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Gore Buzz

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by Nummer and H-Bomb

Episode 8: Al Gore / Phish (12/14/02)

FOUR CONEYS! = John Belushi
THREE CONEYS! = Amy Poehler
TWO CONEYS! = Tim Meadows
ONE CONEY! = Melanie Hutzel
HALF A CONEY! = Charles Rocket
No CONEYS! = Self-Explanatory

Gore Buzz

Oh Fee

0-10 Coneys – Garbage
11-20 Coneys – Needs Improvement
21-30 Coneys – Average
31-40 Coneys – Above Average
41-50 Coneys - Instant Classic
51+ Coneys - Unparalleled Comic Genius

OAD = Original Air Date*

(*To be fair, coneys will be awarded the same as they were the first time they aired)


It's no secret. I'm excited as ever for this episode. Those who know me know Phish holds a place in my Top 3 Bands of all time. Along with making this their first ever SNL stop, this will also be their first public performance since 10/7/00 - the last show before the band went on a self imposed hiatus. Now the band is back together, touring like mad in 2003 and the new studio album just came out Tuesday! They should be a good way to close out SNL's last show of 2002.

As for Gore, I voted for George W back in 2000 and don't regret it for a second. I didn't like Gore as Vice President and I sure as hell didn't want him as the President. Needless to say, I'm 100% not a Gore fan. I don't really understand the reasoning behind SNL's choice for him, but I'll give it a fair chance. People I generally don't like in real life have consistently surprised me with their SNL performances in the past (Ray Romano for example). We'll see.

In other SNL news, NBC has announced there will be a Primetime SNL Christmas Special next Tuesday (12/17) at 8:00. Review pending.

I am almost afraid to even try and predict how the Al Gore episode will turn out. I tried to be optimistic with DeNiro, and that show ended up tying with Gellar for worst episode of the season thus far. I find Gore incredibly annoying. Truthfully, I don't even know why he is hosting. They took a chance already this season with McCain, which turned out awesome, but Gore?? I really think SNL should've quit while they were ahead. Can't say I have any big expectations for the show this week. Season 28. So far not holding a candle to Season 27.

Also, I'm not at all a Phish fan. Not that I don't like them. I just never got into them.

Cold Opening: Al and Tipper Gore
Premise: Gore is very relieved to see his wife after they are briefly separated

What the hell? This was the last thing I expected! Al and Tipper kissed for nearly 2.5 minutes straight on live TV! The long-term implications of this were debated quite heavily on the Sunday morning political news shows. Although it wasn’t the funniest thing ever, it was a very different approach to the openers Season 28 has been belting out lately. Original.

The possible best moment of Season 28 also happened during this sketch. While Al and Tipper were making out, Fallon and Lorne were forced to make small talk. At one point, Fallon mentioned over the holiday break he would be in LA looking over scripts for sitcoms next fall. For a moment I saw Heaven! A Fallon-free SNL. Alas, it was just a joke and a Google search on Sunday revealed Fallon’s contract runs until 2004. Season 30 has some serious buzz now.

This was a great opener!! Not at all what I expected, which made it even better. I really like it when Lorne Michaels randomly shows up in skits. And Gore. I was totally anticipating a robot, but he was actually pretty energetic and almost….natural! Morgan showing up in his jacket from last week’s DeNiro episode to tazer Gore away from Tipper was funny. And Fallon mentioning he was leaving the show for some sitcom in L.A.?? Best EVS (even if it was just a joke)!!

Monologue: DeNiro

I wasn’t sure how this portion of the show would play out. Gore can be a very boring and wooden speaker. I really thought this could quickly repeat the uncomfortable “rushed” feeling DeNiro’s monologue had last week. I was wrong.

Gore spoke about how tough it was to pick a running mate back in the 2000 election. He revealed he used a Bachelor type approach to the whole thing and it came down to three people. I didn’t think we would see a Bachelor parody again since it was done very well recently on the McCormack episode, but this one was just as good. Parnell as Lieberman was creepy and of course, Armisen gets props for playing a silly violin player. Gore. So far off to a great start.

WWhoa Gore!! Who knew he could be that funny?? It’s interesting how some of these politicians have been much better actors during the monologues than some of the actual actors that have recently hosted. It was amusing to see Gore poke fun at his attempt to become president in a very sincere way. And the way they used the Bachelor spoof to show how he picked Lieberman for his vice-presidential candidate was great!! The hot tub scene with Gore and Lieberman (Parnell) fantasizing about the “lockbox” was hilarious. All in all, I was very impressed with Gore.

Sketch: Hardball
Premise: Hammond plays Chris Matthews in a spoof of MSNBC’s news show “Hardball”

Yes! I love this sketch. The Hardball appearance with McCain was brilliant and I’m not at all surprised to see it returning for Gore.

This time around, the topic focused on Trent Lott’s (played by Gore) recent comments at Strom Thurmond’s 100th birthday party that the world wouldn’t have so many problems if we would have voted then pro-segregationist Thurmond President in 1948.

Morgan returned as “dependable lunatic” Al Sharpton who was so mad he simply made up words and faces. Poehler was pretty good as Democratic advisor Amy Sanborne, but she did mess up a line – seldom for Poehler. It was Hammond who stole the show though. He kept firing off lines like “Republicans want to outlaw kitty cats”, “Republicans want ‘Baby Got Back’ to be the National Anthem” and “Republicans want to put Osama Bin Laden on the Supreme Court”. Best.

Awesome!! This sketch is so good. Everytime I see it, I laugh my ass off. This latest installment was no exception. Gore as Trent Lott was so great!! As was Morgan as Al Sharpton, who was so angry at Lott’s comment about how segregationist Senator Thurmond would’ve made the world better by becoming president, that he started making up his own words and faces. It was also nice to see Poehler for a change. However, Hammond’s constant sarcastic remarks certainly made this skit what it was. Responding to a remark by Lott concerning his statement on Thurmond: “ Senator, you’re shedding a little light on situation. Unfortunately, the light is coming from a cross you just set on fire.” Hilarious!!!

Sketch: Fiesta Politica
Premise: Rudolph plays Rebecca – a sassy talk political talk show host with little real interest in politics

This sketch made its debut in the November 2001 Gwyneth Paltrow episode. It was hilarious then and it was hilarious now. While Rudolph is good in this sketch, it’s the supporting characters who make it great. I’m talking about Sanz’s goofy announcer (“Ohhhh, Foreign Oil!!”), Gary the dog and the debut of Armisen’s “Poco-Loco”. Poco-Loco is already up there with Armisen’s Ferecito. When Poco-Loco stuck his head around the door and asked “Who wants to know who’s getting bananas”, I about spit up my beer. Armisen. The buzz may never stop.

I’ve missed this skit! Sanz is excellent as the announcer. “Oohhhh….foreign oiiilll!” And Armisen!!! So perfect as tv actor Poco-Loco, complete with overalls and afro. I was so happy to see him in skit as an actual character. And of course, the sketch wouldn’t be complete with “oooohhh…Gaaarrry”, the chihuahua. So cute!!!

Pre-recorded vignette: Al Gore visits the set of The West Wing
Premise: Gore pretends to be president while visiting the Hollywood set

Cameos everywhere! West Wing regulars Martin Sheen, Allison Janney, John Spencer, Richard Schiff and Bradley Whitford all played themselves. There were a few funny moments, but the one joke premise started to drag. I’ve also never seen an episode of The West Wing so I lost that connection as well.

This was an ok skit. However, the idea of Gore wanting to sit in the oval office set of the West Wing and act like he’s president was predictable from the get-go. It was kind of a neat idea for a sketch because it was such a different approach, but it went on a little too long.

Sketch: Jarret’s Room
Premise: Recurring sketch in which college burnouts host a show streamed over the internet

Uggh. Already? This sketch was just on two episodes ago with Brittany Murphy where it earned a strong ZERO CONEY count.

At first, this installment looked to fare no better. Gore played a college professor who informed Jarret and Gobe they haven’t attended class in years and blah blah blah blah typical college humor. But wait, is that PHISH? The entire band made a cameo which personally forced me to set aside the Fallon haterade. The jokes about Trey looking like Chuck Norris were pretty good and when Gobe broke out the beer flute to play Phish’s “Contact” with the band, Jarret’s Room officially reached it’s best level since the 2/02 Britney Spears episode. Props to Phish for stretching back to their 1988 album Junta for the song selection too!

I was very surprised to see this sketch, especially since Gore is not a hot young girl host. Halfway during the skit it became clear the only reason it made it on the show was for Phish. They seem like ok guys, but this was such a boring skit. The only thing that was a little funny was Sanz mistaking Trey Anastasio for Chuck Norris.

Music: Phish

The band played a slightly trimmed down version of “46 Days” off the new album Round Room released this week. I love Phish. What can I say?

Sorry Jason. I know you love em, but I didn’t. I actually think this is where I officially started falling asleep. But I’ll give them ½ Coney for looking like their having fun.

Weekend Update

This may have been the best WU since Richard’s Baby K said “I’m gonna get this party started” during the McCormack episode. The jokes were consistently funny (although there were about FIVE regarding Lott’s controversial comment) and the guest pairing of Poehler and Dratch worked extremely well. They played call girls employed at the Moonlight Bunny Ranch – a spoof on a recent HBO documentary. Poehler, as Coast Guard Carrie, revealed that they make $10,000 a minute giving things like missionary parties or backdoor parties! Poehler also grabbed her boobs on the way out! Hot. Solid Update.

Wow Trent Lott / Strom Thurmond jokes!! I knew there would be some, but they just kept a comin’!! Poehler and Dratch as Coast Guard Carrie and Vidalas, working girls from the Moonlight Bunny Ranch, were pretty good. Poehler’s flaky laugh and comment, “ We make like $10,000 a minute,” were best!! And revealed….Fallon is a virgin!! Hehe. Decent Weekend Update.

Sketch: Daily Affirmations with Stuart Smalley
Premise: Al Franken plays a self-help talk show host

WHAT THE FUCK? When this came on Heather had to ask me if I left on the E! channel during the commercial break. Daily Affirmations has not been seen since the 1995 Bob Saget/TLC episode. Why the comeback after 7 years? Who knows? My theory is that Franken, being the very outspoken liberal he is, probably jumped at the chance to work with Gore and asked Lorne if he could bring this back.

Although the concept is very old and played out, it was sort of refreshing to see this again. Hearing Phil Hartman’s intro on live TV was sort of eerie, but overall the sketch worked. Smalley came right out and blamed his extended absence on being hit by a bus. He then welcomed Al and Tipper to the show and forced Al to apologize to himself for being so upset about losing the 2000 election.

While I don’t really want to see the sketch become a regular recurring segment in 2003, it was nice to see it here.

I actu: Uuuhhh…..huh?? This was weird. Pretty much because we haven’t seen this sketch since 95. However, I always thought this was a decent skit. Al Franken as Stuart Smalley always manages to crack me up. Gore was pretty amusing as well.

Sketch: Channel 36 Afternoon Matinee: Willy Wonka
Premise: Wonka hands over the factory to Charlie, but first they need to go over the paperwork with the factory accountant

This was hilarious. Richards was perfect as Gene Wilder and Poehler as Charlie? Genius. Surprisingly, it was Gore who stole the show as Willy’s brother Glenn Wonka – the factory accountant. Glenn stressed how all the psychedelic goings on in the factory are really affecting the company’s bottom line.

The lines weren’t all laugh out loud funny in this, but the dry humor of Glenn bitching about the reality of running a chocolate factory in this manner was extremely funny to me. Cameos by Armisen and Forte as Oompa Loompas didn’t hurt anything either.

Go Richards!! His brief singing was awesome! I also found Gore’s wig extremely hilarious!! And Armisen and Forte Oompa Loompas!! Too bad they didn’t have any real lines. While I found the dialog pretty boring, the costumes provided some comic relief.

A Cartoon by Robert Smigel: A Charlie Brown Christmas
Premise: Another look at the Christmas classic

Very funny. The concept revolved around the scene in the original Charlie Brown special where the gang simply huddles around the dead XMAS tree picked up by Charlie and Linus, wave their arms around, and it magically becomes a beautiful little tree.

The gang goes around town turning a dirty whore into X-Tina, rusted out car frames into nice sports cars and Schroeder and Pigpen into PHISH! The second half of the cartoon was now under the soundtrack of Phish’s own “You Enjoy Myself”(also from 1988’s Junta) – making this the second sketch to use Phish music! I can’t remember the last time a musical guest was utilized this much.

Robert Smigel. Super Genius. This is one of the best TV Funhouses I’ve seen. It’s right up there with The Smurfette Show. The peanuts gang go from transforming Peppermint Patty and Marcy into bikini-clad lesbians to making Ben Affleck’s hand bigger for J. Lo’s “fat ass” simply by waving their arms! Outstanding!!

Music: Phish

The band performed the longtime fan favorite “Chalkdust Torture” from 1992’s A Picture of Nectar. Although the sound mix was horrible (almost as bad as the 1999 Foo Fighters disaster), I still enjoyed every second.

Again, struggling to stay awake.

Sketch: Morgan and Rudolph
Premise: Recurring theme with the two performers complaining about something

Well, the Gore episode hot streak had to end somewhere. I can’t believe how many times this has been brought back. The last few have been awful and often receive embarrassingly small audience reactions. This one had a semi-funny song though.

I don’t know why they keep insisting on putting this Morgan / Rudolph duo sketch on. While the characters at least somewhat vary, the fact that these skits suck doesn’t. They just aren’t funny.

Holiday Vignette: Christmas Song
Song by Sanz, Fallon, Morgan and Kattan

I’ve always liked this song. The four were dressed in ridiculous costumes this time around too. A perfect way to end what has been one of the best SNL episodes in a long time.

I was almost getting scared they weren’t going to play this one. This SNL Season Greeting is a great little skit. The song is so catchy and they all do a good job of making it funny. Great closing sketch!!

Closing Comments

WOW! This episode was amazing. Easily the most solid of Season 28 thus far. While my political views of Gore remain unchanged, I did gain some respect for him. I knew going in he would be making fun of himself for the 2000 election, but I didn’t think it would come off this well. Gone were my worries about his wooden speaking style ruining sketches too.

The show and Gore’s recent publicity blitz were talked about so much during the Sunday morning political talk shows, it came as quite a surprise when Gore announced Sunday afternoon he would not be running for President in 2004. Probably a good idea after some of the stuff he did on the show. Making out with your wife for nearly 3 minutes was not very Presidential-like.

And Phish! Perfect! Tickets for the first leg of the 2003 tour went on sale Saturday morning and they sold out EVERY CITY in under 5 minutes. Every city! Tickets showed up on eBay minutes later for $200. I was even shut out with my Cincinnati and Chicago attempts (luckily a friend took advantage of Phish’s traditional pre-order ticket by mail service a few weeks ago and secured a few extras). Like them or not, they are one of the biggest bands in America. Can’t wait to see more of these guys next year.

We now have roughly a month before the next live SNL. As of now, there is no word on hosting or musical guest duties. It will also be interesting to see if any featured players get promoted over the break (ala Poehler in 2001). In the meantime, don’t forget the primetime Christmas Special on 12/17!

Great show!! I hadn’t laughed this much since the Vardalos episode back in early November. I must say, I was most impressed with Gore and his complete transformation from robot politician to lively funny guy. I still wouldn’t vote for him as president (which I guess I don’t have to worry about now anyway), but I do hold a higher opinion of him now. While his actions in his previous presidential campaign totally turned me off from him as a politician, this SNL stint revealed that he is actually on ok guy.

I wish I had better comments for Phish. I really don’t hate them, although compared to Jason’s remarks it would seem that I do!! I just never got into them and honestly don’t see what the big deal is. I guess I’ll just say it’s not my type of music and leave it at that.

Good show overall!!


44 out of 56 Coneys.

32.5 Coneys out of a possible 56.

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