SNL: S06E05... HOST: DAVID CARRADINE... DATE: DECEMBER 20, 1980

or...

I Think I Just Watched Kung-Fu Part Two?

Have you ever made an observation where the moment you develop your theory to share it with others, someone comes along and ruins the entire argument by doing the exact opposite of the main point of your newly discovered truth? David Carradine did exactly that while performing his hosting duties this week.

During yesterday's viewing, I was intrigued to look up what movie Jamie Lee Curtis must have been there to promote because she only mentioned Halloween in her monolog. Since I knew was a '70s movie, I figured it was far too late for it to be her reason for being there. In my IMDB finding, I saw that she had eight potential projects that came out within the window of what could be a promotional tour. 

For her, I assumed that due to the fact she had so much going on, she was killing a bunch of birds with one stone, but this also made me realize that this wasn't the first time it wasn't obvious, what was being promoted. In fact, for the most part, no one to date has really done much to blatantly promote a project. 

This led to the memory of a time before I was aware of the promotional tour because I think the idea at the time was to appearances feel more organic than the modern day promotional whore.

That's not to say that they were shooting for the same results or using some form of marketing strategy, it's just this time period seemed to try and be more subtle and appearances were more like product placement, you would notice an actor more and more just prior to a project's release. This increase in visibility was enough for the public to make the link. 

This was also a time when you were considered a sell-out for selling a song to be used for marketing. Now, even as an average citizen, we are told to market ourselves and encouraged to work on our "brand" for everything from finding work to starting relationships. Selling out is now the goal to the point where I can't even listen to a personal podcast from civilians that seem to be stopping by for the free plugs.

Though I'm not a fan of this "new" brand of self-promoting, that's been around for over two decades, I do see that both techniques are trying to accomplish the same means. To me, I just see a little more class in the subtle technique even though it kind of is more of an evil form of trickery. 

I don't know, either way, these earlier hosts seem to do a lot less self-promotion which makes it feel like more of them are there just to have fun, which I'd guess more often than not, is the case. This observation was so strong, I noted to write about it the next time I saw it...

...Enter David Carradine...

Though he never outright mentions the show by name and it hadn't been on for years, it doesn't take long for Mr. Carradine to make a reference to his Kung-Fu career. Not only does he slip the plug in during the monolog, about a quarter of the show is devoted to Kung-Fu parodies, almost to the point where it could have been a reboot season called Kung-Fu Part Two.

That's not to say it was a bad episode, I just thought the Murphy's Law timing was interesting enough to mention. As far as the episode goes, I think it's my favorite of the season because David Carradine has a way of cracking me up because I can't tell if he's silly or strange. There were times where it felt like he was in on the joke and then other time when he seemed like he was on a whole different world or that he possibly mistook the scene for reality, all this while not seeming crazy or drugged out. 

Hell, maybe this episode should have been credited as being hosted by Kwai Chang Caine?

Whatever, it was a fun episode, now it's time to share what I saw and I move on to give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. The show starts with Joe Piscopo working on his Don Pardo impersonation because he wants to take his job in order to be set with announcing work for life. The moment he finishes sharing his plan, the omnipresent voice of Don Pardo chimes in to inform Piscopo that he's on to his game which gets Joe to stop for a moment before going back into Pardo in order to announce, "Live from New York..."
  2. David Carradine then opens the show with a monolog about how he made his father proud by living up to his promise to make a living using his feet. At first, we think he's talking about the show Kung-Fu but then he goes into a song and dance. He eventually gets interrupted by Rocket and then Kung-Fu kicks him off of the stage.
  3. This was followed by a fake ad for Gun City that is having a holiday gun sale in order to meet all of your Christmas shopping needs.
  4. Eddie Murphy then plays a clothing store owner who gets a visit from Kung-Fu's Caine. After looking him up and down, Eddie tries to talk Caine into updating his Kung-Fu outfit and goes on to dress him like he's a pimp. Whenever Caine looks in the mirror he sees images of his blind Kung-Fu who warns him about getting caught in the trap of "Gay Italian Fashion." As Caine talks to the image of his master Eddie thinks he's talking to him which adds to the confusion of the scene in both the scripted lines and the actually acting. I'm not sure how they did the effect but every time it comes into play there seemed to be timing issues as if everyone involved couldn't hear each other clearly. Fortunately, these bloopers were very subtle and if anything added to the comedy.
  5. Denny and Gail then return as their teenage characters from the Planned Parenthood sketch. This current sketch is more of a day-in-the-life segment where the comedy comes from the characters over specific jokes, concepts or story. In the sketch, these two teens are just being teens from the time who are hanging out at the mall and trying to figure out what to do to fill time until their parents come to pick them up.
  6. The Rocket Report returned, this week Rocket discusses the New York City Santa over footage of a drunk Santa interacting with the man on the street. Though fun, this installment was way more scripted than the others and there were no random interviews.
  7.  Bob Dylan visits Arlo Guthrie in the hospital and the two have a folk off as they only use lyrics from songs to carry out a conversation.
  8. This was followed by a fake ad for Dallas: The Home Game, a dress up game that allows you to turn your dysfunctional family into themed fun and games.
  9. Mr. Bill returns after his stay in prison. He's now living in a shack with his wife and dog and shares with us the story of his very first Christmas were Mr. Hand gave him his first bike which led to Mr. Bill to shredded up in the spokes.
  10. Caine from Kung-Fu teams up with Eddie Murphy who is playing Black Bruce Lee. The two set out to fight a group of evil Santas in what turns out to be a fake trailer for a movie called Kung-Fu Christmas.
  11. Once again, Charles Rocket does a pretty good job at hosting the news. Ann Risley checks in with her list of dos and don'ts for the holidays. The don'ts include spoilable food as gifts, live animals as gifts, and dry Christmas trees. All of the dos all equal the gift of a wrapped bag of lard. Piscopo also drops in for another segment of sports.
  12. We then go to a Broadway stage where Linda Ronstadt and the cast of The Pirates Of Penzance perform a montage of moments from the musical.
  13. Two couples of rich white folks go to a drug den in Harlem in an attempt to fully experience what it's like to use heroin. They buy some drugs from Murphy only the minute they go to try it, Eddie reveals it's an undercover bust and they are all under arrest in the cities attempt to keep junkies out of Harlem.
  14. This was followed by another profile mockumentary on how one of the new members ended up in the cast. This time we follow the men from marketing who were sent out to find a very specific audience selected prototype which is a woman who has to be a virgin. The men from marketing have to travel all over the world because even though the can find a woman that looks the part they struggle to find a virgin. That is until they wind up in a dive bar in the middle of the day in order to get directions. This is when they find Gail who is rambling at the bartender about how she's saving herself for Carl Sagan and this is how she was selected.
  15. This was followed by a fake ad for chewing tobacco. It felt too much like what a real ad for the product would be for me to be able to get the joke and I swear David Carradine says shit at one point but I can't find anything on the internet to back that up.
  16. In The Death Of Colonel Sanders, Denny and Carradine each have a bucket of chicken and share their favorite memories of eating the fried food following the death of KFC's founder. They are eventually joined by Eddie Murphy who joins in on the mourning of Sanders.
  17. This was followed by a short film called The Dancing Man where a guy comes home in the AM and appears to have been out all night. He lays down for literally one minute before his radio alarm clock start to play Shake Your Grove Thing which gets him out of the bed dancing before heading to the kitchen to start his day. This is where we find out that the dancing is almost a curse and he can't stop boogying at the second he hears a beat.
  18. We then go to Caine from Kung-Fu and Yvonne who are both at the welfare department. Apparently, Reagan has just passed or was talking about passing a program to force extreme cases of welfare recipients into the workforce. In the sketch, the program was called Operation Black Book where they give these extreme cases black books filled with clients names as a way to force them into prostitution, which Caine from Kung-Fu takes this news much better than Yvonne Hudson.
  19. We then go back to the Broadway stage where Linda Ronstadt and the cast of The Pirates Of Penzance sing several Christmas songs.
  20. Finally, David Carradine closes the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

This was one of those episodes that was just average based on its individual parts but for some reason, as a whole, there was a fun energy to this episode that puts it up there as one of my favorites, with my favorite moments being...

First, I loved the sketch where Eddie Murphy tries to push pimp clothing on Caine from Kung-Fu. For one, it was a fun sketch on its own but there was also one subtle moment where Eddie delivers a line that referenced Kung-Fu that causes Carradine to just ever so slightly, shake his head and roll his eye as if it were an automatic response that he can no longer control. The audience notices this as well as it leads to a pretty big burst of laughter. Next, seeing Eddie Murphy as Black Bruce Lee was pretty funny. Finally, I was a fan of the sketch where the rich white folks go to Harlem to score heroin only to get busted by an undercover Eddie Murphy who is trying to get junkies out of the neighborhood. This is the first sketch that's dealt with discrimination where the actual victims of discrimination don't get hit with tons shrapnel as they try to make their point.

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.