Sunday, December 26, 2010

Featured Player Update - Nasim's Kim Kardashian, Vanessa's Miley Cyrus, and Jay's principal

First, three weeks ago, Nasim brought back her popular Kim Kardashian...

Kim, Kourtney and Khloe stop by to talk about some of the products they endorse.

Seth Meyers
Vanessa Bayer ... Kourtney Kardashian
Abby Elliott ... Khloé Kardashian
Nasim Pedrad ... Kim Kardashian

"Yeah, they were skittles."

That one got me the best. Nasim had the best jokes here; obviously she put this together.

Since this is Nasim's second season as a featured player, she's most likely going to be promoted to repertory player next year (following a similar path of two years as a featured player that Abby and Bobby took--also done by Fred Armisen, Seth Meyers, Kenan Thompson, and Jason Sudeikis).

Nasim of course followed this skit up last week with a similar one. It's a good idea, since not only is it funny, but it also makes good use of her co-talent, and that's pretty easy to sell to the writers and producers.

A Holiday Message from The Kardashians

Kim, Kourtney and Khloe are wishing everyone happy holidays and share what they're thankful for.

The Christmas/Hanukkah/Quanza joke was hilarious! For those who don't know, the Kardashians like them some black men. =^)


Sketch - Holiday Jam

Paul Rudd ... Mr. Griggs
Jay Pharoah ... Daniel Frey
Kenan Thompson ... Steve Kane

A school's "Holiday Jam" is riddled with announcements from the very breathy principal.

Next, two weeks ago, Jay brought us his first character to lead a skit. Kenan also had a nice interruption, but the crowd basically wanted to applaud after Jay's first interruption. So that's quite an accomplishment.

I think this character is very interesting, but he's not exactly going to cause much buzz. But kudos go to Jay for not relying only on his amazing impressions!

This was also Jay's only appearance that week. I like Jay's plan. He just tries to get a starring role in every other week (at the least) and then fills in when needed. That will keep him in the audience's mind as the season progresses. It will probably also get him promoted to repertory player next year.

Speaking of Jay, Denzel Washington praises him here...

This kind of publicity further helps Jay's chances of getting promoted for next season.


Taran Killam led his first skit with a Brad Pitt impression on Weekend Update.

Brad Pitt talks about the recent cold weather blasting the Midwest.

Taran Killam ... Brad Pitt
Abby Elliott ... Angelina Jolie

Hmmm. Taran's mannerisms remind me of Brad, but what and how he says it just doesn't have the sting of other impressions. I think the audience would have preferred to see Abby rock her Angelina Jolie in a full skit instead. Sorry Taran, but this isn't as great as your Pee Wee Herman. You should have done Pee Wee as a weatherman. =^)

Taran's first Brad impression. Also portrayed by David Spade once. This is Abby's fourth appearance as Angelina Jolie, all four on Weekend Update. Molly Shannon also did Angelina twice and Kelly Ripa did her once, but Abby owns this impression. I don't see Taran's Brad Pitt achieving the same popularity.

There's a good chance that Taran won't return to SNL next season (at this current rate).


The normal route is to be a featured player for two years. Cast members to pull off this trick (to go to repertory player after only one year as a featured player) were Andy Samberg, Bill Hader, and Kristen Wiig (in 2006), Will Forte (2003), Amy Poehler (2002), Tina Fey (2001), Chris Parnell, Jimmy Fallon, and Horatio Sanz (1999), Chris Kattan (1996), Molly Shannon (1995), Norm MacDonald (1994), Chris Farley, Julia Sweeney, and Chris Rock (1991), Mike Meyers (1989), Kevin Nealon (1987).

Those unlucky enough to go three years as a featured player (I'm listing their year they graduated to repertory player) include Jay Mohr (1996; Jay was actually kept on the show as a featured player a third year, but he quit when learning that he wasn't graduating to repertory player), Tim Meadows, David Spade, and Adam Sandler (1993).

Cast members to have no years as a featured player (went right to repertory player) include Ana Gasteyer and Tracy Morgan (1996), Darrell Hammond, Cheri Oteri, Jim Breuer, and Will Ferrell (1995), Mark McKinney (he was in Kids in the Hall; 1994), Chris Elliott and Janeane Garofalo (1994), Michael McKean (1993), Dana Carvey, Jan Hooks, Victoria Jackson, and Phil Hartman (1986), Nora Dunn, Jon Lovitz, and Dennis Miller (1985). (I won't go earlier than 1985 because that's when featured players were more likely just writers that Lorne put on camera a lot, and they were never meant to become repertory players.)

And that brings us back around to the list of who's doing the best of the current featured players. My overall list remains unchanged...

(1) Nasim Pedrad
(2) Jay Pharoah
(3) Vanessa Bayer
(4) Paul Brittain
(5) Taran Killam

It's looking that Nasim and Jay will graduate to repertory players next season, Vanessa will get a second season as a featured player, and Paul and Taran might get the axe. (Paul and Taran need to step it up!) The only reason why I give Paul the edge over Taran is that Paul has already said "Live from New York," he's filling important impressions (though not funny yet), and he has had one original character (Sex Ed). That's more than what Taran has done so far (although Taran did his Brad Pitt on SNL and his PeeWee Herman is hilarious).

Taran's only skit last week was a hilarious gay character's line in Meryl Streep on Ice (an otherwise dull commercial). Other than a hilarious bit as Pee Wee Herman in a Back to the Future DVD bit, Taran hasn't really even shown why he's on SNL. I know why he's on the show (his characters and impressions are great). However, he doesn't seem to be fighting to get his best impressions and characters out there the way that Jay Pharoah and Vanessa Bayer are (and the only thing that Vanessa has done well is Miley Cyrus).

So here's how the featured players stacked up lately, per episode...

November 13, 2010 (Scarlett Johansson):
1. Jay Pharoah does his second Denzel Washington in the Unstoppable trailer, and he does perfect impressions of Nick Cannon and Kanye West.
2. Vanessa Bayer does her Candace character on Millionaire Matchmaker, she does Laura Parsons the child star, and she does the senior cruise ship woman on Weekend Update.
3. Nasim Pedrad reprised her Japanese translator.
4. Taran Killam does Chris Pine in Unstoppable.
5. Paul Brittain does two supporting roles.

November 20, 2010 (Anne Hathaway)
1. Vanessa Bayer does Miley Cyrus and a small role.
2. Jay Pharoah does his Thanksgiving raps on Weekend Update.
3. Taran Killam does Tin Man and two small roles.
4. Nasim Pedrad does four small roles.
5. Paul Brittain does two supporting roles.

December 4, 2010 (Robert DeNiro)
1. Nasim Pedrad does Kim Kardashian on Weekend Update, Keith's mom Denise on Little Fockers, and four small roles. See the Kim Kardashian video above.
2. Vanessa Bayer does Kourtney Kardashian on Weekend Update, an unimpressive Hilary Clinton (it's hard to beat Amy Poehler), and two small roles.
3. Jay Pharoah does a non-speaking impression of Charles Latibeaudiere and one small role.
4. Taran Killam gets shot in a deer costume and does three other small roles.
5. Paul Brittain does five supporting roles.

December 11, 2010 (Paul Rudd)
1. Jay Pharoah does only the Principal Daniel Frey character (see that video above). His first original character to lead a skit, and the audience loves it!
2. Vanessa Bayer does the girlfriend Amanda in The Vogelchecks, Carolyn on What's That Name, and three small roles.
3. Nasim Pedrad does four small roles.
4. Paul Brittain does four supporting roles.
5. Taran Killam plays a funny gay man supporting in one role.

December 18, 2010 (Jeff Bridges)
1. Vanessa Bayer nails the Miley Cyrus show an amazing third time this season (three times in the first half of her first season on SNL?), supports Fred's Obama with her Hilary Clinton, supports Nasim's Kim Kardashian with her Kourtney Kardashian, and she helps open the Old West gift wrap sketch.
2. Nasim Pedrad brings us her most popular impression yet again, Kim Kardashian. She also gives us Lil Blaster again and another supporting role (Zuzu in Wonderful Life).
3. Taran Killam plays Brad Pitt on Weekend Update. I think the audience mostly gave courtesy laughs here. Taran also supports in two small roles.
4. Jay Pharoah does only MC George Castanza on Crunkmas Karnival.
5. Paul Brittain does three supporting roles.

Nasim might slip behind Jay in the overall ranking pretty soon here. In the last four weeks, her most memorable contribution was bringing back her Kim Kardashian impression twice that she did last year. Meanwhile, Jay gave us Denzel, raps, Kanye, and his principal Daniel Frey. Even Vanessa has shown more effort with Miley Cyrus, her hopeless online dater Candace, her child star Laura, Kourtney Kardashian, and Hilary Clinton. The only thing that's keeping Nasim higher is another year's worth of characters and impressions. So that will keep her higher than Vanessa on the overall list, but Jay's catching up!



Unknown said...

I thought Daniel Frye was original too, but it's an impression of his high school Principal, as he's said himself. There's even a video on Youtube (that he shared) of him performing at the high school as an alumnus, and doing the same impression.

Ed Price said...

Interesting! Is his principal named "Daniel Frye"? Because truth be told that a lot of characters on SNL are actually just exagerations of people the actor or writers have seen (which is basically what comedic impressions are).


Ed Price said...

Ah, so technically this is a character, even though it is also an impression. The deciding factor is if the person is the same name. He changed the name, which is the decision that the character is not 100% based on the subject. This is probably a good move (also that he got permission first). Read more here:



Tüpbebek said...

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