Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Gina didn't think Andy Samberg and Seth Rogen were funny

Is ‘SNL’ getting lame again? Sweat drops!

The fall of 2008 is starting to seem like a long, long time ago. The creative spike of “Saturday Night Live” has officially dipped back into a comfortable lull. Not awful. Not great. Completely miss-able.

Weird that Seth Rogen didn’t star in “I Love You, Man.” He’s the original bromantic guy. Maybe that’s why, even though it’s been done a hundred times in as many ways, my favorite skit of his on “SNL” was “The Fast and the Bi-Curious,” where he got rough and tumbly with Andy Samberg at a mechanic’s garage.

"If you like fast cars, hot nights and gay stuff, then buddy, this is the movie for you."

Other than that – and I admit, that’s not exactly a showstopper – plus the Angelina Jolie vs. Madonna skit, the rest of Weekend Update and the Muppets, the April 4 show was pretty sleepy. It also featured three sets by French alt rock band Phoenix. (Why did they get three sets?)

Maybe Rogen lost a piece of his funny bone along with all that fat. It was his second SNL appearance (the other was in October of 2007). His dramatic weight loss was joke fodder during the monologue, where he also took questions from the “audience.”

A couple of questions were about “Paul Blart: Mall Cop,” taking aim at Rogen’s new movie, “Observe and Report,” the second mall cop movie of the year, coming out April 10. One heavy-set “audience member” (Bobby Moynihan) was ticked at Rogen for losing weight because his way of scoring chicks was to say he’s Seth Rogen.


The rest of the show was hit or miss, but a focus on miss. There was a “Save the Funnies” sketch -- which as a newspaper employee, I should’ve liked, even if no one else did. But it was long, stilted and not exactly sharp. Or maybe the audience just needed uppers. (How much of the success of the show depends on the energy of the audience?)

Dick Tracy, Archie, Veronica, Hagar, Garfield and others tried to come up with a plan to save newspapers. Andy Samberg returned as Cathy, who was late to the meeting: “I had a hot date – with my TV Guide! Sweat drops!”

I did like when the guy who makes the jumbles said he wanted to help.

Dick Tracy: “Well, I don’t think you can help us.”

Jumble guy: “Cuff you.”

Dick Tracy is confused.

Jumble guy: “Jumble it.”

And of course Peppermint Patty and Marcie make out. Eventually they are saved by Fred Armisen as Sudoku. “People will pay to solve my puzzles.”


Bill Hader, always interesting even when the sketch isn’t, returned as Italian talk show host Vinny Vedecci. He interviewed Seth Rogen, aka “Bear Man,” and Bobby Moynihan played Vinny’s son, who wanted to know if Seth’s mama was a human and his papa was a bear. Not the best skit .


Sometimes the SNL Digital Shorts are great, so I had high hopes. This time, Seth Rogen and Andy Samberg sat down for a performance review. Then Andy broke into a rap song about being the boss. “Micromanage – Like a Boss! – Hit on Deborah – Like a Boss! – Get rejected – Like a Boss!...”


The bachelor party impressions skit should’ve been a lot better. Maybe it was too long, maybe it was just too much about the three actors -- Andy, Bill and Seth – impressing each other. They were hanging out, trying to plan a friend’s bachelor party, when they each got calls from their girlfriends and had to use “girlfriend voices.” From there, one got a call from a friend in witness protection, from a cousin who sounds like Gizmo in “Gremlins,” from a Scottish boss, from a friend in a coma (beep, beep, beep, beeeeeeeeep).


Weekend Update is still the strongest element of the show, even with just Seth Meyers there. As usual, the Obamas were a main focus. (Ahh, forgot to mention, Fred Armisen did his Obama thing again in a very long cold opening/pre-monologue address on the auto industry and the economy. Sorry, I just miss Tina Fey when I watch him.)

When Michelle Obama was photographed wearing clothes from J. Crew, they sold out of the clothes she was wearing.

Seth: “Now if someone could just get her to drive a Chrysler.”

He had a banner riff on the gifts passed between Obama and the Queen of England – an iPod for her, a portrait for him. It was a pretty inspired take on everything, actually.

Seth: “In short, try to remember you’re world leaders, not Secret Santas.”

Jason Sudeikis came in as Rod Blagojevich, but that was a miss.

Kenan Thompson’s Jean K. Jean always makes me want to get up and dance – “Zut alors!”

Loved the Madonna/Angelina Jolie visit. That could’ve been taken out of Weekend Update and made its own skit, replacing any one of the others.

Kristen Wiig was Madonna, with a blonde wig, giant glasses and faux British accent. She whined about not getting the baby from Malawi. “I know you can’t tell by my face, but I’m really bummed out.”

Abby Elliott’s Angelina Jolie came in. Did she hear someone talking about babies?

They have something of a pissing contest over who adopts from the coolest and craziest places.

Angelina: “I just got a baby from Russia.”

Madonna: “That’s not that crazy.”

Angelina: “Really? Well my baby is a baby inside a baby inside a baby.”

That was probably the best skit of the night and it didn’t even have the host – a truly funny guy, normally – anywhere near it.


Here’s a really lame one. Seth Rogen came in for a meeting with the boss, Fred Armisen. All the other employees were standing around, looking angry. Rogen was supposed to send a quarterly prospectus to investors and instead he sent the “Grease” soundtrack.


Award for worst skit of the night definitely goes to another Andy/Seth pairing, this time on an episode of “Milestone High” where nerdy Andy tries to tutor jock Seth. Turns out Seth isn’t the captain of the basketball team, he’s just special. Beyond stupid.


Strangely enough, the honky tonk skit with Seth as a music producer and Kristen and Will Forte singing about beer jars and Easter anthems was just insane enough to be half-interesting. It went on too long, like most of the skits, but I like the weird turn the show took toward the end of the night.


Like Muppets on a bus. Now there’s a skit that had potential and used some of it. You can’t really go wrong with the Muppets. Especially violent Muppets.

Zoot: "Anybody who has a problem with what just happened, say it now."


They should’ve run Muppets earlier in the night, killed the “Grease” and “Milestone High” skits, turned Angie/Madge into its own skit and found some way to get Paul Rudd on the show. Because you can’t have a real bromance without both Seth and Paul.



Maybe not enough people liked the comics skit for SNL to post it.



The Lonely Island fan said...

I have to agree a lot on this article. For a very long time I boycotted SNL and just watched MADTV because more often than not the show was actually quite funny and the quality of the sketches were well executed. Granted sure I always checked up to see what the Digital Short of the week was online from SNL cuz those were always the highlight of the show.

Well when Fall came around SNL really started to get funny. In fact almost the whole show each week was pretty solid and was surprised how on the ball they were with making quality funny stuff.

I think in the last 2 months though I've noticed a rather huge cliff fall and that the show is about where it was at this time last year. Some of the repeat sketches like the Kathy Lee Gifford and Hota morning show spoofs are getting extremely tiring and the last 2 that aired I completely skipped past (thanks to DVR). It just seems like the show has really slacked bad. Certainly there are some gems out there, but you really have to sift through a huge pile of blah stuff before you see the good ones. During that Fall season time I didn't skip past any of the sketches because they were genuinely pretty darn funny.

I'm worried SNL is getting unenjoyable again. I just don't know what happened to that edgy writing they were so consistent with for a while.

I also think SNL could be doomed the day Samberg, Taccone and Schaffer leave the offices to pursue bigger things. Though I know they seem to be extremely happy in the position they are in now.

SNL needs to step it up again. I'm losing faith in the show again.

Kate said...

I actually have to disagree. Like I understand there are some that are just not funny, but maybe I just have a different sense of humor. Because every time I watch SNL I am laughing so hard, especially on the Seth Rogen one, like I would just think about the previous sketch and would laugh to myself. Obviously people will have different opinions and ideas about what is funny and what isn't. But I completely enjoy SNL and yes of course there are some bad ones, but that happens with anything. I think Seth Meyers is doing an awesome job as head writer. But of course a main reason why I watch the show, is for the Digital Shorts and hoping I will see a quick cameo from Kiv or Jorm and to see any sketch Andy is involved in.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the writer needs to work on his funny-bone tickle-ability- I have to agree with Kate and completely disagree with the writer and Ryan. I, too, love love love all of the new SNL's- even if there are a few lemons in there- they still aren't sour- I am smiling, even if I am not laughing out loud. So kudos to SNL- I do wish they'd update with more new commercials though. I get the re-runs, but piling the re-run commercial parodies into every episode is a little re-donk-ulous. Otherwise- I am a regular watching SNL fan- so glad they revived it from the last era!

The Lonely Island fan said...

I don't deny that there definitely are some funny sketches on the show and I think the more recent Rogen one was okay. It's harder these days because usually as the show got more into it the quality of the sketches lessen, but this season they are spread out. Sometimes there's a hilarious one at the very tail end.

I certainly don't think the show is horrible and of course I do laugh here and there at sketches. To their credit the show is way better than it has been in a few years. I think some of the recycled stuff gets old after a while though like the ones I mentioned. Heck even a few weeks in a row they replayed the Edible Diapers commercial! I mean it was funny, but they need to something new. I wouldn't mind the same commercial getting played once every month or two, but don't repeat it that frequent.

Anyway, sorry if I seemed like I was really ragging on SNL. I don't hate it, but I am just finding that I'm not laughing as hard as later last year with how clever they were in their writing and keeping it pretty fresh. Oddly many of the Samberg sketches are usually funny as well as Hader. It's just a mix of blah and great. I know it's a challenge to be funny all the time, but this is a show that is making money and with that kind of audience they need to deliver every week. It's one thing working as a one-man show, but when you got a whole writing team you gotta wonder sometimes...

I'm still a weekly watcher of SNL and don't plan to let up watching as long as my Lonely Island guys continue contributing!

Anonymous said...

The edible diaper one was exactly the overdone commercial I was thinking of! HA! Eventhough there were a lot more, too.")

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