SNL: S17E08... HOST: HAMMER... DATE: DECEMBER 7, 1991

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or...

Too Legit To Host

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This episode is another one where I could almost remember the entire night based on the sketch titles alone. Even though I'd never say that I was a huge fan of Hammer, M.C. or not, I would say that I was a huge fan of rap music as a genre in general, especially at this time. Unlike others who hated his work for being too mainstream, I didn't mind hearing a Hammer song on the radio or seeing one of his videos on MTV because it helped the genre to grow.

Keep in mind, I was raised in a pretty rough neighborhood, especially while I was in junior high when Hammer hit the scene. This led me to lean towards gangster rap while seeing this dance-based hip-hop to be a bit of a joke. That said, this episode aired while I was in high school where thanks to a combination of dropping the M.C., popcorn chicken commercials and the rapping of Addams Family theme songs turned Hammer into a bit of a novelty act that I didn't mind to watch for a laugh thanks to his dancer with the arrow hair.

Though I'd say that this turned out to be a pretty fun viewing of the show, I didn't really see all that much that justified why it was so memorable to me. I think a big part of it has to do with the fact that anything rap stood out to me, especially when considering that I'm now seventeen seasons into the show and there has only been a handful of rap performances across all three hundred and sixteen of the episode that I've seen.

Then again, now that rap is so omnipresent, I forget how we were so excited to take what we could get which is probably the true reason this episode was so memorable to me while only dancing around the nostalgic feelings that would need to be triggered to send this show any higher on my favorites list than just somewhat above the middle.

With that, it's now time to move on from sharing my thoughts to start sharing what I actually saw, as I give you... 

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with A Message From The President Of The United States where Dana Carvey as Bush Sr. attempts to reassure Americans that the economy is just fine going into Christmas. He shares this information in a deceptive tone as he also pushes the citizens that he rules to run out and spend all their money in an effort to improve the economy even more while undermining any risks. He then goes on to pitch a bunch of cheesy Christmas presents before building to the announcement of, "Live from New York..." 
  2. Hammer then officially opened the show with a monolog about how excited he is to host then goes on to pitch his latest album as well as his involvement in the Addams Family movie. He does all this while talking in the third person about himself which is a little confusing because it's unclear if this is a joke or the way he actually talks. After a while, Chris Rock joined the scene as Michael Jackson and starts to sing one of his popular songs only to be cut off by Hammer before he headed over to the music stage to perform Too Legit To Quit. 
  3. We then went to a group therapy session for people who suffer from Bad Haircuts. Where most of the others in the group are past the denial stage and open to the idea of getting help, Hammer played a new member and won't stop arguing that his hair is actually dope while claiming he's just there to support his wife played by Ellen Cleghorne whose hair is the same color orange as a 1970s rug.
  4. Pearl Harbor Headline was a sketch that took place the day after Pearl Harbor where we are in the writing room for a small market newspaper as a group of journalist pitch their front page story ideas. Even though Phil Hartman thinks that the Japanese attack is the obvious choice everyone else in the room thinks that the top story should be a lot more local. The fact that all the other writers were so calm as they casually pitched their mundane local ideas made Hartman panic even more as he seemed to be the only one in the room who saw this as a sign that we were about to join the World War which ultimately drove him crazy.
  5. Hammer then switch to musical guest mode and returned to the stage to perform Addams Groove. 
  6. Once again, Kevin Nealon gave us the news. This week, Ellen Cleghorne's Queen Shenequa character dropped in once again, this time to discuss the traditions of Kwanzaa while cracking pop culture jokes in the process.
  7. Tales From The Barbecue returned for another installment where Tim Meadows is out barbequing during the winter which led him to tell the tale of him joining Admiral Byrd as his expedition chef during the exploration of the North Pole which led to a reenactment. In this reenactment, Chris Rock played a young Meadows who managed to save Santa Clause with his barbecuing skills and then went on to kill and cook Santa's lesser-known flying cow.  
  8. Johnny Letter was a Western sketch with Mike Myers playing the titular role as the small town's letter writer. While hanging out at the bar Chris Farley played someone new to town who didn't know better than to mess around with this letter writing legend. After a quick confrontation that ended with Johnny Letter rushing out of the bar, Farley quickly learned the power of the letter writing man when he returned to his camp to find a very angry boss who just finished reading Johnny's note and forced Farley to apologize.
  9. We then got a repeat of the Deep Thoughts By Jack Handey sketch from last season where Jack shared the Disneyland prank that he pulled on his nephew.
  10. Remembrances Of Love With Wilt Chamberlain was a sketch that made fun of Wilt Chamberlain's claim to have slept with over ten thousand women then went on to share the story of woman #1399 who he hooked up with over a room service meal while #1398 was still in the bathroom. The best part of this sketch is Hammer's super long fake legs and the fact that he as Wilt makes these quick encounters sound memorable and romantic.
  11. This was followed by a new Deep Thoughts By Jack Handey where Jack explains that it takes a big man to cry and a bigger man to laugh at said crying man.
  12. Hammer switched back to musical guest mode once again, this time to perform This Is The Way We Roll.
  13. We then went to the offices of Dick Clark Productions where David Spade introduced his receptionist/assistant character who is way too passive aggressive with the gatekeeper aspect of his job as he denies everyone access to his bosses office no matter how urgent the situation may be. 
  14. Finally, Hammer closed the show by thanking the audience and saying her goodnights.

Once again, we have another killer combo of a solid episode within a solid season with the help of sketches like these three of my favorite moments of the night. First, I loved the Pearl Harbor Headline sketch especially with the current state of our media since these "journalist" who don't see the attack on Pearl Harbor to be front page worthy reminded me of the "journalism" we know today. Next, I really like this week's Tales From The Barbecue because I've grown to love this combination of characters and also love learning about Santa's flying cow. Finally, I was a fan of the Bad Haircuts Support Group sketch because I found it funny that everyone else wore wigs while they made fun of Hammer's actual hair.

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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.