SNL: S05E12... HOST: KIRK DOUGLAS... DATE: FEBRUARY 23, 1980

or...

My Birthday Episode: Year 4

And what a surprise this birthday episode turned out to be. When I first saw that Kirk Douglas was hosting, I started to brace myself for disappointment. Don't get me wrong, my doubts about this episode did not stem from a hatred of the man or his acting, in fact, it's the other way around because up until this point the shows hosted by serious, non-comedic actors have all let me down.

Normally these are the shows that have that after school special vibe to them that I can't stand. It's as if they are not only parodying the host's catalog of work but they also mirroring the tone. That wasn't the case with Kirk though. Nope, this episode started out right away with a hilarious opening sketch where he makes fun of himself in a Dorf On Golf Esque routine.

He then went on to hit the stage with high energy and kept it up throughout the entire episode. Not only was his acting on point and the overall episode was solid. I'm also noticing that week after week they are getting way better at writing the long sketch. This episode has a dentist sketch that seems to go on forever but unlike past seasons, I never felt bored due to filler.

Once again, this season continues to rebuild my enthusiasm toward this challenge. Not that season four got me near the point of giving up but I was starting to dread taking notes to negatively breakdown a show that I love.

Speaking of breakdowns, it's now time to share what I saw as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. The show starts with Gilda and her aunt outside of Kirk Douglas's dressing room. She's going to bring her aunt in to get a quick autograph from one of her favorite stars. The door opens and we find a Kirk out of make-up, where he has no cleft in his chin and is only about four feet tall using the technique the Dorf On Golf did. The aunt is shocked as the make-up crew enters with mannequin legs and heavy machinery to fix up his face. As Gilda explains the magic of Hollywood she sneaks in the adage, "Live from New York..."
  2. Kirk Douglas then opens the show with a monolog about his relationship with Broadway. He then starts to ramble on about his family which got me feeling nervous about how the rest of the show would go.
  3. What If? returns for another installment this time we learn what if Spartacus had access to a Piper Cub, which I've never heard of but during the reenactment, it looks like a plane one would use for crop dusting. Since this isn't a plane of war, Spartacus can do nothing but through random things from the cockpit which turned out to be more of a nuisance than a way to win a war.
  4. Then we go to the Pentagon dentist where Harry Shearer is preparing to work on President Sadat of Egypt. He then introduces the top secret technology, available to the Pentagon employees, which is a practice called micro-dentistry. Enter Kirk, Bill, and Larraine who are then shrunken down and thrown into Sadat's mouth. With the graphic of Honey, I Shrunk The Kids and the concept of Innerspace the micro-dentist quickly get to work and then all the fun begins. First, Bill realizes that he drank too much coffee and has to pee and contemplates going behind a molar. Kirk then discovers a tiny can of Budweiser which is apparently the sign of trouble since the Taste Buds arrive and attack. This battle takes up enough time to where the micro-dentist have to jump ship before they start to regrow. Bill and Larraine bail right away but Kirk has one more thing that he has to accomplish. This leads to a close call countdown to Kirk's escape and then all of the sudden we cut to Gilda and Jane who claim there was a special effects error. The fact that they are holding their laughter so hard it makes me think this fail effect must have been hilarious but then we cut back to the scene to see Kirk in also a 69 position with Garrett acting as if he just jumped out of his mouth. I'm guessing now that the girls must have been watching this all go down and hence the unprofessional laughter.
  5. Sam and Dave then hit the stage to perform You Don't Know Me Like I Know.
  6. Once again, Jane and Bill anchor the news, starting with a story and a fake campaign ad for Reagan making fun of how racist and out of it he is and even have him insulting the Irish, but they still don't treat him like a viable candidate. Bill can also barely contain himself after a masturbation joke and Al Franken does a segment on bringing back the draft where he's now totally for it now that he's aged out of having to participate. He does this while continuing on with his Al Franken decade routine.
  7. Then we go to a bar mitzvah that starts out as a slightly exaggerated parody of the event but ends up being another sketch with Bill Murray's lounge singer character which plays out the same as the rest.
  8. Next, the show Prime Time Saturday borrows the satellite time to fit in a major story. I guess Prime Time Saturday was the lead in news show? Either way, the sketch is as boring as they claim the show is that they are parodying. Harry plays the host who interviews the all the brothers of the Republican presidential candidates. It might have been more fun if I remember enough about the candidates, let alone their brothers, to get a lot of the joke.
  9. Kirk Douglas, as himself, pitches a new album of him doing impersonations of impersonations of him as done by famous comedians. The album is called Kirk's Greatest Kirks and we get to hear several samples and he does a pretty good job at sounding like himself only a little bit different.
  10. This week's short film is called Mask Of Fear where we see the set up to what looks like a robbery with men in ski masks rushing a house but it turns out to be a surprise ski trip invitation.
  11. Sam and Dave then return to the stage to perform their version of Soul Man.
  12. We then go to a fancy restaurant where the bathrooms use unclear symbols instead of words which is something that takes a while to matter. We then go into the women's lounge which is one of those luxurious make-up rooms just before you get to the toilets. Gilda is playing the bathroom attendant who is talking Jane's ear off in an attempt to earn her tip. After a while, Kirk Douglas enters because of the sign confusion. He tries to quickly leave in order to avoid a scene but Gilda keeps holding him up as she tries to get an autograph and any other type of memorabilia. The scene then ends when a woman in the stall announces she's having a problem doing her business just knowing Kirk Douglas is in the room.
  13. Finally, Kirk Douglas closes the show by thanking the crowd and saying his goodnights.

So as you can see from the breakdown above there were still a couple sketches that annoyed me, only the saving grace of this episode is that the good sketches were good enough that I forgot that I had an issue until I started to transcribe my notes which is yet another good sign from this season.

Now, with all of that said, here were my favorite moments. First, I loved the Micro-Dentist sketch because it was long and filled with jokes from start to finish, and I especially loved the "technical difficulty. Next, I liked this week's What If? sketch because I like the idea of this angry ancient who nothing more than a nuisance even with his modern day power. Finally, I was a fan of the opening sketch because I was such a huge fan of the Dorf series when I was a little kid.

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.