February 6, 2011

SNL Recap: Dana Carvey / Linkin Park

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Although Dana Carvey may not have had as much post-SNL success as his fellow cast-members, like Mike Myers, Adam Sandler and Chris Rock, he remains upbeat and zany as ever.  After having starred in the brief ABC sketch comedy series, The Dana Carvey Show, in 1996, Carvey has remained relatively low-key, presumably raising his family far away from the Hollywood limelight.  Last night marked the fourth time that Carvey has returned to the SNL stage, and it’s hard to believe that this 55-year-old man still carries the same energy as the cast-members, some of whom are nearly half his age.  However, past cast-member hosts bring incredibly high expectations.

Cold Open – You could actually hear a few audience members shrieking as the Wayne’s World logo came across the screen.  Mike Myers made an essential cameo, serving as Carvey’s counterpart in this  ’90s sketch, as they ripped through this year’s Oscar nominations.  It’s been a while since we’ve seen this classic SNL sketch; so long, in fact, that Garth (Carvey) yelled “since the last time you saw me, I got pubes!” (That’s also a reference to epic classic film, Wayne’s World 2). Although it was great to see Myers and Carvey back on the same stage together, I probably would have been a little more ecstatic if I were older when this sketch became a cultural phenomenon.

Monologue – Another reunion of sorts occurred when Carvey’s fellow cast-member, Jon Lovitz, stopped in during the monologue.  Together, the two SNL alumni reminisced in song about how the 1986 through1993 SNL cast was “the best.”  The chemistry between the two were obvious and a joy to watch.

I-Sleep Pro – Although this commercial was repeated from one of the first episodes of this current season, it probably remains one of my favorites.  So, I enjoyed watching Kenan falling asleep to “black noise” a la domestic violence and Tyler Perry sitcoms.

Church Chat – I’ve always loved Carvey’s pious, uptight Church Lady character, so I was genuinely excited to see her make an appearance on last night’s episode.  Always attempting to knock some sense into her sinful guests, the Church Lady attempted this time to smack some morals in the Kardashian sisters (or who the Church Lady referred to as the “Holy Grail of Sluts,” played by Pedrad, Bayer and Elliott) and Snooki (Moynihan).  In a rare turn of events, however, the Church Lady herself became victim to sinful thoughts as Justin Bieber (the real J-Biebs) pranced onto her red, velvet chair.  Her words to Jesus himself in regard to the Biebs, “I’m tired to using my Church power; I want a taste of that Bieber!”  As much as I can’t tolerate the Bieber hysteria, I would like to give him credit for a great cameo.

Celebrity Teen Crisis Center – Although some may argue that celebrity impersonations are a cheap way to get laughs, I say, so be it – it sure gets me laughing.  This pseudo-VH1 new series revolved around celebrities giving severely unhelpful hotline advice to normal teenagers.  Those celebrities included Alan Alda (Hader), Mickey Rooney (Carvey), Ice-T (Armisen), Anna Faris (Elliott) and Eddie Murphy (Pharaoh).  My favorite: Armisen’s out-of-the-blue, amazing Ice-T impression.  Don’t care if Ice-T’s relevant or not anymore – I just loved Armisen’s impersonation.

The Roommate – I’ve been seeing the trailer for The Roommate literally everywhere this past few weeks, so it’s no surprise that SNL decided to spoof this new thrilled about an obsessive-homicidal roommate.  They just replaced two attractive women (Minka Kelly and Leighton Meester) with Bieber (another cameo!) and a trademark, creepy Andy Samberg character.

Weekend Update – Weekend Update felt weak this episode, but thinking back, I realize that it’s because it was greatly overshadowed by the strength of the first half of the show.  As expected, Seth spent a majority of Update talking about the recent political strife in Egypt, listing winners of the situation as Anderson Cooper and losers as Tunisia and the Muslim Brotherhood.  However, Paul Brittain’s James Franco impression bolstered up Weekend Update a little, as Brittain did a likeable job of pinpointing Franco’s work-a-holic type tendencies.  Kristen Wiig also danced out of stage as Angela Dixon, a new meteorologist who can’t seem to shake her disco-past aside.

Live with Regis and Kelly – Carvey’s classic Regis Philbin impression was so spot-on, I closed my eyes and actually thought I was listening to the real Regis.  Pedrad’s Kelly Ripa, on the other hand, was both unrecognizable and unfunny.  Overall, something about the sketch just felt very empty, almost entirely devoid of laughs, even with Carvey’s brilliant impression.  The only real laughs came as Wiig crashed onto the set with her drunken impression of Kathy Lee Gifford, Regis’ former co-host, who of course, yelled to Kelly, “No one knows who you are.”

Sheraton Little Miss Pageant – An overall unnecessary sketch, it became a drag on an otherwise, great episode.  Thompson and Carvey served as the emcees for this Little Miss Pageant (think Todders and Tiaras creepy) for which the contestants were perfectly prepped little girls (Pedrad, Wiig, Elliott and Bayer) and one random boy (Samberg).  I will give credit to the ladies and Samberg for squeezing as many laughs as they could from walking on the catwalk in their elaborate, Southern-belle-type pageant costumes.

Diedra, Downsizing Expert – Oh hey, Abby Elliott!  It’s been a relatively great show for Abby Elliott, the forgotten woman in the show, having already impersonated Khloe Kardashian and Anna Faris previously in the episode.  I think this would be her first character-type role in which she played  the Valley Girl representative of a downsizing firm. and although the sketch barely mustered a few laughs from the audience, I thought it wasn’t half-bad.  Or maybe, I was just excited to see Abby getting a large role in a sketch.

Sports Bar – I think I mentioned in a previous blog post how much I hated sketches where they sing.  This sketch was no different, as the New-Age band, The Fingerlings (Carvey, Hader, Brittain and Armisen) performed at a bar to the dismay of Super-Bowl watchers.  Although the sketch wasn’t particularly funny, this sketch really acted as an appropriate example of just how well Carvey meshed with all the cast-members.

Musical Guest – Although I’ve never been a huge fan of Linkin Park, their new single, “Waiting for the End,” is possibly my favorite song at the moment. So, I enjoyed their laser-light infused performance.  They also performed, “When They Come for Me.”

Overall Episode – A-

This episode ties with the Anne Hathaway episode as the best episode of the season thus far.  Somewhat unlike the Anne Hathaway episode, Carvey’s episode was great because of the very reason that he was the host.  He brought back a slew of his famous characters and impressions … and killed each and every one.  If Carvey wasn’t the host, however, the episode would’ve most likely fallen from its success.

Next Week, Russell Brand hosts a new episode with musical guest, Chris Brown.

Original Author: Jonathan Yuan