Sunday, March 14, 2010

Zach Galifianakis Belated Review

Had this in my drafts from last week & completely forgot to publish it! Oops! Better late than never though, I guess!

Cold Opening: Okay, I have a confession to make. I just fast-forwarded this one. I'm sorry. When I watched ths show, I just was not in the mood for a mildly amusing take on Obama, and I was way too excited for Zach to sit through it. I'm sorry, comedy Gods.

Monologue: In what was essentially an excerpt from Zach's stand-up, Galifianakis recited a bunch of jokes while accompanying himself on the piano. I'd heard some of the bits before, but it worked so well for a monologue. Favourite joke? "I've been in Canada, supporting Miles Davis. Sorry, Kilometres Davis." Oh, and also? "Hoobastank is here!" Ha! Best monologue of the season! (Yeah, even better than Joseph Gordon-Levitt doing Make 'Em Laugh).

The Vogelchecks: It's just not one of those sketches that I like as a recurring sketch. It worked well once, twice at a push, but three times? Really? Every installment seems dead-set on out-grossing itself, and in this installment we have the pleasure of witnessing Bill Hader make out with a dog, and Fred Armisen make out with a dead person. And I don't know about you guys, but I can't laugh when I'm gagging. This probably makes me sound really prudish, but it's just not my style.

Bidet: So this was a pretty odd concept, though pretty Galifianakis-y. It centred around a couple (Wiig and Galifianakis) asking a hotel employee (Samberg) a series of odd questions about the bidet that suggested that they were intending on doing something a little untoward with the bidet. I laughed a number of times, but unfortunately the sketch didn't really go anywhere. Nice concept that was a little poor in terms of execution.
Zach Drops By The Set- Such a simple idea that worked exceedingly well due to the awesome execution. It basically involved Zach Galifianakis lurking in the background of various NBC shows, including Nightly News, 30 Rock and Law & Order. Loved the Law & Order bit best ("Freeze!") but also the ending which featured Zach as a child (a child with a beard) in the audience of an old SNL show hosted by Robin Williams.

The Today Show's Fourth Hour: - People complain about this, but it's not until you watch the actual fourth hour of The Today Show that you can appreciate how dead-on Kristen Wiig and Jenny Slate are (and Michaela Watkins was) in their impressions of Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb. Personally I love these sketches, and I think they work really well each time. I loved the inclusion of Abby Elliott as an in-studio Facebook expert, and the appearance from Zach Galifianakis (a reference to Zach Drops By The Set) worked well too. Loved Kathie Lee getting tasered and it having zero effect on her.

Weekend Update: Nice installment of WU. Not the best, but a definite improvement on the WU from Jennifer Lopez' show last week. In regards to the guest stars, I loved Will Forte's song on Women's History. In general, I just love Will Forte singing, but this was beyond hilarious. Kenan Thompson as Mo'Nique on the other hand - oi. He was getting at something alright, but it just didn't work on the whole. I would have much preferred a sketch with Bill as Christoph Waltz, making fun of the odd metaphors and analogies that Waltz uses in his acceptance speeches.

What's Up With That: I can't help it, I just love What's Up With That? It's just one big good-time juggernaut. I loved that New York Times columnist Frank Rich was there. At first, I was thinking "Man, how did SNL get Frank Rich to appear?" and then I remembered he's the incomparable Simon Rich's dad. Look, I can't say anything bad about WUWT. From Kenan's killer performance to Jason's dance skills to Bill Hader's perennially silent Lindsay Buckingham to Abby Elliott as the girl who fell down the well - it's just the tops as far as I'm concerned.

The Situation Room: Eh, not the best. I love Jason's impression of Wolf Blitzer ("Such an exciting name for such a boring man.") with his mumbling and what not. But the concept of the sketch was just a little meh. I did love the "speech from a student leader" which was Zach dancing to a ridiculously catchy number which featured the lyrics "It's A Party" and then "C'est Une Party". On the whole though, the sketch was just a little lacking for me.

Pageant Talk: Literally one of my favourite sketches of Season 35. Really off-kilter but also really hilarious. From the beginning "Catch a star. Watch a star on Pageant Talk" to"You hooked up with it! You decided to marry it!" I loved the notion of a Southern queen obsessed with pageants, while both Jenny Slate and Kristen Wiig were hilarious as a dim pageant queen and chain-smoking wife, respectively. Bill matched Zach in terms of queeniness. Zach's reaction to "Up-do poofs!" was one of my favourite things from this season. And then to top it all off, there was a great break-up from the cast when they all cracked up as Zach semi-flubbed his line. I could just write down a series of quotes from this sketch that would illustrate why I loved it so. Great, quirky ending to the show.
Overall -
Overall, it was a different show from what I initially expected. I was anticipating a lot of quirkiness given that the King of Absurd Humour was in the house, but I really only saw it in that final sketch and the Bidet sketch. I thought Zach did a terrific job with what he was given and his monologue was beyond fantastic, but I feel like the writers could have played to his strengths more, and depended less on recurring sketches like Vogelchecks, The Today Show, The Situation Room and What's Up With That? and featured more original content.  That said, it can be difficult when someone who has such a unique and clear-cut sensibility is hosting the show.
Loved that Jenny Slate had key parts in three of the sketches, and I thought that she particularly shone in Pageant Talk. Kudos, girl! Kristen Wiig did a terrific job in Bidet and Pageant Talk also. There was an absence of Will Forte from the sketches, who I expected more of, given that his comic sensibilities are kind of in line with Zach's.
Also, have to mention how h-amazing Vampire Weekend were. My god.
All in all, the show didn't meet my monstrously high expectations, but nor was I left disappointed. Zach fit in seamlessly with the cast, and produced the best monologue of the season, and one of the best sketches of the season (Pageant Talk).


ginny said...

AfterZach on the set & the 4th hour of the today show Zach is now my favorite person.
Thanks for all the updates on Zach before the show

Anonymous said...

hey..i found the pagaent talk skit funny but not i missing some reference or sumthin??
just wanna kno..

amyfairycakes said...

Nope, no reference. I guess the notion of a Southern gay guy talking about pageants while his disenchanted wife sat throwing ashtrays at him was hilarious to me!

Anonymous said...

Pageant talk was the best. If you're looking for more of Zach breaking free from his usual persona, check out this interview with 'Seth' Galifianakis...