SNL: S17E09... HOST: STEVE MARTIN... DATE: DECEMBER 14, 1991

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or...

A No Phone-In Show, As Promised

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I wouldn't be surprised if I've mentioned this in every review that I've written about a Steve Martin appearance but one of the biggest surprised to come from this challenge is how underwhelmed I was with him earlier appearances. I was endlessly shocked to find that I was annoyed by even the most classic sketches that he appeared in.

This was mainly due to the fact that I'm not a huge fan of the specific brand of physical comedy that the legendary host resorted to back in his younger years. I had the same issue with Robin Williams and it's also why Jim Carrey has always been on the fence with me. Where I like the content of these crazy men, there's just something about their approach to high energy humor that I find too draining for me. 

Don't get me wrong, I loved it when I was a kid but then as I grew older I think this approach to comedy tapped into that psychological effect of what you hate in others is what you hate in yourself and these performances seemed to trigger douche chills from memories of where I tried way too hard to get a laugh while acting like a spaz.

I think what makes this more confusing when it comes to Steve Martin stems from the fact that I was introduced to his work after he started to calm as a spoken performer to where I felt that his wild side felt like it was fulfilling a character as opposed to Williams and Carrey who seemed twice as nuts while they were being themselves.

Granted, Steve Martin started to calm in the early eighties and I've really enjoyed his last several visits to the show but tonight's show might be the first time that I felt he was being himself and not the character of the host of the show which made this episode super fun to watch.

Of course, I don't know the real Steve Martin so the himself that I'm referencing is the himself that's known to me which made me interested in revisiting my history with his history with the show and now, I can't wait for his future appearance. Until then, it's now time to shift gears and move on to share what I saw, as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with Steve Martin and the cast performing a song and dance called Not Gonna Phone It In Tonight where Martin enthusiastically promises to put give it his all like he did with the original cast on instead of phoning it in like he claims to have in the past. This gets the rest of the cast to join in and promise to put in a real effort as well. This being the opening performance, the crescendo of the song led to the announcement of, "Live from New York..."
  2. Steve Martin then officially opened the show with a monolog about this being the holiday episode pointing out that there are more holidays being celebrated than just Christmas. He then goes on to explain that he is excited to work with this cast again, as well as meet the new member even though he's way off at guessing their names. This sends him down a bit of a stand-up routine about being famous and all of the crazy demands.
  3. We then got a repeat of the fake Schmitt's Gay Beer commercial from earlier in the season where Chris Farley and Adam Sander discover they are house sitting a mansion with a pool full of magical gays.
  4. Suckerpunch was a game show sketch with Steve Martin as the host who would randomly sucker punch the contestants in the middle of asking a question. Every once in a while there'd seem to be an actual structure to the game only to find out there's not, thanks to another surprise attack from the host.
  5. The Doormen then returned for another round of Kevin Nealon and Rob Schneider being as pleasant as punch to the tenants only to give in to self-hate and talk trash about themselves behind said tenants backs, sort of how like Tom Hanks and Jon Lovitz used to do in their Girl Watcher A Go-Go sketch from the past only more pleasant in their brand of self-hate.
  6. We then got a Deep Thoughts By Jack Handey where Jack shared a story of stepping on a snail which led him to realize how close they were to being the same only his shell was made up of tin foil.
  7. Steve Martin then introduced Chris Farley and Adam Sandler as The Energy Brothers who were a comedy team with no established routine but instead entertained the crowd with their high energy as they destroyed a table that set up for a fancy holiday dinner. 
  8. James Taylor then took to the stage to perform Stop Thinkin' About That. 
  9. Once again, Kevin Nealon gave us the news. This week, Adam Sandler dropped in as the travel correspondent to talk about his recent trip to Disney World only to once again spend more time discussing his hotel room while barely mentioning the featured destination of the week. 
  10. Theatre Stories is a British talk show sketch where Mike Myers plays an old Brit who interviews a collection of aging actors. I'm not sure if the two British guests are based on real people but this is the sketch where Dana Carvey debuted his classic impersonation of Mickey Rooney who still thinks he's the number one star in the world. Though the group was supposed to talk shop about acting only they're all so senile that they struggle to track the conversation at hand.
  11. This was followed by a parody of Live With Regis And Kathie Lee where Kathie Lee was out on vacation, leaving Regis to be his crazy self with his wife stepping in as the cohosts. The sketch started by making fun of a few of the shows standard segment before building to an interview with Steve Martin as himself but can't fit in a single word thanks to Regis's super high energy.
  12. We then got another Deep Thoughts By Jack Handey where Jack laments that fact that families are sometimes ripped apart by wild dogs.
  13. James Taylor then returned to the stage to perform Shed A Little Light. 
  14. Grandma Pugga Loves Cats was a sketch where Chris Farley brought his new girlfriend over to hand out with his cat-lady of a grandma who was played by Steve Martin. Grandma Pugga's apartment is so filled with cats that there is cat hair all over the place which is bad enough on its own but got super disgusting when Pugga's starts offering food like waffles with syrup, candy apples, and other sticky dishing where the cat's fur can easily cling to.
  15. This was followed by yet another installment of Deep Thoughts By Jack Handey where Jack ponders on how the face of a child can say it all, especially when it comes to their mouths.
  16. Steve's Coward-Slapping Spree was a sketch that took place backstage where Steve Martin gets a little power happy due to the fact that he's dressed like a military captain and marched down the hall slapping every person in his path across the face while giving them brutally honest feedback.
  17. The Dark Side With Nat X also returned for another segment where our host of the only fifteen-minute talk show on television read some viewer mail questioning his favorite reindeer which turned out to be Rudolph being that he was the only reindeer to be treated unfairly by the rest. After that Nat X interviews Michael Jackson but this had to be via satellite due to the fact that Chris Rock was playing both parts. Other than the duel character aspect the interview was nothing more than your tradition Michael Jackson jokes from that time.
  18. James Taylor then returned to the stage once again, this time to perform the song Sweet Baby James. 
  19. Being that Jon Lovitz is gone from the show Chris Farley took his place as Tonto, only to portray himself as himself in Chris Farley, Tarzan, And Frankenstein Sing Feliz Navidad.
  20. Finally, Steve Martin closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

I'm so glad to finally be solidly on the same page as Steve Martin in his style of hosting the show where I'm now excited about his future appearances, in hopes that he'll be responsible for new content that's at least as good as these three favorite moments of the night. First, I loved the opening Not Gonna Phone It In Tonight song because of how it was the polar opposite of my pet peeve show start where the host shares their fears that the show will suck which often turns out to be true. Next, I really liked the Theatre Stories because Dana Carvey's impersonation of Mickey Rooney is one of my favorite characters "in the world." Finally, I was a fan of Tarzan, Chris Farley, and Frankenstein Singing Feliz Navidad because I loved this segment back when it was Tarzan, Tonto, and Frankenstein so it cracked me up how they simply threw in Farley as himself since there was no Jon Lovitz to play Tonto.

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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.