay Pharoah got overemotional about the school’s mascot.

  12. Meryl Streep On Ice had Abbey Elliott as Meryl Streep to put on an Ice Capades style program based on her work despite the fact that she didn’t have any skating skills.

  13. Paul McCartney then returned to the stage to perform Band On The Run.

  14. Broadway Cares had Paul Rudd trying to perform a one-man show version of Cabaret but kept getting interrupted by a stagehand and some wacky antics from the person who worked the spotlight.

  15. Paul McCartney then took to the stage yet again to perform the songs A Day In The Life and Give Peace A Chance back to back.

  16. Finally, Paul Rudd closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights, before McCartney went back to the stage to perform Get Back.

As with the last couple of episodes, tonight’s show was just slightly above average, but at least there were sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments that at least kept the viewing experience pretty fun. First, I loved the fake ad for Feline Culinary Creations because the juxtaposition between the description of the ingredients to how the cat food came out of the can cracked me up each and every time. Next, I really liked the week’s SNL Digital Short: Stumblin’ because the song parody of 9-to-5 was fun as were the action throughout the entire video. Finally, I was a fan of Broadway Cares because of the way that it took me back to my high school stagecraft days.


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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.