British Brand Recognition
I’ve always had mixed feeling about Russell Brand, well, I take that back, when I first learned of him, I wasn’t a huge fan of his stand-up comedy because this was when he dressed and looked like Chris Angel from Mindfreak. I did, however, find him to be hilarious in the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and anything that I saw him in after that. At first, I thought I just liked his acting, and that was all, but then I started to hear him in interviews where I discovered that he was a fascinating deep thinking guy, even if the areas that he dives into can be bizarre if not dark. I still have yet to see a full hour stand-up performance, but I would be open to hearing what he’s got to say because now that I have a better understanding of what he’s shooting for, I think we’re close to being on the same page.
Keep in mind, that when I say that I’m a fan of anything else I saw from the guy, I’m mainly talking about Get Him To The Greek because other than these two films, I think I’ve only heard Russell Brand’s voice in a couple of animated films. And, the interviews in question were both with Howard Stern, so though I may be a bit more familiar with tonight’s host that a few from the recent past, I still don’t have all that much to say about him in this intro, so let jump right in and start watching the actual episode.
With that, it’s now time to hit play and share with you my real-time viewing experience. Though I was expecting to not like the opening sketch since the show went back to starting with political content after taking a week off. It turns out, I think the fact that it was political content in the form of a talk show kept the segment moving enough that it didn’t seem as stagnant as the typical talking head address that’s the current common way to start each night. Not only did I like tonight’s opening sketch more than usual, it was interesting to see some of Brand’s stand-up routine because as I noted in the opening paragraph, I’m only aware of his comedy slinging background, but I haven’t gone too deep into tracking down any of his specials.
I also really liked the ad for the attorney to whose primary focus is suing the Spider-Man musical, Turn Off The Dark, because I was a huge fan of the idea of a shit-show that the Spider-Man play turned out to be. In fact, I still like to listen to the Complete Guide To Everything podcast on the topic every once in a while. I wasn’t a huge fan of the sketch that followed where Kristen Wiig played a host who was more excited than her surprise guest who just won a fifty-thousand dollar prize, because it felt too much like a cut and paste version of the first installment with very little change. I don’t know why sometimes I don’t mind the repetitive nature of reoccurring character while other times I think it’s the repetitiveness alone that I just can’t stand.
Though I don’t usually like accent-based humor, I really got a kick out of the fake trailer for the British film where it was almost impossible to make out what was being said because their English accents were so over-the-top. Where typically, I find it wrong for them to make fun of the way a foreigner my speak, in this case, the humor felt more like it was making fun of a specific genre of British movie so I thought that the accent humor was okay.
I don’t really care for kings, queens, and anything from this brand of old-timey nonsense. That said, the sketch with Russell Brand as the King and Taran Killam as his food taster was fun because the lines were delivered with hilariously high energy level and not just people talking soft and politely while making fun of a period piece of a film. All that I know of Chris Brown is the domestic violence instance that took place about a little over a year before this visit, so, even though I was familiar with his first song, I wasn’t able to get into it at all. Not really out of protest, since this music doesn’t seem like something I’d like either way.
As usual, the news was the news. Since I zoned out a little during Chris Brown, and none of the news guests were all that exciting, I ended up paying limited attention until I saw Stefon. The Livin’ Single sketch that followed the news bummed me out because I thought for sure it was going to be a parody of the old Fox show and not a wholly fiction talk show that shares that same name. It bummed me out even more when during my pre-viewing legwork, I mixed up the Livin’ Single sketch was the tea room sketch that followed because I was excited when I thought this was going to parody the Fox show only with old British folks in all of the “urban” folks’ roles. I wasn’t really digging the tea-themed sketch until I stopped looking it through American eyes which allowed me to fully appreciate the segment’s over-the-top Britishness.
I tuned right out for the second Chris Brown song because the last thing I want to hear is a love song about what this domestic abuser plans to do to a woman in bed. Thankfully, this was another night that ended on a solid sketch and not just another throwaway fake commercial because I don’t see why it’s not a common goal to end the show strong and not just rush to get it over with, which is what the current end of the night trend tend to be.
As with the past few viewing, I was pleased to see our host come out to say his goodnights, not because I was happy to see that it was over but because I was delighted to see another mostly solid episode. This is also my second review in a day making me happy to already have one extra review banked to ease a touch of stress by being one day ahead of any SNL deadlines on any given day. I prefer to be at least one day ahead whether or not I have any plans to take any time off because it does allow me to watch tomorrow's episode a day ahead minus any stress as to where I will fit my next viewing in.
With all of that said, I’m now going to shift gears in order to dig deeper into the details of each sketch, as I give you…
The Wicker Breakdown:
This week's show started with a parody of The O'Reilly Factor where Jason Sudeikis as O’Reilly presented part three of his pre-Super Bowl interview with Fred Armisen as Barack Obama where O’Reilly pretty much just second guessed everything that Barack had to say. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
Russell Brand then officially opened the show with a monolog where he rambled through one of his stand-up routines with that Russell Brand/British delivery that he’s known for. Most of his jokes focused on the fact that he may be unknown in America but in England, he’s a big deal.
We then got a fake ad for Gublin And Green which was a pair of attorneys whose primary practice was collecting settlements for people injured while working for or attending the Spider-Man musical, Turn Off The Dark.
Ultimate Vacation Giveaway returned for another installment of a sketch from this series where Kristen Wiig plays the host of a contest, this time with the prize being an ultimate vacation only she’s more excited about the situation than Russell Brand who played the actual winner of the grand prize.
This was followed by a fake trailer for a movie called Don' You Go Rounin' Roun To Re Ro where all the lines where delivered to quietly and unintelligible due to the accent that it was almost impossible to follow what the hell was going on.
The King's Taster took place in old-timey days where Russell Brand played King Reginald with Taran Killam playing his taster who was reluctant to accept his role after witnessing the King go out of his way to harass the chef who was played by Bill Hader.
Chris Brown then took to the stage to perform Yeah 3x.
Once again, Seth Meyers gave us the news. This week, Fred Armisen returned as Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak to share his version of what went down during the Arab Spring. Jay Pharoah and Taran Killam also stopped by as Lil Wayne and Eminem to debut their new extremely misogynistic Valentines song. Stefon then concluded the news with his usual/hilarious routine. (Clip 2) (Clip 3) (Clip 4)
This was followed by a sketch called Livin' Single that wasn’t a parody of the old show but was a parody of a talk show hosted by Vanessa Bayer who claimed to enjoy her single lifestyle yet is easily aroused by Russell Brand who played an amorous pastry chef/guest.
Chris Brown then returned to the stage to perform No Bullshit.
Time Machine took place at a party where, to finalize a dumb debate regarding the Founding Fathers, Jason Sudeikis traveled through time to bring back George Washington as played by Russell Brand to settle the argument. The only problem was, Washington didn’t take well to the time travel or dealing with his modern surrounding to the point where he had to be put down after he started to attack the crowd.
Finally, Russell Brand closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.
I think tonight makes five solid shows in a row with the help of sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments of the night. First, I loved The King's Taster sketch because even though the overall joke may have been a little played out, I loved the energy of everyone involved in this sketch about poisoning the trash talking king who totally deserves what he gets. Next, I really liked the Time Machine sketch because I’m a huge fan of time machine humor, plus it cracked me up how the modern world was enough to drive George Washington completely mad. Finally, I was a fan of A Pot Of Tea, because being from California with a new found love of Britain’s Got Talent, the blend of earthquakes and tea time felt tailor-made for me.