SNL Season 29 – REVEALED!
Episode 15: Ben Affleck/N.E.R.D. (3/13/04)
The Rating System:
4 Coneys – Best Ever
0 Coneys – Worst Ever
0-10 Coneys – Garbage
11-20 Coneys – Needs Improvement
21-30 Coneys – Average
31-40 Coneys – Above Average
41-51 Coneys - Instant Classic
55+ Coneys - Unparalleled SNL Genius
Pre-show Comments (3/12/04):
Jason: I actually missed Affleck's first turn as host back in February of 2000 due to my senior year of college weekend party schedule. However, I was told just this week by The Grizz that it was "horrific". Sounds like I didn't miss much.
I was actually a fan of Affleck during the Dazed and Confused to Chasing Amy period. It wasn't until the Bounce/Pearl Harbor era that he completely began to annoy me - and don't get me started on last year's kick in the face to comic book movies that was Daredevil. Completely worst.
Basically, Affleck will have to go above and beyond this Saturday to impress me. It was mentioned on IMDB yesterday that Affleck is planning on poking fun at Jennifer Lopez and even hopes for a cameo from good friend Kevin Smith. A Smith guest spot has potential, but why do I have a feeling they will completely go overboard on Lopez material?
As for N.E.R.D, I say buzz. Their 2002 tour stop in Detroit was hilarious. I guess I'm going into this episode with average expectations.
Heather: If this week's SNL with Affleck is anything like the last time he hosted, it will most certainly blow! I managed to catch his debut back in 2000 and it was wrought with the likes of Boston Teens, Mango and The Zimmermanns (where Kattan and O'Teri were the groping married couple and Affleck was the used car salesman). It's a shame because Affleck used to be hilarious back in the Mallrats/Chasing Amy era, but somewhere along the way (stupid Armageddon) he turned into a super cheesy overplayed "moviestar." Add that to the on-going nonsense that is Bennifer and he's just plain unwatchable. I'm hoping that underneath all of that bullshit though, he still has that same old sense of humor and will actually use it this weekend.
1. Cold Opening: Boston Teens
Premise: Recurring sketch were drunk/stoned idiots act stupid
Jason: Not enough time (5 months) has passed for me to welcome this horrible sketch with open arms. I’m honestly wondering if there are people out there who like and wait for these characters? Usually the only saving grace is the Sanz character – and this time they reduced his screen time to about 10 seconds. Not the way to make this more watchable in my book. The Affleck/Meyers kissing was a little funny though.
Heather: In my personal opinion, this was a pretty ballsy opener. This sketch was basically unavoidable, given Affleck’s Boston roots, but it really should’ve been something that was thrown in the middle of the show so as not to completely affect the episode right from the get-go. Then again, at least it’s out of the way. It’s no secret that this has become one of my least favorite sketches and I’m absolutely sick of the whole gay marriage controversy. The only minutely funny part of this mess was Affleck’s vows to Meyers, “especially the queer part.”
Jason: I’ll be damned. This is the first monologue of the season performed by only the host with had no song incorporated. Too bad the material wasn’t up to par. The t-shirt idea was funny at first, but by the time he got to “Mary Kate and Ashley Affleck”, the bit had gone too far. Too bad the Kevin Smith cameo Affleck mentioned didn’t actually happen.
Heather: Well, here we go with the J-Lo jokes. If SNL has any sense at all, they’ll leave the whole Bennifer disaster right here in the monologue. At least Affleck really seemed to take the break-up in stride with the whole t-shirt gag. While I guess it needed to be said and over with, I just hope that this monologue doesn’t foretell the rest of the episode as far as “Jen and Ben” bits go.
Premise: Fallon plays obnoxious characters on a one-man morning show
Jason: Two Fallon sketches in a row? I’m assuming at this point that Aflleck and Fallon have a friendship off screen (at least in the SNL offices). At first I was nervous Z105 was back so fast. Fallon sketches, while sometimes worthwhile, have a tendency to wear out their welcome way too fast due to over exposure. After all, this is Z105’s third appearance this season.
All fears were quickly subsided once the sketch took sail. Despite the bad DJ impression voice, Affleck’s Dirty Dan the Garbage Man was pretty funny. Basically the premise was Dirty Dan has stolen all of Fallon’s characters (ironic this was written by Fallon after all the SNL greats he has blatantly ripped off). The resulting argument was pretty funny – especially when “Dirty Dan just pooped on his own wiener – he’s got a poop wiener”.
Man in the Can, get back in that can!
Heather: I can’t believe that a Fallon-based sketch has become one of my favorites, but I just can’t help but laugh at the Z-105 “crew”!! The laughs only increased with the addition of Affleck’s Dirty Dan the Garbage Man with his posse, Sherlock Homo, TuSpock, Man in the Can and Andrea, who he basically ripped off of Fallon’s DJ character. I think that Fallon and Affleck’s obvious real life friendship also had a lot to do with this sketch working as well as it did. “Oh my God you guys!!!”
Premise: A mentally challenged man voices concern over the quality of “Gigli”
Jason: Although this sketch scenario may never happen again, I see Armisen doing this new “Frondi” character many times during his SNL career. Frondi combines the wardrobe of Gabe Fisher and the blank stare of the Rialto Grande Casino drummer. Totally best.
I’m also glad this appears to be the only real mention of “Gigli” during the episode, and they even chose to make it Lopez free. Good save SNL.
Heather: Frondi = laughs. Even Affleck could barely keep it together with that stare!! I’m really looking forward to Armisen making this a recurring character. I think the mentally challenged spin was the best thing they could’ve done to make the inevitable “Gigli” sketch bearable.
2 ½ Coneys
5. Cartoon by Robert Smigel: The Making of “The Passion of the Humpty”
Premise: Spoof of Passion of the Christ/George W. Bush commercials
Jason: While better than last week’s “Cartoons vs. The FCC” bit, I’m still disappointed to see a Smigel cartoon back so soon. Like Fallon sketches, these need to be spread out more.
However, I must say this one was pretty clever. I never knew Humpty Dumpty’s fall was so violent! The Bush commercials were pretty good too – especially the second one combining the cartoon and variety footage.
Heather: I thought this was damn funny!! The parts with Humpty Dumpty puking up yolk and the horse stepping on his face literally had me near tears. The ridiculous Bush messages included simply made this Smigel cartoon a winner.
6. Sketch: Appalachian Emergency Room
Premise: White Trash visit the hospital
Jason: I have to say I’m surprised this one is back so soon. Appalachian Emergency Room debuted just two months ago during the Aniston episode. At first I was a little excited, the character Sanz did in the Aniston episode’s installment was hilarious. Sadly, this go around was completely Sanz-less and actually kind of sucked. Forte (finally making his first appearance tonight) was only on for a second, and the return of Parnell’s character was down right annoying.
Heather: You know, I feared that the return of this sketch would be nowhere near as good as it’s debut and, unfortunately, it looked like I was right. Finesse, Maya, and sadly Parnell were just horrible in their characters. Forte, who totally could’ve provided some comedy, was on for only a minute, which I found really weird. Affleck, luckily, wasn’t too bad and did make me chuckle by calling his pharrot “Pharrot Bueller.” Overall though, they need to give this one a rest.
7. Commercial Parody: Only Bangkok (#1)
Jason: At first I couldn’t figure out what this was. It was shot better than most SNL fare and didn’t seem to be going for huge punchline style laughs. Once the “Only Bangkok” card came up though, I realized we had just witnessed a fake tourist/country/vacation commercial. This was one of the more clever commercial parodies SNL has done in years.
Heather: Ok. I get the idea but I guess it was just too subtle for me to really find all that funny.
8. Music: N.E.R.D – 1
Jason: Not bad, but not Norah Jones good.
Heather: Alright, but I guess I know now why I never bothered to listen to them.
9. Weekend Update
Jason: This had to have been one of the worst Weekend Updates in years. Not only were there no standout jokes, but did we really need THREE guests? It’s one thing if all the guests are funny, but when it’s Finesse doing his best to be Chris Rock, Maya as Diana Ross (seen just THREE episodes ago) and Hammond’s Clinton impression (just seen LAST WEEK), you have the ingredients for a horrible Update. Get on the ball Fey!
Heather: Fucking awful!!! Why were we subjected to not one, not two, but three HORRIBLE guests?? Finesse. When is SNL going to learn he’s NOT funny? I seriously hope he’s let go after this season. Maya’s Diana Ross had me cringing before she even rolled up to the desk. And the worst by far was Bill Clinton’s reappearance AGAIN!!! What the hell is going on?? You can’t seriously be that out of ideas SNL!!
10. Sketch: Top O’ the Morning
Premise: Recurring sketch in which two Irish men host a show in a bar
Jason: Another Fallon sketch? What gives?
Towards the end of last season, I started coming around to this sketch. The Liotta (1/18/03) and Hayek (3/15/03) episodes during Season 28 were hilarious. I hate to say it, but based on this week’s episode, this sketch may be in some trouble. This installment was nothing more than bad flashback sequences (with an obscene amount of Fallon’s “character breaking” laughter) and really old Ronald McDonald jokes. The only thing that made me laugh was Keenan and Finesse doing shots. Know what I’m sayin’.
Heather: I guess I could see this sketch coming, given St. Patrick’s Day is this week, but couldn’t it have at least been funny?? I’ve never been a fan, but this sketch has managed to put forth some funny moments in the past (Alfie!!). So what happened to this one?? And why is everyone IN the sketch laughing harder than the actual audience. I can understand Fallon and Affleck, they’ve been laughing at each other all night. But Meyers?? Come on. I must admit though, I did get a kick out of Sanz on the Irish “Slip ‘n Slide,” which was essentially made out of beer and vomit.
11. Commercial Parody: Only Bangkok (#2)
Jason: I can see these are going to be recurring throughout the episode. Now that the viewer knows the payoff at the end of the spot, the parody really loses the edge. Throwing in Affleck for seemingly no reason didn’t end up being funny either.
Heather: Uhhh…aren’t these supposed to get funnier with each one we see??
12. Sketch: Donnie G. & Sidecar
Jason: Two Armisen sketches! Best. I guess this sort of makes up for the over abundance of Fallon tonight.
I have to say Affleck really made this sketch. The arrogance he used for his character was actually very funny. This one is worth a rewind or two.
Heather: I have to say, I really thought this sketch was going to have me laughing pretty hard, but it kind of fell short for me. Not that Armisen and Affleck didn’t do a good job with their characters. I guess it just wan’t the humor I was expecting.
13. Commercial Parody: Only Bangkok (#3)
Jason: I see they are going to stick with the Affleck appearances. This was one slightly improved over the second one, but still wasn’t as good as the first. The Ripa appearance did get a laugh however. What the hell is the story behind that one?
Heather: Now this installment actually made me laugh out loud with Affleck in the kimono and makeup. Ripa’s random arrival was pretty good too. Weird, but funny nonetheless.
1 ½ Coneys
Jason: Catchier than the first, but not as good as the N.E.R.D. I remember from 2002.
Heather: Yeah, I don’t really care for these guys at all.
15. Sketch: The Full Moon Killer
Premise: Office mates try to get a co-worker to admit he is a killer
Jason: I think Poehler was guilty of a little Fallon-style character breaking laughter in this one! Not bad. Like Donnie G., Affleck gave a really good performance in this sketch too. What was up with the on again off again faux British accent? I loved the “and he was” ending too.
Heather: This was a decent closer. My only question: Why is Affleck using JB’s Sebastian Peppington Smyth voice?? “And he was!”
Jason: Despite 4 recurring sketches, tons of unintentional laughter and a horrible Weekend Update, this episode managed to churn out a few standouts. The latest Z105 will most likely turn up at the next SNL party, as will Donnie G. & Sidecar. Too bad Forte was on screen for about 1 minute tonight –although on the other side of the coin, Maya wasn’t used much either. I’m also really glad the Jennifer Lopez humor was kept to a minimum.
24.5 out of 60 Coneys
Heather: Even though my pre-show comments were pretty rough, I did expect to laugh a little more at this episode. There were a couple of highlights with Z105 and the Smigel cartoon, but otherwise it just really wasn’t that great of an episode. Let’s just pray “The Onionloaf” can turn this boat around, hopefully without too many “You’re fired!” jokes.
18.5 out of 60 Coneys
SNL Coney Rankings: Season 29 – REVEALED!
Andy Roddick/Dave Matthews – 41.5
Jack Black/John Mayer – 34.5
Christina Aguilera/Maroon 5 – 31.5
Justin Timberlake - 30
Colin Firth/Norah Jones – 29.5
Alec Baldwin/Missy Elliot – 28.5
Halle Berry/Britney Spears – 27
Ben Affleck/N.E.R.D. – 24.5
Jennifer Aniston/Black Eyed Peas - 22
Al Sharpton/Pink – 21.5
Kelly Ripa/Outkast – 19
Drew Barrymore/Kelis – 19
Megan Mullally/Clay Aiken – 17.5
Jessica Simpson & Nick Lachey/G-Unit - 17
Elijah Wood/Jet – 16.5
Jack Black/John Mayer – 34.5
Andy Roddick/Dave Matthews – 28.5
Christina Aguilera/Maroon 5 - 28
Jessica Simpson & Nick Lachey/G-Unit – 27.5
Colin Firth/Norah Jones - 27
Justin Timberlake – 26.5
Halle Berry/Britney Spears – 24
Alec Baldwin/Missy Elliot – 24
Jennifer Aniston/Black Eyed Peas - 23
Kelly Ripa/Outkast – 20
Elijah Wood/Jet – 18.5
Ben Affleck/N.E.R.D. – 18.5
Al Sharpton/Pink – 17.5
Megan Mullally/Clay Aiken - 14
Drew Barrymore/Kelis – 12