Saturday, December 11, 2010

Some Random Thoughts About SNL 36x9: Rudd/McCartney

Paul Rudd hosts SNL for the second time tonight. He first hosted in 2008 with musical guest Beyonce. That episode is probably best remembered for a sketch where Rudd played a minor role, with Beyonce filming her Single Ladies video (aka "the best video OF ALL TIME" according to Kanye West) with backup dancers played by Andy Samberg, Bobby Moynihan, and Justin Timberlake. Tonight he is promoting his new movie, How Do You Know.

Paul McCartney will appear as the musical guest for the third time. He first appeared via satellite and debuted a new music video in a season 5 episode hosted by Steve Martin in 1980. He came back 13 years later for a season 18 episode hosted by Alec Baldwin. Yet with only 2 prior appearances, he made it into the Platinum Lounge under the guise of being Paul Simon 4 years ago:

Some Predictions for Tonight:
-Literally anybody could cameo tonight, and I think there will be quite a few. I can envision a British Band Battle on the Barry Gibb Talk Show, which would include Timberlake, Jimmy Fallon, and Ringo Starr. Both Baldwin and Martin could stop by. One of Rudd's costars- Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon, or Jack Nicholson could stop by, or one of SNL's cavalcade of common cameos- Tina Fey? Cameron Diaz? Maya Rudolph? Really, nobody would surprise me.
-I'm sure McCartney will be in at least one sketch if not more, and I'm sticking with the Barry Gibb Talk Show as at least one of those.
-We haven't seen Jean K. Jean (Zut Alors!) or Judy Grimes, the travel expert, around the Weekend Update desk yet this season, maybe it's time for one of them.
-ADDED AFTER INITIAL POST: And they have to do The Miley Cyrus Show. I don't enjoy it, but the sketch exists for the sole purpose of being done in tonight's episode. If they don't do it, (and it is for a reason other that "we cut a whole bunch of sketches at dress rehearsal and decided to just have a cold open, a monologue, weekend update, and an hour long Paul McCartney concert) someone should get fired.
-ADDED PREDICTION #2: With this being the week of the 30th anniversary of John Lennon's death, and with Jimmy Fallon saying on Twitter than McCartney would do a special song of some sort earlier tonight, I bet he either performs or samples Imagine.

Be back at 11:30!

Sketch 1- Remember last week when it looked like we were going to have an Obama cold open but it was a fake out? This time its Obama. Who apparently is now a conservative Republican. This is actually funny. B+.

Monologue- From the decoration, you'd almost think this is the Christmas episode (it's not). "When I got here this week, all these fans were lined up chanting 'Paul! Paul!'... Then one fan shouted 'Yesterday' which was a reference to the NPR interview I game yesterday." And here is Sir Paul, which clarifies it for Rudd. McCartney says he loved Role Models. Then featured player Paul Brittain shows up.

Sketch 2- Parody ad for "Feline Culinary Creations." Essentially very formal cat food. Kinda slightly amusing, but one note joke. C+.

Sketch 3- The kissing family is back. This time Rudd is the son, Wiig the mother, Armisen the father, new girl the girlfriend, and Hader the brother. They're all overly passionate. It was moderately funny the first time like three years ago, but this is like the 5th time. They do some gum passing. Here's some Romanian relatives. And Moynihan is what appears to be Santa. Full open mouth tongue swapping between Rudd and Armisen. It is just the same sketch again. C.

Sketch 4- We've got a game show call "What's That Name?" Hosted by Hader, contestants Rudd and new girl. They show celeb pictures and they have to name them. For $20 Jared Fogel and Steve Zahn. For $10,000 Rudd's character's doorman (Kenan). He has no clue. Girl's office cleaning woman (Wiig). She has no clue. For $1mil, 8 of Rudd's summer interns, he needs to name 1, he gets it for 3, goes double or nothing and loses it by again not getting the doorman. It was amusing and original. A.

Sketch 5- A digital short called "Stumbling," to the tune of "9 to 5" Which features Samberg and eventually Rudd stumbling past a bunch of things. Now McCartney sings a bridge about walking. Now McCartney plays a tiny harmonica. Completely random but very funny. A.

Sketch 6- A statement from MasterCard, but here is Julian Assange! Hader does a great job with this character again. Each day they'll attack a different website. (BTW I didn't catch it but there was a Mario Batali cameo in there too) Quite good. A-.


Sketch 7- Sexually Speaking. You know the one, the host is out sick so her producer, a fat, bald, and goateed Armisen hosts, but he can't hear anything and he can't give advice. New girl's husband has a small penis, Rudd is gay which Armisen doesn't get. Abby's boyfriend is selfish. Pedrad's boyfriend wants to wait. This sketch isn't good, but they keep doing it. Who knows why. D.

Music 1- McCartney's mic appears to not be on. He's performing "Jet," a 1974 Wings song. Because he's Sir Paul McCartney and he can sing whatever the hell he wants to sing.

Weekend Update- The tax cut compromise, Assange, Oprah. "Weekend Update Audio Caption" with Paul McCartney as Camilla and Meyers as Prince Charles. Was it funny itself? No. Was it funny seeing McCartney do that? Yup. City Correspondent, Stefan, who is only funny because Hader can't do it without cracking up. We do learn that Hader can do a really good "Angry Miss Piggy" impression. And that's about it. Pretty weak. C.

Sketch 8- We have some sort of holiday school event. Rudd is a teacher. Pharoah is a principal who seems to easily run out of breath. Rudd keeps making terrible puns. Kenan is the gym teacher. He's angry. This is just a plain waste of time. F.

Sketch 9- Parody ad for Meryl Streep On Ice at MSG. Abby is Streep, and does it pretty well. She's an insanely good skater. Fan reactions. Sudeikis shows up for first time tonight, tearing up. Kids chant "Meryl! Meryl!" Randomly amusing. B+.

Music 2- Pretty early for second performance already. "Band on the Run." A classic. Just sitting back and enjoying. It does surprise me, however, that McCartney went double-Wings. Especially this week (Lennon's death) and with all the Beatles/iTunes ads throughout the ep.

Sketch 10- Rudd is performing for Broadway Cares, something from Cabaret. Hader is director, Sudeikis is running the spotlight. Sudeikis isn't following him with the spot. This is essentially the only joke. Then when Rudd leaves. Sudeikis performs it. Yup, that pretty much sums up this episode. C-.

Music 3- Well there's the explanation. With the Beatle's classic "A Day in the Life." And he goes into John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance." I know I don't give grades on the music anymore, but A+ there.

And that wraps it up. Or does it? NO!

Music 4- Beatle's hit "Get Back."

I have a hard time letting a musical guest bump up an episode's game, at least significantly, but 4 musical performances, plus appearances in the monologue, Weekend Update, and the digital short by a man who is probably the greatest living musical legend cannot be ignored. It was otherwise a very up-and-down episode, I expected more from cameos (see my predictions and compare them to what we got, Mario Batali) and it would likely get a C or a C+, but thanks to Sir Paul: B.

Remember to checkout for a visual recap!

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