SNL Season 29 – REVEALED!
Episode 7: Al Sharpton/Pink (12/6/03)
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 (12/4/03):
Jason: If there is an episode to miss this season, it's this one. Sketch spoilers leaked today (Thursday, 12/4/03) and they've effectively dampened all hopes I had for a good show.
My first round of pre-show comments had me boasting that based on political hosts past (namely Gore and McCain), this show would most likely pull off some surprisingly good buzz. However, now that it's been leaked that Tracey Morgan is set to cameo in as many as two sketches (one being Hardball - it's second appearance this season), kills the high. Not that I'm against Morgan or anything, but hell, it's only been 6 months since he left.
Also set to appear is another Vasquez Group sketch (also it's showing second this season) and Wakeup Wakefield (first of this season, but probably it's 900th time overall).
Add Pink to this already horrible mix of sketches and you've got more than a viable excuse to skip SNL for any of the following reasons:
Detroit Cobras @ Magic Bag / The Last Samurai @ AMC Forum 30 / Any Holiday Party @ Any of your friend's houses / Sleep @ Your bed / Drying your hair @ Your bathroom / Pirates of the Caribbean DVD @ Best Buy / Email @ Yahoo
SNL Season 29 Episode 7 - WORST! WORST! WORST!
Heather: I must admit, I don't know a whole lot about Sharpton other than the fact that he's running for President in the 2004 elections. But based on recent political hosts, I guess I'd have to lean towards an entertaining show for this week. I'm wondering, though, if Sharpton's hosting duties will spawn a guest appearance by former cast member Tracy Morgan. I've always enjoyed Morgan's portrayals of Sharpton in the past, so it might be pretty funny to actually see them together in a sketch.
I think if there is going to be a real downfall to this show, it's going to be Pink. To me, she has absolutely no buzz.
1. Cold Opening: Address from NBC President
Premise: The NBC President reveals creative ways to get around the political “equal time” broadcast laws
Jason: I did not know certain states refused to air this episode until Saturday morning, so I though this was pretty timely. I was very confident we were going to get a Hardball opener - this was a welcome surprise.
Fallon was decent as the NBC head honcho, but I think those hand gestures were much funnier in his own mind as they actually were to the viewer.
The fake NBC shows to give other Presidential hopefuls equal time were funny, but the short time allotment didn’t seem to give you enough long enough to absorb each one.
Heather: While I barely cracked a smile at this opener, I have to admit it was better than seeing something like Hammond try his hand once again as President Bush. Fallon was an interesting choice and did okay, except for the constant smiling. I wasn’t sure if it was part of the character or simply him trying not to laugh, but per usual, it just bugged me.
Jason: Here comes Morgan. Over the years, Morgan’s Sharpton impressions have made many fans and I’ll admit – I’m one of them. Seeing the two versions of Sharpton was pretty funny as was Sharpton’s dance when the music started. I have to say, this monologue worked better than I thought it would.
Heather: Whoa Sharpton! That dance!! Best. Morgan was decent as his other self, but most laughs went to Sharpton’s moves.
2 ½ Coneys
Premise: Line of jeans made only for Moms
Jason: See Season 28’s Adrien Brody review
Heather: See Season 28’s Adrien Brody review
4. Sketch: Michael Jackson on a roller coaster
Premise: Jackson and friends ride a roller coaster at Neverland Ranch
Jason: I guess this sketch’s appearance should not surprise me. What does shock me is how it made the coveted opening sketch slot. Poehler as Michael Jackson did not work back in February’s Jennifer Garner episode (see Michael Jackson in a Tree), and it does not work here.
Are we supposed to be shocked that Sharpton is playing Cochran? Are we supposed to think we’re seeing groundbreaking comedy when Jackson throws a baby out of the roller coaster? Are we supposed to think Dratch’s Liz Taylor will ever be funny?
This sketch was simply an excuse to throw a bunch of characters together. The writing was lazy (they didn’t even justify a reason for Sanz to be in the coaster) and the acting was even worse.
Heather: Plain and simple, I hate this sketch. I was hoping that we would never see it again after Michael Jackson in a Tree, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. Poehler’s Jackson is like Richard’s Drunk Girl. Actually, I think Drunk Girl might actually be funnier. Seriously, one of her worst characters ever. Nothing about this skit was good and went on entirely too long. Not a good way to keep the viewer’s interest.
5. Sketch: Brian Fellow’s Safari Planet
Premise: The host of an animal showcase can’t keep his mind straight
Jason: After reading sketch spoilers Thursday night, I wasn’t surprised to see this sketch either. I wrote back in May for the Adrien Brody episode (when Fellows last made an appearance) that I would not have to write about this sketch again due to Morgan’s departure. I guess I forgot to take in to account how sloppy the sketch selection process is getting.
Anyway, making this already tired, tired sketch even worse was the addition of Sharpton as Ryan Fellow. His acting really brought the sketch to hell with all his pauses for laughter after blurting “I’m RYAN Fellow”. Not even an appearance by Fey (who’s sketch appearances are no longer all that rare) could save this sinking ship.
Heather: Oh come on!! Yeah, we knew this was coming….but COME ON!!! First of all, Sharpton’s unenthusiastic Ryan Fellows was even worse than Brian, which I would’ve never thought possible. Second of all, what the hell was up with that freaky mechanical baby seal?! If this sketch had even a LITTLE bit of life left to it, it is definitely dead now.
6. Sketch: The Three Wise Men
Premise: The Three Wise Men get hassled by the police on their way to Bethlehem
Jason: Morgan again? I don’t think he got back-to-back sketches (plus a monologue bit) during his entire actual SNL career.
This sketch was OK. Sort of funny in the same way last season’s Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory (Gore episode) sketch was funny. The lines were not laugh out loud, but the situation was. I’m starting to wonder if Keenan Thompson can do any facial expressions besides:
a) Wide eye shocked
b) Entire face spanning smiling
c) Straight faced confused
Just the same, this will surely end up in Best of Christmas specials for years to come.
Heather: Uhhhh…..is Morgan co-hosting with Sharpton?? Is this gonna be like the Roddick episode where we saw McEnroe in every other sketch??
The idea for this skit was pretty good, but just didn’t have the acting behind it to live up to it’s potential. Fallon seemed kind of lame. I think Forte would’ve been better as the cop. And the wise men?? I’ll give Sharpton the benefit of the doubt, because obviously comedy isn’t his forte. But Thompson seriously needs to branch out a bit in his technique. Even Morgan just seemed to be reciting his lines. Kind of disappointing when I think of how funny this could’ve been.
7. Music – Pink #1
Jason: Not to sound mean, but Pink is ugly and annoying. I slept when this aired live and fast forwarded when I watched the episode again for review notes.
Heather: I actually watched this performance in its entirety, just to give it a chance. Unfortunately all I realized was that I’d just lost 5 minutes of my life that I’d never get back.
8. Weekend Update
Jason: Can Fey/Fallon deliver another prime WU after the superb Baldwin episode installment? Yep.
Memorable jokes this time around were Jessica Simpson and husband trying for a baby, George W’s plan for the Moon, Don Pardo saying “Suck it Des Moines” and my new favorite panda “Pimp Pimp”.
What will keep people talking about this WU will no doubt be the Fallon/Paris Hilton interview. While the jokes about “checking in” and “double occupancy” in the real Hilton hotel in Paris were pretty juvenile and uninspired, Fallon’s boyish delivery made you chuckle. And how out of it did Paris look?
Heather: Honestly, I didn’t find this week’s Weekend Update to be all that great. The “Tina and Jimmy yelling at cities that refuse to watch SNL tonight” was decent and Pimp Pimp the panda was the cutest, but nothing really stood out to me as being particularly hilarious.
The interview between Fallon and Paris Hilton had me chuckling a bit, but overall it just seemed weird. Fallon’s manner of speaking was immature, but at least he seemed natural which made his comments somewhat laughable. Hilton was just freaking me out with the way she kept looking straight at the camera. I mean, must she ALWAYS be in this robot model mode?? Come on girl!! You’re on SNL!!
9. Sketch: Old Movie
Premise: African American actors question their Hollywood roles/stereotypes
Jason: Well, you get one of these sketches nearly every time an African American hosts. Let’s see how many Black stereotypes we can bring up again this time? This sketch reeked of something that I would have expected in the disastrous Bernie Mac episode from last season.
I also hate to bring it up again, but why is Morgan in ANOTHER sketch? He seriously did not get this much airtime in a one episode during his actual SNL stint. There are only two reasons for this in my opinion:
Whatever the reason, I’m sick of these blacksploitation sketches every time SNL gets an African American host. I know I’m a hypocrite for saying this after praising The Three Wise Men when it pretty much did the same thing, but that one at least made me laugh!
Heather: I seriously don’t understand how SNL writers can write some of the funniest shit ever, and at the same time, come up with just plain shit like this. How many times is the topic of black stereotypes going to come up tonight?? How is this even funny?? I know they’re important issues, but I’m not here to learn about racism and sexism! I’m here to fucking laugh people!!!
10. Sketch/Commercial: Al Sharpton’s Case de Sushi
Premise: Sharpton promotes a new Sushi restaurant
Jason: While better than McConaughey’s Red Hot Texas Chili and Derek Jeter’s Taco Hole, these types of host sketch/commercials haven’t really worked since Steve Martin’s All Natural Penis Beauty Cream back in 1994.
The only thing that really made me laugh was Shaprton’s reactions to the sushi menu items (“Gross”, “Yuck”) and Poehler and Forte’s rapping moves.
Heather: This wasn’t a hilarious sketch by any means, but it’s at least headed in the right direction. We all know that Sharpton isn’t a comic genius, but I did laugh at his descriptions of the dishes on his menu, only because they actually seemed like his actual opinions. The accompanying song was amusing as well.
11. Sketch: Democrats Watching SNL
Premise: The other Democratic presidential hopefuls host an SNL party
Jason: So this is what other SNL parties look like? I’m so used to our own!
While this didn’t hold a candle to the 2000 Presidential Primary sketches (Season 26), I do enjoy these ensemble pieces featuring politicians in their free time. Forte absolutely stole the show as the butt-kissing Edwards. Meyers (in his only appearance tonight) was also dead on as Kerry. Coming off two questionable sketches, this was welcomed relief.
Heather: Democratic SNL parties!! This was good, especially compared to most of the skits tonight. Forte and Meyers were exceptional as Edwards and Kerry, respectively. I also chuckled at Richard’s face when the others were trying to get him worked up and put his hand through a wall.
12. Music: Pink #2
Jason: VOMIT POOP!!
Heather: She has got to have the stupidest lyrics ever.
Jason: Two Jackson based sketches in the same episode? At this point I think I’d rather have the rumored/dress rehearsed Hardball or Wakeup Wakefield.
Although it was nice to see Maya expand her range by playing a character that didn’t sound like every other one she does, she still managed to come across as annoying. Unless we are talking about Fiesta Politica or Tennis Talk, I think I’m physically unable to laugh at this woman. Sharpton’s take on Joe Jackson didn’t help the cause much either.
Saving grace came late in the sketch with Keenan providing a decent Chaka Khan impression. Armisen was also OK as the Belgian Michael Jackson impersonator, but the voice he used was the same as his Leonard character from Club Traxx.
Heather: I have to say, Rudolph does seem to do a great LaToya. Unfortunately, this sketch was not great. I pretty much wanted it to end from the minute it started. Keenan did look pretty funny as Chaka Khan. I just wish he would’ve put a little more into the character so it didn’t just seem like Keenan in drag. Armisen was also somewhat entertaining as the Michael Jackson impersonator. Overall though, I could’ve done without this skit.
14. Sketch: Vasquez Driving Service
Premise: Recurring Sanz character drives Sharpton
Jason: I give Sanz/SNL credit for establishing this Vasquez character and making him recurring simply by dropping him in completely un-related sketches every time he shows up. Vasquez has hosted a talk show and taken various self-help/instructional courses in the past, now he comes to us “sans” (pun-intended) his group as a chauffer.
This latest Vasquez romp is basically on par with the others. His seemingly never ending random comments were consistently funny all the way through this one. Too bad Sharpton’s acting (I honestly don’t think he’s even tried tonight) keep the momentum from gaining full stride.
Heather: I grow to love Vasquez more and more every time I see him. He’s just such a sweetheart!! “Sometimes my gramma pees when she sneezes!” It was a shame that Sharpton had to bring it down though. Why don’t you slur your lines a little Al? At least it ended on a good note with Armisen. “I’d like to go to the West Side Highway please. Anywhere!”
1 ½ Coneys
Jason: See Andy Roddick review
Heather: See Andy Roddick review
16. Sketch: Cash on Earth
Jason: I liked this one. Although, before Hammond said anything, I thought this was going to be a bad attempt to re-create Will Ferrell’s Neil Diamond character. Alas, it was Johnny Cash though – similar to Diamond in costumed appearance only.
Hammond’s voice impression was 100% perfect. The box set flying around with angel wings was pretty clever too. I’m glad something partially funny ended this snooze fest of an episode.
Heather: This was completely unexpected, but it was nice to see a decent closing sketch. Hammond did an excellent rendition of the late Johnny Cash. Loved the flying box set!
Jason: As I predicted in my pre-show comments, this was not a memorable episode. Even though all the reported “scheduled” dress rehearsal sketches did not make it to air, this episode still managed to get yawns.
Very little about this installment seemed inspired and the whole thing played out as a 90 minute publicity stunt on two separate fronts – the “shock value” of a Presidential hopeful hosting a comedy show and Morgan’s no doubt corporate mandated appearance. But hey, it worked for what they wanted it be. When I hopped online Sunday morning, what was the first headline I saw on Yahoo News? “Sharpton Hosts Saturday Night Live”. So I guess to Lorne and NBC’s credit, this show did manage to get exactly what it was designed for – publicity. I’m sure they got the ratings to match as well.
In the end, Sharpton/Morgan and crew have barely managed to beat Ripa to avoid being Season 29’s worst offering to date (although, 6 coneys technically came from other episodes). Let’s hope Elijah Wood and whoever the hell Jet is can fare better next weekend.
21.5 out of 64 Coneys
Heather: Well, my pre-show comments couldn’t have been farther from the truth and unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to change remarks beforehand. About the only thing that held up was Morgan’s appearance, which was more like co-hosting duty. However, I did not anticipate him to be in as many sketches as he was. Too bad it didn’t make a bit of difference as far as any comedy aspects went. I did expect a little more out of Sharpton, but I guess I’m not all that surprised that he ended up being, more or less, a dud on camera.
17.5 out of 64 Coneys
SNL Coney Rankings: Season 29 – REVEALED!
Andy Roddick/Dave Matthews – 41.5
Jack Black/John Mayer – 34.5
Justin Timberlake - 30
Alec Baldwin/Missy Elliot – 28.5
Halle Berry/Britney Spears - 27
Al Sharpton/Pink – 21.5
Kelly Ripa/Outkast - 19
Jack Black/John Mayer – 34.5
Andy Roddick/Dave Matthews – 28.5
Justin Timberlake – 26.5
Halle Berry/Britney Spears – 24
Alec Baldwin/Missy Elliot - 24
Kelly Ripa/Outkast – 20
Al Sharpton/Pink – 17.5