The Unofficial Original Cast Ambassador
I'm pretty sure I pointed this out the first time that Howard Hesseman hosted the show, but between WKRP and Head Of The Class, I was childhood fan of his work. Though I never found him all that hilarious on his own, I always saw his as having a place in comedy in a way that I fully see why he fit so well in the role of a teacher.
Hesseman's humor isn't all that broad or over the top which might be why this episode felt so grounded in average. That said, the average that I'm talking about is a positive average because I don't have to include "For this season," since it felt slightly above average when compared to everything that I've seen so far.
Where season seven seemed to be filled with either home runs or strikeouts, this season already seems to have more balance where the sketches may be hits without going over the wall, landing players on multiple bases and you can almost always count on at least one homer to bring them all in. Unfortunately, this episode was one where everyone seemed to be thrown out at third.
That said, a show full of third base sketches is not a bad thing at all. The only real issues that I had with this episode was how Howard Hesseman claimed to be the first crossover host who has worked with the original cast as well as this current cast of Not Ready For Prime Time Players. This just isn't true, especially since he made it sound like he wasn’t including the last two season and how everyone else was scared.
Technically, I wouldn't even consider Hesseman to be a host who has experience with the original cast because his first hosting duty took place in season five when a bulk of the big names were gone. He also brings up Belushi a lot, and though the two may have crossed paths in public, they have zero connection when it comes to working together on SNL.
As far as being the first crossover host goes, both Elliot Gould and Karen Black had already hosted with two casts when they appeared in season six. Maybe he does not include that group just like most other SNL fan, but even then, Blondie technically worked with both casts only the first time she was strictly the musical guest.
Either way, he's also off with his claim because both Chevy Chase and Bill Murray have worked with every iteration of the cast as both host and cast member. I know this claim was a build up to a joke, but it started me out on a sour note and may be why I just saw this viewing as average because it left me with facts to check in my mind.
Oh well, average or above average this was still a pretty fun show, and now that I'm done sharing how I came to this conclusion, it's now time to share what I saw as I give you...
The Wicker Breakdown:
This week's show starts backstage with random interesting characters wandering around while Robin Duke informs us that the news is running late due to election coverage which is also leading them to use two smaller studios on separate floors instead of the one large studio that they are used to. She also lets us know that the host is running late as she checks in with the rest of the cast. We eventually learn the Howard Hesseman is running late because he's drunk as he shows up wasted on the back of a Harley and he brings back, "Live from New York..."!!!
Howard Hesseman then officially opens the show by continuing to play drunk. He then straightens up to do his monolog about his excitement to be invited back to the show. He also shared how he's the first crossover host between the original cast and this group of Not Ready For Prime Time Players and how everyone is calling him a sellout whore for not being loyal to the original cast. He goes on to defend trying new things especially when it comes to comedy while at the same time calling out this new cast and crew to stop being too friendly and polite and step up to play a more edgy game in a Belushi-like rant.
We then go to the home of the man who designed the DeLorean who is now selling cocaine to make up for his failure of a car line. I don't know if he was part of a real scandal similar to this, but the audience seems to be entertained by this otherwise boring sketch, that is unless these people were just at a time and age where one might get excited just by the reference of cocaine?
This is followed by a parody of Good Morning America. I don't remember the collection of GMA hosts from that time, and since they were mainly making fun of their personalities, I didn't really get the references, and the mocking wasn't funny enough on its own.
Men At Work then hit the stage to perform Who Can It Be Now.
Next, we go to the Caribbean where Sweetchuck and Mary Gross are on vacation and seemed to have stumbled into a not so friendly local bar. Eddie Murphy asks for their passports then accuses Sweetchuck of being The Iguana as it turns out this nerd had a serious history with a local drug lord and that he's living a double life where he is actually a powerful badass.
Once again, Brad Hall gives us the news. This week, the first news story answers my question about the DeLorean sketch. Sweetchuck gets a segment where he bashes The New York Post. Julia Louis-Dreyfus gets a segment where she announces a contest where they ask the viewers to solve the issues in the Middle East in exchange for a chance to win a prize, and Piscopo gives us the sports.
We then go to a funeral where the body in the casket is butt naked which shocks everyone that views the body in hilarious ways but then never fully explain why he made the decision to be buried naked in the first place.
Bill Irwin then takes to the stage for a prop comedy routine where he dances like a weirdo for half of it, then disappears into a box.
Uncle Teddy's Little Theatre is a kid's show hosted by Piscopo as the janitor who throws to a story called Grandpa's Watch about a verbally abusive family who gets a pleasant moment alone with his grandfather who seems like he's going to hand him down a watch. It seems like this grandfather is the nice guy of the bunch until he tries to talk the kid into suicide to the point where he gives him a gun which the kid uses to rob the grandpa of his watch and whatever money was on him.
Men At Work then return to the stage to perform Down Under.
Finally, Howard Hesseman closes the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.
This was a pretty consistent episode so much so that it was hard to pick my favorite moments but here's what I managed to come up with. First, I loved the sketch of the guy who wanted to be buried naked especially after they dismissed any rationale for it like he was a nudist or some sort of spiritual guy. No, his choice seemed purely to make everyone at his funeral squirm which I find rather amusing. Next, I really liked the sketch where the guy came out of the closet by announcing that he was straight because as a "Never been married" forty-year-old loser I'm beginning to feel the need to do this as well. Finally, I was a fan of The Amazing Ronco Answer Book ad because I'm always entertained by the asinine circumstances that these crazy commercials come up with when trying to share their examples.