I Watched A Pop Singer Host, And I Liked It
As I often point out when sharing my thoughts about the musical guest of the night, back when I used to be more into music, I would have to take breaks from the genres that I actually loved and listen to music that was more novel to me since my music would leave me depressed. I became a big fan of Katy Perry during one of these bouts because she was omnipresent on the old AM/FM radio as I drove around in my 1976 GMC CD player-less truck. It also helped that I found her videos to be over-the-top in a way that I found to be pretty amusing.
Not only that but when she was out promoting her song I Kissed A Girl she ended up on the Howard Stern Show since he was a big fan of the hit. This was at a time where the song was a huge hit, but she was looking like she might be a one-hit wonder. During that interview, she felt like she could be one of my creative friends who landed their first big opportunity, not the Stern Show by the fact that the radio was playing her song. She was very humble in the way that she described the surprise of creating a hit and the controversy that followed. I think seeing that rational side of the singer, made me even a bigger fan when she became a legitimate pop star since I can still see the individual hoping to survive off her craft.
Thanks to the wackiness of Katy Perry’s music video, and how fun she was in sketches when she was just the musical guest, I’m pretty excited about tonight’s viewing. With that, it’s now time to hit play and see how it goes while I share my real-time viewing experience. Though I’m typically not interested in the recent opening political content, I am fascinated by the sketches from this time that involve Donald Trump since at the time I bought into the idea that he ran in 2012 purely for the publicity to promote a book and didn’t see him as a politician at all. So it’s been interesting to revisit the sketches knowing that not only were his ambitions real but somehow we’d find ourselves in a parallel universe where he actually pulled it off just four years later. Other than that, I was still a bit bored by the actual talking head content.
As I said up above, one of the reason’s I like Katy Perry and think that she should be a pretty good host is because of how much I like the wackiness levels of her music videos. So, when her monolog referenced several outfits from several songs, I was won over by her first comedic effort of the night and am even more confident that I will enjoy the rest of this viewing.
As I said when J-Pop America Fun Time Now made its debut, I have mixed feeling about this series because of the shrapnel that hits Japanese culture with the characters inaccurate understanding of the people of Japan while watching through present day filters. I also said that I didn’t really mind because I used to have friends who were the same exact way, based on what they thought was love of the nation’s pop culture which I didn’t know either so it doesn’t really bother me personally.
This time, however, I paid more attention to Jason Sudeikis’s character, who kept blatantly pointing out how much these characters were dead wrong, as he did in the first appearance. I’m absolutely fine with misguided characters being corrected, so I was able to let down my modern day comedy guard and just enjoy the segment since it’s not like the old days where even the voice of reason would have probably piled on. Then again as the sketch continued on, I’m not fully sure if I would agree if I were actually Japanese.
I never saw the movies Valentine’s Day, or New Year’s Eve, or Leap Year... if that even is a part of the holiday series, I’ve only seen Groundhog Day, so I didn’t really get the reference to the Valentine’s Day parody. That said, it was about the Apocalypse which I’ve always been obsessed with since I first heard of the concept as a kid, so I got a kick out of the end of the world-themed humor.
Throughout this challenge, I’ve grown less and less of a fan of accent-based humor, so I wasn’t really into the Kalle sketch where any humor that came from Kristen Wiig’s character was based on her acting a talking like a weirdo from Finland. It also felt like a bit of a rip off of Sprockets, only less fun. Sprockets being grandfathered into being acceptable, since the Mike Meyers character also taps into a sense of nostalgia being that I referenced the character a lot back when I was more playful and more openly willing to joked around.
This week’s SNL Digital short was brilliant and lit up my heart when Andy Samberg and Katy Perry sang their song about friendship while collecting a new group of degenerate friends. Yeah, it got dark about halfway through but then it got surreal and meta in a way that had me over the moon. It also helped that the song was catchy, unlike the past few music videos that were well shot a fun but not really designed for the viewer to sing along.
Speaking of songs, the parody music for the fake soundtrack that followed was sort of fun, but I really hate the style of animation that they have been using for parodies of children’s animated films because they look even worse than an amateur flash cartoon. I know, the fake songs and the impersonations are supposed to be the star of the sketch, but still.
Continuing the music theme, it was interesting to see Robyn perform because when I was doing my pre-viewing legwork, I saw a tiny image and thought she was Katy Perry with her short blonde hair. Though I don’t know much from Robyn, she has a look that I really like since I’m a fan of girls with short hair since I like being able to see head shapes, necks, and ears which may sound weird but that’s just my thing. I’ve tried to get into her music a couple of time when taking pop music breaks from my favorite genres. Though I’ve yet to mind what I’ve heard, I haven’t found that one hit to include on a playlist. This first performance also wasn’t that song, but at the same time I didn’t zone out like usual.
I did zone out several times during the news because the segment went on for damn near fifteen minutes, which can be rough due to the issue I always bring up where current events lose a lot of steam when the references have aged out and become irrelevant. So remember, none of my recent bashing of the segment has anything to do with Seth or the actual content other than the fact that by design, there is a shelf life for these topical jokes. This can make fifteen minutes feel extra-long to the point where I wasn’t even won back by the appearance of Stefon, but that could also be they’ve been overusing the character since he’s so successful at getting the live audience to laugh.
The sketch that followed also failed to win me back because I’ve never really cared at all about the Royal Family and kind of think that it’s disgusting to celebrate their hoarding of old wealth that they get for merely being born. I don’t know why it’s acceptable for so few to be born into that much privilege, who then just tell others to work harder or starve. Keeping in mind, I’m fully aware of my circumstantial privilege that allows me to starve with a roof over my head where I’m able to work on this nonsense. That said, if I ever make a dime, I plan to share and die flat broke, like the movie Brewster’s Million, in a way.
I’ve always liked Kenan Thompson as Al Sharpton, especially during this challenge since I became a bigger fan of Sharpton himself after he hosted the show. Because of this, I liked the Sharpton talk show sketch even though I don’t have all that much else to say about it. I actually knew the second song from Robyn, so that was exciting. That said, I don’t have much more to say about her as a performer that I didn’t already cover during her first performance... oh wait... for some reason, her dance moves are standing out a lot more than the first performance. I may be noticing more being that I’m paying closer attention since I already know the words which I focused on more during song number one.
Being a big fan of Bobby Moynihan, since I might be taller, but minus his success we’re in a similar league, even though I hate that analogy, so it was sort of fun to see him as the one being sought out by Katy Perry. It was also one of those more cute and sentimental, end of the night sketches that I adore, and would say that I would love to see more of, only then they’d probably attempt to end each show on this note and mess up the entire sketch genre.
I ended up very pleased with this episode by the time Katy Perry took to the stage to say her goodnights. Part of this is because it was just a good show, but also this morning, I share my plans to start unfollowing anyone too focused on politics in any of my social media feeds because I want to get back to focusing on things that are much more fun and am already seeing the benefits. Granted, it will hard to be able to avoid politics altogether, but I really hope that getting the constant bickering out of my digital connection to the outside world will get me to lighten my mood in general.
We’ll see how that goes, but until then, it’s now time 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 On The Record With Greta Van Susteren where Kristen Wiig as the titular show host spoke with Darrell Hammond, Andy Samberg, and Bobby Moynihan as Donald Trump, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich. During the interview, Trump was disappointed that Santorum and Gingrich were the only two Republican candidates willing to participate in a debate that would be hosted by our future President. As always, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York...”
Katy Perry then officially opened the show with a monolog about her weird wardrobe choices for her appearance and music videos, claiming they were based on people she knew growing up. This then led a line up of cast members acting like ordinary town folks from our host’s youth who all had traditional jobs but dress like Katy Perry from her more over-the-top music videos.
J-Pop America Fun Time Now! then returned for another installment where once again, Vanessa Bayer and Taran Killam played two J-Pop fans who love the music genre but are way off on their interpretations of Japanese culture. This time the two had on Katy Perry who played the Hello Kitty-obsessed friend that suffered from the same case of cultural unawareness.
We then got a fake trailer for The Apocalypse which was a parody follow up to the movie Valentine’s Day that had the cast as the same ensemble of characters to show how they would cope with the ending of all time.
Kalle was a talk show sketch based out of Finland hosted by Kristen Wiig as Kalle. For this debut of this character, Kalle interviewed Katy Perry as herself, only to fluster our host with an extensive collection of clips that her research team dug up that showed Katy in situations that perfectly fit the last word that the Kalle character would say.
We then got another SNL Digital Short called Best Friends where Andy Samberg sang a song by the same name with Katy Perry as they introduced us to a cavalcade of cameos from their celebrity friends acting like dirtbags. For example, Matt Damon as a drug addict, and Val Kilmer as a brilliant lunatic, as well as several cast members acting as influential people from the past.
Robyn then took to the stage to perform Call Your Girlfriend.
Once again, Seth Meyers gave us the news. This week, Kristen Wiig stopped in as a flirting expert to try to win over Seth. Alec Baldwin then made a special appearance as the captain of the airplane that Alec was kicked off of for refusing to stop playing a dumb game on his phone when they were attempting to take off. Bill Hader also returned as Stefon to share more hip tourist location throughout NYC to any potential Christmas visitors. (Clip 2) (Clip 3) (Clip 4)
Royal Pregnancy brought back Fred Armisen and Bill Hader as the rowdy Queen and Prince Philip who this time, belittled Abby Elliott as Kate Middleton for not yet being pregnant with Prince William’s baby while praising Katy Perry as Pippa for her rebellious ways.
Politics Nation With Al Sharpton brought back Kenan Thompson’s impersonation of Al Sharpton to host a new talk where he missed all of the cues while talking politics with Katy Perry and Taran Killam as Kelly O’Donnell and Jim VandeHei.
Robyn then returned to the stage to perform Dancing On My Own.
Soulmates had Katy Perry at a piano bar in search for her soulmate where she finds Bobby Moynihan and discovers the two are a perfect match which leads her to want to marry him on the spot, but then Katy instantly died by falling down an elevator shaft as the two attempted to leave the building.
Finally, Katy Perry closed the show by thanking the audience and saying her goodnights.
Though I was expecting to enjoy tonight’s episode hosted by Katy Perry, I have to say that it was the first episode in a while that actually exceeded my expectations because of sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments of the night, and the fact that they correctly used the host. First, I loved this week’s SNL Digital Short: Best Friends because it was a catchy song, filled with fun cameos, and a surreal meta storyline was the first in a while to go this deep into the genre of comedy that I love. Next, I really liked the fake trailer for The Apocalypse because I’ve been obsessed with the end of the world ever since I was a little kid and first learned of Nostradamus. Finally, I was a fan of Soulmates, because it was nice to see Bobby Moynihan as a man in my league get hit on by Katy Perry without the premise of the joke being the idea that someone so beautiful hook up with someone so gross, even though they did hint at that as the joke at the start of the segment.