SNL: S21E08... HOST: DAVID ALAN GRIER... DATE: DECEMBER 9, 1995

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DAG Done Good On A Saturday Night

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I’m going to start this off by sharing that I am a huge fan of David Alan Grier and find him to be one of these funny people who can get me to laugh be just looking at him. Of course, I first discovered him through In Living Color where he played a handful of my favorite characters, but it wasn’t until I started to hear him on Loveline with Adam Carolla and Dr. Drew that I became a true fan of DAG as a man being himself.

The more that I learned about his personality and non-acting sense of humor through these radio visits, the more I liked his work in general. Where I used to just see him as a funny person in general, I now see DAG as a person who is just as obsessed with entertaining himself as he is with entertaining other. Since I relate to this sense of self-entertainment, I often feel that I can see inside joke building in his head and though I don’t know the actual joke, the added internal energy can be enough to create humor that might not even be there.

If you can’t tell by this build-up, I had super high expectations for this episode from the moment I saw DAG in the host line-up. I think my expectation might have been too high, especially since I knew his professional persona at this time was way more tame than what I loved to hear on the radio. My timing might be off, but I remember that it wasn’t until his The Book Of David: The Cult Figure’s Manifesto comedy special that Grier fully let his freak flag fly no matter the venue or role.

I have to say; I was a little let down that this was the first episode of the season to use the fewer but longer sketch format that I despise. Also, part of me was also hoping that DAG would’ve followed the Damon Wayans playbook by revising some of the above-mentioned favorite In Living Color characters to fit into the SNL world.

These were just minor issues that I wouldn’t even bring up if I wasn’t expecting so much because, otherwise, this was a really fun show. Even though Grier had yet to tap into the over-the-top lunatic persona that I have since grown to love, that brand of energy was still there enough to where I enjoyed his performance on multiple levels as I imagined what might be going on in his head.

As usual, with these high expectation episodes, the fact that I share my expectations that I didn’t feel were met doesn’t mean that this is a negative review. I’m just always trying to share my overall experience and now that I’ve gotten that over with, it’s now time to move on and share what I saw, as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with a parody of Nightline where once again Darrell Hammond portrayed Ted Koppel to cover Michael Jackson’s recent back injury that took him off of his tour. In the sketch, Koppel took too much pleasure out of calling the pop superstar Jacko which was a new nickname that was going around at the time. Koppel also took much pleasure out of using the term backo when referring to his injury as he built to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. David Alan Grier then officially opened the show with a more of a stand-up routine than a monolog where he joked about the East Coast energy that’s far more aggressive than what he’s grown used to while living on the West Coast. He then went on to joke about how his old East Coast friends react to him whenever he comes back for a visit. He finished his set with a couple of jokes about his love of boxing.
  3. The Rocky Roads a motivational troop who provided uplifting performances for school assemblies. The members of the troop looked like they might have inspired The Wiggles. The name, The Rocky Roads, came from the two black members being the chocolate and the two white members making up the marshmallows. Their focus was on race relations with examples that got a little inappropriate at times even though they always kept up their cheerful, kid-friendly delivery.
  4. We then got a parody of The Today Show where we got to see David Alan Grier as Bryant Gumbel who would instantly start acting like a slang-speaking thug whenever the show would go to commercial which went against his booshie on-air persona.
  5. Three Wise Men was a sketch that took us back to biblical days with David Alan Grier as the only of the three wise men to forget to bring the baby Jesus a gift. Thinking quick, he ended up getting a bunch of impulse products from an ancient convenience store. It turned out that since Jesus was a baby, he personally thought the last minute gifts where much more fun than the frankincense and gold.
  6. Once again, Norm MacDonald gave us the news. This week, Darrell Hammond dropped in as Bill Clinton to give a big thumbs up to the writers of the movie The American President for creating a plot line where the first lady is dead, allowing Michael Douglas as president to openly pursue her replacement. Colin Quinn also stopped by as Lenny The Lion to discuss his struggles as the king of the animal kingdom, while treating his time in zoos the same way someone would talk about prison.
  7. Silverchair then took to the stage to perform Tomorrow.
  8. Wake Up And Smile was a morning talk show sketch where Will Ferrell, Nancy Walls, and David Alan Grier celebrated their twentieth year with the show only to have things devolve into a Lord Of The Flies-like scenario after the teleprompter gives out.
  9. Spade In America then returned for another installment where David Spade gave a year-in-review which was pretty much an extended version of his Hollywood Minute which is what I was expecting all of these Spade In America segments to be since I forgot about its actual structure.
  10. Black People a sketch that profiled David Alan Grier as, black musician, Charles Honeydew Wilkins who was famous for being the one black performer in an otherwise all-white jazz orchestra back in the black and white days of film. Not only was he the only black member of the group but he openly denounced his own race through the lyrics of his Louis Armstrong parody tune making him the first black performer to be lynched by his own race.
  11. Silverchair then returned to the stage to perform Pure Massacre.
  12. It then magically became 4:53 in the A.M which meant it was time for Perspectives where host Lionel Osbourne welcomed David Alan Grier as Dr, Emory Coleman who host almost the exact same show on a competing channel. The two went on to carry out a polite conversation that went absolutely nowhere at all since both men got their gigs from their non-threatening black point of view. We even saw a clip from Dr. Coleman’s show where Lionel Osbourne was his guest.
  13. Finally, David Alan Grier closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Though my high expectations weren’t totally met, the visit from DAG was nowhere near a failure thanks to sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments of the night. First, I loved the Wake Up And Smile sketch because I love anything that parodies The Lord Of The Flies. Next, I really liked The Three Wise Men sketch, because it made me laugh how the baby Jesus ended up with frankincense, gold, and a bunch of garbage from an ancient twenty-four-hour convenience store. Finally, I was a fan of this week’s Perspectives because it was fun to watch DAG and Tim Meadows interact as, basically, the same character.

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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.