SNL Season 29 – REVEALED!
Episode 16: Donald Trump/Toots and the Maytals* (4/3/04)
*with Ben Harper, Bootsy Collins, The Roots and Jack Johnson
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 (4/2/04):
Jason: This will be a very interesting SNL. On one hand, you have Donald Trump - a man who Hammond has been spoofing like mad lately. On the other hand, you have some kind of musical ensemble piece attempting to cram as many people on stage as possible (why not just book The Funk Brothers?). Basically, this show could sink or swim...and neither outcome would honestly surprise me.
I'm actually not expecting much out of Trump. I have a feeling he's not going to take the hosting responsibilities all that seriously. I do expect him to bring some energy to the show though. Let's just hope they keep the sketches where a cast member plays Trump to a minimum. That idea is getting played out!
As for the Toots? They are a reggae band that started out in the 1960's. I'm pretty sure some of the original members are gone, hence the Bootsy and Roots addition. At one point this week, there were rumors Jack Johnson and Ben Harper were also going to be involved. Time will tell.
Look for Sanz to mention his NYC bar incident as well. I'm sure this will most likely be on Weekend Update - no doubt with Fallon cracking up (since he was reportably at the bar with Sanz).
Heather: Trump and Toots...what a combination!!! I'm not a real big fan of "The Apprentice," nor have I ever even closely followed Trump's career, but I have to say that "The Onionloaf" jokes from a few episodes back definitely had me laughing. Who knows if Trump himself will even come close to that kind of humor (I doubt it), but his hosting this week just might be crazy enough to work. As long as ALL the sketches don't revolve around "You're Fired," I'd bet dollars for donuts they might just get away with a decent show.
I had NEVER heard of Toots and the Maytals until last Sunday, so I really don't have much by way of comment. I'm sure it will be amusing in an absurdly ridiculous sort of way.
1. Cold Opening: The SNL Apprentice
Premise: Trump must fire a cast member
Jason: Seeing as I’ve never seen an episode of The Apprentice, I can’t fully appreciate seeing Trump’s counterparts on the show. The only thing they really contributed was Trump reaction after “George” said the dress rehearsal sucked. The totally awkward “that’s what she said” from Carolyn didn’t strike me as necessary either.
The combination of Poehler, Finesse and Fallon was kind of random. I did like watching both Trump and Lorne fire Fallon though! Totally best. Too bad he ruined it with his incredibly bad taped “confession” piece.
By use of this sketch, hopefully Trump and SNL have gotten the “You’re Fired” catch phrase out of the way and can move on.
Heather: Greeeaaat….an Apprentice sketch right off the bat. This was an obvious sketch choice, so it’s no surprise we saw it. Although I was hoping to maybe get a little more into the show before hearing Trump’s now trademarked catchphrase, “You’re fired.” While I didn’t mind Trump calling Fallon out on being the “idiot who laughed the whole time” during dress rehearsal, this was just too long and predictable to provide any real humor. And the fact that Finesse was trying to rip off Tracy Morgan’s “bad-ass” attitude towards Lorne really rubbed me the wrong way. Opener or not though, I’m not sure I would’ve really like this sketch at any point in the show.
Jason: Hammond (as Trump) and the real Trump together at last. Might as well get it out of the way early. The “You’re Fired” phrase made multiple appearances here. Hopefully it will be gone for good post-monologue.
Seeing Fallon get fired for a second time was also pretty amusing, but not enough to save this overall boring monologue.
Heather: Wow, get a room with yourself Trump!! His lines may seem like jokes because he’s on SNL, but this guy is probably completely serious about how “best” he is. In fact, I’m pretty sure he wasn’t even reading the cue cards. Hammond’s emergence as Trump’s replacement was totally expected. However, I did chuckle a bit at his twist on the hand movements when saying, “You’re fired.” If only Fallon hadn’t showed up with his dumb Jeff Zucker character, this might’ve been ok. At least Trump seems comfortable doing live TV.
Premise: A preview of the children’s version of Fear Factor
Jason: “He’s catching up…you gotta run…here comes the clown” . Armisen again shows his comedic talents with this finely crafted spoof of Fear Factor. How NBC got all those kids to interact with bugs is beyond me! Easily the highlight of the show so far. Look for this to be injected into future episodes.
Heather: From start to finish, this whole sketch was best! My personal favorite was the kid thrown into a lake from plane in a straightjacket and blindfold, hitting the water at what seemed like 60 mph. Armisen only added to the humor as host Joe Rogan. “You have to eat all the maggots, preserving the eggs benedict. If the breakfast isn’t good enough, your parents are getting a divorce.” Hilarious!!
4. Sketch: Live with Regis and Kelly
Premise: Recurring spoof of the popular morning show
Jason: Another phoned in installment of Regis and Kelly. At this point, a monkey could write this cookie cutter sketch. What makes it even worse, this is now the third sketch of the episode to feature “You’re Fired”.
I was also bracing for Kattan’s second return this season as Gellman. Much to my surprise however, Dratch has stepped in to fill the role – rather badly I might add.
Heather: Another typical Regis and Kelly sketch. Regis rants and raves about has been celebrities while Kelly shouts she doesn’t know who he’s talking about and hangs on him. There was one new element with Dratch replacing Kattan as Gellman. But trust me, it didn’t make the sketch any better. In fact, it kind of made me miss Kattan in the role. Trump, of course, played himself with the super-ego. Is anyone else noticing this disturbing pattern??
5. Sketch: Backstage with Star Jones
Premise: Trump encounters Star Jones backstage at SNL
Jason: Horrible. Will Trump play a character at all tonight? Mark up another mention of The Apprentice as well.
Note to Keenan: write yourself some better recurring characters.
Heather: Huh??! Was this really necessary?? What a totally stupid waste of airtime.
6. Sketch: Trump’s House of Wings
Premise: Donald Trump opens a chicken wings restaurant
Jason: Here is Trump playing himself yet again! This time he’s purchased an abandoned Meineke Muffler Shop and converted into a chicken wing restaurant. I liked this idea the first two times they did it – with Derek Jeter and Al Sharpton (albeit both had different themed restaurants). I was also pretty shocked that both these past sketches were actually mentioned at the end – at least SNL admits they are recycling.
How the hell was the song breaks getting such a huge audience response too? Was Trump paying audience members per laugh?
FYI: “You’re Fired” makes another appearance – this time as “You’re Fryered”
Heather: Seriously, is Trump ONLY going to be playing himself ALL night?! You’d think that maybe he’d want to get out of his skin for a night and try some different characters. Like past skits “Derek Jeter’s Taco Hole” and “Al Sharpton’s Case de Sushi,” which were in fact mentioned, this was just another obvious attempt at humor for hosts who don’t have any real comedic background. Complete with the characteristic song and dance routine, I really felt like the writers weren’t even trying with this one. About the only thing I cracked a smile at was Trump’s dancing and off beat clapping.
7. Music: Toots and the Maytals – with Jack Johnson and Ben Harper
Jason: This was OK, but still pretty forgettable. Mr. Toot sure does look a lot like Robert Bradley though.
Heather: Sorry folks. I’m not really into this reggae business.
8. Weekend Update
Jason: In a rare opening change for the Fey/Fallon Update series, WU started as “Weekend Trumpdate” this time around. Will the reach of Trump leave anything alone?
This was a horrible installment of WU. The only good joke was about Norah Jones turning 25, while her fans turned 50. Other than that, Maya played some random Apprentice character and Fey made more “oh snap” jokes. Horrible.
Heather: Come on!!! ANOTHER HORRIBLE UPDATE?!?!! Remember when you used to be able to count on WU to bring forth some laughs even during the worst of episodes?? Well, I guess those days are gone. First of all, that opening, Weekend “Trump”date? Not funny. Plus, I didn’t find a single joke even remotely amusing. And to top it off, we are yet again tormented to watch Rudolph as the special guest, this time as, big surprise, former Apprentice contestant Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth. Tell me, who was the genius that came up with all of the shit falling on her head, because it was totally unexpected! What…wait a minute….is Rudolf reverting back to her screaming Versace voice?? Shocking!! And what is going on with Fallon’s squeal / giggle throughout all of this nonsense?? Fucking garbage.
9. Sketch: The Prince and the Pauper
Premise: A business man trades places with a janitor
Jason: If SNL is going to insist on Trump playing himself (or Trump-like characters), this sketch wasn’t completely horrible. Although the dreaded “You’re Fired” was mentioned yet again, this sketch did have some redeeming points. Trump talking about how many times the “tiger and lady picture” gets him laid was funny, as was Hammond’s janitor character’s description of the simple life. Two bad Mya’s horrible voiceover kept the sketch from getting more coneys.
Heather: Ugh. Another Trump based sketch. Any amusement I got from Trump, be it the real deal or Hammond, is officially gone.
10. Sketch: Father and Son
Premise: A son longs to be closer with his father
Jason: Following in the footsteps of Over Here Guys and the Saddam/Osama phone calls, this sketch was nothing more than a vehicle to get Fallon and Sanz together again. The character breaking laughter (welcome in the aforementioned sketches) was nearly unbearable this time around. Some say unwatchable.
Heather: Whaaat?! Trump is actually playing a character other than himself?! I think this could’ve been much funnier had it not been for Sanz and Fallon’s blundering attempts at the father and son guests. The constant laughter between the two was beyond annoying. Why wasn’t Forte in this sketch?? Where is he?!
11. Sketch: 9/11 Hearings
Premise: Richard Clarke testifies
Jason: At first I was happy to see another congressional hearing type sketch. When these are done well (see the early 1990’s), they are easily episode highlights.
However, this time around proved to be nothing more than more Bush jokes and other topical humor jokes. Note to SNL: the Janet Jackson Super Bowl incident happened over two months ago! Move on!
Judging by the audience response, I can safely say this thing bombed.
Heather: I felt like I was actually watching the hearings on CNN rather than a comedy sketch. Hey…the president is dumb and likes to drink beer on the job!! Brilliant fucking writing people.
12. Music #2: Toots and the Maytals – with Bootsy Collins and
Jason: This time Mr. Toots looks like Aaron Nevelle!
Heather: See Toots #1.
13. Sketch: The Apprentice Band Rehearsal
Premise: Trump’s band prepares for a Battle of the Bands contest
Jason: Another Apprentice spoof?
Although seeing Trump put absolutely no effort towards playing the keyboard was semi amusing, this sketch pretty much bombed as well. I’m sure Maya wrote is so she could sing on TV again. Unless Armisen wrote it and Maya requested she get to sing. She sucks.
Heather: I honestly cannot believe that I am watching a recurring sketch in the SAME EPISODE!!!! I must admit the band practice idea was an interesting twist, but truthfully, these skits seemed like they should’ve been the ones lying on the cutting room floor.
Jason: Nearly one year ago on 4/5/03, the disastrous Bernie Mac/Good Charlotte episode aired. I gave it 13 coneys overall and hoped we would never see an episode this bad again. Fast-forward one year to Trump/Toots – I’ve again learned the lesson that hope can be crushed! We now have a new leader in the lowest coney race.
This episode was nothing more than a 90 minute commercial for NBC, Donald Trump and The Apprentice. SNL, who once lashed out against network big wigs, have grown soft in their 29 years on the air. Sketch writing like this would have never passed in the glory days. Nothing about tonight’s episode showed original thinking or effort. No screen time for Will Forte also severely weakened the show.
Sadly, I sincerely doubt next week’s Janet Jackson episode will fare any better.
12 Coneys out of 52
Heather: Wow…that was a bad show. Not only were 90% of the sketches about Trump himself, they just plain sucked as well!! This episode was sloppy and unoriginal at best. Where was the Smigel cartoon mentioned in the opening credits?? Where the hell was Forte?! Hands down, worst show of the season. Way to go Onionloaf…looks like maybe you aren’t the best after all.
8 ½ out of 52 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. – 22.5
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
Donald Trump/Toots and the Maytals - 12
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
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
Donald Trump/Toots and the Maytals – 8.5