Saturday Night Dead. GET IT???
Holy hell. And I thought last week's episode of Saturday Night Live was bad. Tonight's was just atrocious.
Did they even rehearse? I mean, above and beyond the disaster of depending on a wasted and confused Richie Sambora to deliver lines -- which was one of the most painful things I've ever had to witness. All night long, it was just one error after another. A prop wouldn't be properly framed, an actor would play to the wrong camera, the director would cut to someone after they said their line.... Was this the first show for everybody? Have the first 32 years of SNL now not happened, and everyone's trying to figure out how to make this show from scratch?
I've been complaining about the overuse of non-comedically-inclined hosts on SNL, putting them in practically every damn sketch -- and rather than cutting back, they decide to put host Jon Bon Jovi in the traditionally host-free cold opening, too. Criminy! Bon Jovi, by the way, was even worse as host than I feared. That sketch with him as an alien was death, pure death.
And take the opening sketch, which is generally where the show wants to put its strongest material, right? Instead we get an awful game show sketch built around the accents lifted from the "Two Gay Guys from Jersey" running characters on Weekend Update. Guess what, SNL? Not funny. Ooooh!
Not surprisingly, the best sketches were the ones lacking any Bon Jovi. The bits ripping on Dane Cook's horrendous baseball promos were funny and scarily accurate. The Iconoclasts spoof, featuring Charles Barkley and Björk, was very enjoyable (Barkley: "Come on, Bork! Let's go watch the TVs at the Best Buy!"). I've said it before: the graveyard sketch, the one right before the end of the show, is often the funniest of the night, because this is where the silliest, most offbeat, most original ideas get dumped, and since time is an issue, they usually don't drag on for five minutes too long. When they work (and they certainly don't always), they can be real home runs.
And the "Punching People in the Face Before They Eat" Digital Short was a riot. I haven't laughed so hard at SNL since the Natalie Portman gangsta rap Digital Short ("P is for Portman! P is for Pussy! I'll kill your fuckin' dog for fun, so don't push me!"). Or maybe the Spelling Bee sketch:
But what the fuck happened at the end of the show? All of a sudden, Jack Nicholson is there? And he's introducing another song from Bon Jovi? This has to be first time ever the host performed more songs than the actual musical guest. Which really sucks, since Foo Fighters are the first musical guest I've given a damn about since I can't remember when. They get only one song? That's bunk. Why even invite them on the show? Why not have Bon Jovi officially be the host and musical guest, and skip the pretense? Bizarre.
Two additional notes about the Foo Fighters: was that Pat Smear on stage with them? Is he back in the band? And I don't know about you, but I loved watching the cellist in the background, just sitting idly during much of the song, banging her head along with the music. Being a professional cellist probably doesn't afford you many opportunities to bang your head.
This show has been sheer agony this year. But heck, what else am I going to watch on a Saturday? You win, SNL, you win.