Wednesday, December 22, 2010

SNL - Midseason Review (Season 36 Episodes 1-10)

So, now that 2010 is drawing to a close and SNL has offered us ten episodes of season thirty-six, I think it’s high time that I complile my top ten favourite sketches of the season. Without further ado, here are my top ten sketches of season thirty-six thus far.
  1. Les Jeunes de Paris - If forced to pick my favourite sketch of the season thus far, this would probably be it. Not to get too pretentious about things, but I just felt like this was comedy in its purest form - all physical and visual. Just an incredibly well-executed and joyful sketch, featuring a nice interplay between host Emma Stone and featured player Taran Killam. 
  2. “Sex Ed” Vincent - This was a taped infomercial which featured Paul Brittain front and center playing his character Sex Ed Vincent, an amateur sex educator. Long a stalwart of the Chicago improv scene, Sex Ed Vincent’s debut on SNL was hilarious and really solidifed Paul Brittain’s status as a “one to watch”. 
  3. Back To The Future Screen Tests - I mean, this was absurdly good and showcased so many of the cast’s impressions, including Bill Hader’s dead-on impression of Alan Alda, Taran Killam’s impression of Pee-Wee Herman, Jay Pharoah’s impression of Eddie Murphy - the list goes on. Everyone was on their game here and it was tremendous and fun to watch.
  4. Stars of Tomorrow - A hilarious send-up of child actors starring Vanessa Bayer and Scarlett Johansson front and center. When will an eleven year old girl performing Bubba’s monologue from Forrest Gump not be funny? Never, that’s when. And this sketch was never not funny.
  5. Wikileaks - TMZ - Firstly, I’ll go on the record to say that I think Hader as Assange is absolute gold. I loved this sketch and I think it’s easily the best cold open of the season, in that it kind of killed two birds with one stone - satirising Julian Assange and Harvey Levin’s TMZ operation. Everything was so on point - from the schlubby guys in the TMZ newsroom to the paparazzi voiceovers in the clips to Hader as Assange. Just brilliant.
  6. Visiting The Queen - This is the sketch which featured Anne Hathaway as the soon-to-be princess Kate Middleton visiting Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip who, behind closed doors, are a couple of old geezers. I’m sure this has been done before and possibly done better, but in light of the royal engagement, I thought this was very simple and well-executed. Fred Armisen just slayed me as “Debra” as did Hader as Prince Philip who, at one point, calls in a servant just to tell him to “piss off”. Who are these people? Characters from Sexy Beast? Loved it.
  7. Mega-Mart - Infomercial for a super sale, “12 Minute Madness” on Black Friday. Kind of in the same vein as Kickspit Underground Rock Festival and just as hilarious. That Kirk Douglas would be hidden somewhere in a store, for customers to find him, touch him and win an iPad will never not be funny to me. Also - “DJ Thunderthrust”.
  8. The Ladies Who Lunch - This was such a wonderful lady-centric sketch from the season premiere with Amy Poehler which featured Kristen Wiig as a lady whose hats are consistently upstaged by her friend’s even tinier hats. It was so absurd and ridiculous and a reminder that the ladies should all collaborate on sketches more often.
  9. Stumblin’ - A musical reworking of 9 To 5 with Andy Samberg and Paul Rudd flailing and stumbling all around New York City with a cameo from Paul McCartney performing a tiny harmonica solo. I don’t think I need to explain why I loved this so.
  10. The Bjelland Brothers - I could see that some people might have really disliked this sketch or found the refrain, “I sent a bottle of sparkling apple juice to your house/Did you get it?” to be annoying or irritating. Me? I found it to be wonderfully silly and charming.
  • Every appearance by Stefon on Weekend Update has been superb. “Eleven Little Richards.” Okay.
  • Watching Jay Pharoah’s appearances in sketches and on Weekend Update has been like watching the birth of a comedy star. His Thanksgiving Rap Medley where he debuted his impressions of Drake, Jay-Z and Notorious B.I.G was the tops. Pharoah has surpassed Hader as the best impressionist on the show - no easy feat and one that ought to be acknowledged and lauded.
  • The Miley Cyrus Show is probably my favourite new recurring sketch.

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