The Slump Continues

And Again The Host Is Not To Blame


When this season first started, I was really excited about the potential fun to come because I vividly remember loving both Billy Crystal and Martin Short at the time these episodes originally aired. Now, I can barely stand Martin Short and mainly think of Billy Crystal for his dramatic work so the nostalgic entertainment that I was expecting to be ignited has barely created a flame.

This low flame excitement really sucks because this season seems to be catered to these two forces to the point where the show almost treats them better than the host to where every week seems to be the Billy and Martin Show with Christopher Guest as their straight man and it seems that they burnt through all of their best stuff early in the year and are now trying to recapture the energy by creating more characters that are exactly the same but different.

With Martin Short, he's just got himself as a character, Ed Grimley, and variations of some kind of slow adult. Though I feel his characters can get repetitive, I still sense Short's early career charm before he became a Jerry Lewis-like comedy expert who when not being serious, just flails around like he's insane.

With Billy Crystal, it's a bit more disturbing. As I pointed out in past reviews, this is by far the least diverse season that I've seen so far which makes watching Billy Crystal fill in the gaps, by playing every ethnicity and gender needed, to be cringe-worthy at best more often than I like, especially watching this through modern eye.

 Either way, the fact that this season seems to be written to highlight their two big performers may have led the well to run dry much quicker than it should have if they were writing for the entire team and rather than switch gears they kept chugging along putting us in this slump that we are currently in.

At least that's what I think.

And now that this is out of my system, it's time to move on and share what I saw as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. The week's show starts with coverage of Reagan's second Inauguration Day, where they added a fake voice over as if Nancy Reagan was the person who as actually feeding Ronnie the words he was saying while being sworn in, with no, "Live from New York..."

  2. Roy Schneider then officially opened the show with a monolog about being a fan of the show and not being able to use the opening line, "It's great to be back in New York," because he currently lives there. Then goes on to share the difference between living and New York and living in LA when he makes it his residence for work.

  3. Ricky and Phil then made their debut as they prepare for the Super Bowl party they are hosting in their apartment. Ricky's like a deep voiced Squiggy and Phil seems like a normal guy and the two just make fun of each other for rooting for the opposite team while also making fun of every item Phil brought home from the store in a rambling sketch that doesn't really go anywhere and is only kind of fun.

  4. We then met two ticket scalpers with Super Bowl XIX tickets for sale. One scalper sells his tickets right away leaving Roy Schneider who won't budge from his five million dollar asking price which enrages anyone who tries to buy them as they offer insane counter offers of their own. We then went back to the scalper's house where he feels like a letdown for turning down a two million dollar offer because he's a man of his word. The wife still thinks he's a hero but he gets struck dead by lightning from God.

  5. Steven Wright then returned to the show for another segment where he got to do one of his stand-up routines.

  6. This was followed by a repeat of the Foldgers Crystals where an ICU patient's blood is replaced with instant coffee.

  7. In Praise of Women was a talk show sketch hosted by "Julio Iglesias" who interviews three women with very distinguished careers and instead of admiring their impressive work, he's more interested in admiring their looks which doesn't go over well.

  8. Once again, Christopher Guest hosts the news and I'm glad that they seemed to finally settle on someone permanent. This week "Ann Landers" got a segment where she gives out some of her advice about sex, "Paul Harvey" also dropped by for another round of his bizarrely paced telling of news about U.S. and Russia's attempt to come to a peace agreement while sneaking in product placement plugs, Pamela Stephenson returned as her BBC reporter character to talk about the Super Bowl but between the crazy accent and horrible fake teeth you can barely make out what she says, and Jim Belushi got a segment to discuss horrible manners at movie theaters but he seems like the biggest monster of them all.

  9. Billy Crystal then played female lounge singer Penny Lane who entertains a small bar's clientele with rambling banter and the occasional piano song. It turns out that he's not actually playing a female performer but is actually playing a man in drag but it doesn't really add to the bit but that might just be due to the fact that drag is accepted more through modern eyes.

  10. Roy Schneider and Martin Short then teamed up for a Good Cop, Bad Cop where they interrogate Jim Belushi who is being an absolute jerk, only Martin Short's goofy smiling character is the one chosen as the bad cop, who at first mistakenly heard sad cop when splitting up the roles. They try it again and this second time Short mistakes the meaning of bad by pretending to be inept. Schneider then shows him how it's done by acting as both the good and bad cop character and his craziness actually works.

  11. Billy Ocean then took to the stage to perform Caribbean Queen.

  12. When then went to a Mental Hospital where Mary Gross's Russian character turned herself in for thinking she's crazy and Julia Louis-Dreyfus's character convinces her that she's actually okay. The weirdest thing about this sketch is these characters that I thought were Russian may actually be Spanish due to their names but their accents are all over the place.

  13. Billy Ocean then returned to the stage to perform Loverboy.

  14. Finally, Roy Schneider closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

I wouldn't say this was a horrible episode but I'm still considering it part of the second half slump with these three stand out moments. First, I loved the Good Cop, Bad Cop sketch because there is nothing I love more than confusion based comedy and this bit really pulled it off. Next, I really liked Roy Schneider as the ticket scalper who wouldn't budge from his five million dollars asking price for tickets to the Super Bowl because I also like stubbornness in comedy and this bit pulled that off. Finally, I was a fan of Steven Wright's stand-up routine because I'm just a fan of all of his work and no other sketch really spoke to me.  


Watch More From Roy Schneider:

Hear More From Billy Ocean:


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.