SNL: S21E17... HOST: STEVE FORBES... DATE: APRIL 13, 1996

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or...

Not A bad Visit From

The Flat Tax Pushing Ex-Presidential Candidate

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I have to admit that I really wasn’t looking forward this viewing. I think I’m on the last days of a week-long cold and/or flu and though I’m feeling much better, my head is still a bit cloudy from all of the meds as well as the actual sickness. I was lucky to have the last handful of episodes feature excellent hosts who more than lived up to their expectations, so I thought for sure that this had to be the end of my lucky spree.

I mean, why would I expect much comedy from a millionaire businessman turned politician? Most hosts who come from these two comedy opposing world, are usually horrible actors but most can be good at making jokes about themselves in an effort to show that they hear their criticisms. As for their performances, they’re consistently stiff and blatantly reading the lines.

These episodes episode can be fun but most of the weight is placed on the cast and even though a fully trust this collection of Not Ready For Prime Time Players, it’s still their first year and there have been too many good shows in a row to not worry about a bad one. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case tonight.

Though Forbes acting was as stiff as I explained, the sketches were funny enough to where his involvement didn’t really matter. To help, this was also an episode with seventeen segments with only one set aside for the band's performance (since they were banned from the show after their first song), which meant that we were in and out of routines before they could drag on and start to feel old.

This shorter sketch format was probably the biggest saving grace of them all because I could see this episode being a complete mess if I had to watch Forbes’ non-acting acting style in a sketch that felt like it was dragging on. I keep hoping that the show will eventually just settle on a shorter sketch format but every time they seem to come close, they drop the count back down to twelve.

Yeah, I didn’t find this show to be more fun than I expected, but I still don’t have all that much more to say about it. With that, I’m going to shift my gears and move on to share what I saw, as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with Will Ferrell as Ted Kaczynski for a sketch called Unabomber Class Reunion where the anti-technology terrorist got a chance to attend his college reunion to connect with old friends while being guided by guards while shackled. With this being the opening sketch, reunion jokes about what Ted’s been up to eventually led to the announce of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Steve Forbes then officially opened the show with a quick monolog about his run for presidency and the upcoming tax season before taking on questions from the “audience” with the hopes that they would mainly focus on his Flat Tax plan only every question asker was more interested in the great things he could/should do with his extreme wealth.
  3. This was followed by another repeat of the Grayson Moorhead Securities sketch that has already aired twice this season where the CEO of an investment firm shares that the secret to success is to keep a list of their clients and their investments.
  4. Chris Kattan then returned as his mumble-mouth character for a sketch called Drill Sergeant Suel Forrester where he brings his loyal cadets to tears because they just can’t understand the orders that are being barked at them and keep getting in trouble for not following their commands when they are fully willing to.
  5. This was followed by a parody of Nightline where Ted Koppel interviewed a smug Steve Forbes, “Bob Dole,” and “Pat Buchanan about a slanderous tell-all book about the Republican candidates that he competed against while he was running for president. Though this book was supposed to be an anonymous piece of fiction it was clearly written by Forbes and was obviously based on actual events where the names were barely changed at all. The slight name changes are to credit for the classic “Teve Torbe” reference.
  6. Rita Delvecchio then returned for another installment where she continued to collect the neighborhood kid’s toys that landed on her porch and claiming, “I keep it now,” this time while talking to Steve Forbes as a college recruiter about a potential scholarship for her oldest boy. The big difference this time is that it takes place indoors but most of the interactions still involved a lot of porch activity.
  7. Forbes On Forbes was a sketch were Mark McKinney confronts Forbes as Forbes to complain that him dropping out of the presidential race is bad news for McKinney’s SNL career since it’s one of his staple impressions.
  8. This was followed by the second half of the Grayson Moorhead Securities sketch that has already played twice this season which was the second installment of the ad about “The List.”
  9. Once again, Norm MacDonald gave us the news. This week, Fred Wolf dropped in for his first speaking role to comment on how the new form of personalized charity letters with your name pasted throughout the document almost makes it as hard not to give in and help the same way that it’s hard to deny helping a someone in need when they ask in person.  
  10. Rage Against The Machine then took to the stage to perform Bulls On Parade with two upside-down flags hanging on their amps in protest of the show’s host which got the band banned from their second performance.
  11. Roofers was a sketch with Colin Quinn, Mark McKinney, and Steve Forbes all playing roofers who were slacking off while on the job. The main joke was a Mullet clad Steve Forbes trying to act like a common man who knows what it’s like to be poor.
  12. Seattle Today was a morning show sketch where Norm MacDonald’s Stan Hooper character turned out to be the artist responsible for the infamous Unabomber sketch and admitted to his artistic shortcomings when compared against the feral looking man who was caught.
  13. Fuzzy Memories then returned for another installment where Jack Handey reminisced about the time when he splashed a kid with a puddle and then splashed him again just to be a jerk, all of the while, as he told this story, he led us to believe that the kid was actually him and not the jerk of a driver that turned out to be the case.
  14. Gerald “T-Bone” Tibbins returned to the show this time as an untrustworthy prankster of a barber student who’s trying to cut hair with Steve Forbes as his victim.
  15. Fast Talk was an old black and white sketch that made fun of how fast people talked back in the era of film.
  16. Florida Bugs was a sketch that made fun of how big the bugs in Florida are by having Jim Breuer play a gigantic bug who yells at Steve Forbes for hitting his brother bug who was played by Chris Katan.
  17. Finally, Steve Forbes closed the night by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Though this was a pretty fun show, I feel most of the credit goes to the cast for creating moments like these three that make up my list of favorites. First, I loved The Unabomber Illustrator sketch because partially I liked how the sketch took place in my ex-second hometown of Seattle but mainly because it cracked me up how Norm explained why his drawing was so far off from looking like the real Ted. Next, I really liked the opening sketch with The Unabomber Class Reunion which is two Unabomber likes in a row which might be due to the fact that I just listened to an interesting Unabomber podcast. Finally, I was a fan of Drill Sergeant Suel Forrester because as I said before I like this Chris Kattan character and the brand of confusion that he brings to every one of his scenes.

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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.