After watching four seconds of the Cowboys-Redskins post-game press conference on ESPN last night, I thought to myself, ming, Saturday Night Live should have a press conference so we could get some insight into the backstage mindset of the cast and writers. If Tony Romo can talk about defensive packages and receiving routes, shouldn’t we ask Andy Samberg to stand at a podium at 1 am and answer for another Digital Short that relied on the comic effects of projectile vomiting? Or force Seth Meyers to define the type of humor that relies on the audience’s innate discomfort with straight men flirting with homosexuality, the kind of humor that underlied the first 20 minutes of Saturday’s SNL? After all, Sunday Night Football and Saturday Night Live are both live affairs on NBC with more at work behind the scenes than we’re privy to. Why should one be held to a higher degree of scrutiny than the other? Damnit, we want answers, Michaels. Lorne, not Al.
One half of the comedy duo Southern Mothers once told me the foundation for an SNL sketch that he learned while tooling around the grimy improv circles of Chicago. “Each sketch is basically a bunch of straight men/women trying to deal with the craziness of a particular character.” I know, pretty fundamental, but I never would have been able to break it down so succinctly. “Target Lady,” “Penelope,” Scared Straight,” “Macgruber.” Each is a variation on the same formula. Throw in the comedy of homoerotic tension and you got yourself a mediocrely rated Saturday Night sketch comedy show.
That being said, it’s time to Monday Morning Back Track over a few of the more memorable sketches from Saturday night.
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First, can we all just take a second and acknowledge deep down in places we don’t talk about at rock ‘n roll bowling parties, that Justin Timberlake I just a little bit better than you and me? You don’t have to say it out loud, that’d be way gay lame, but you know, let’s just admit it to ourselves and move on. Dude killed it again in that John Mayer I’m going to reference everything you make fun of me for self-conscious kind of way. Anyone who’s seen Timberlake host SNL in the past knows he easily goes down as one of the show’s better hosts and the fact that he can reference his own past sketches with one liners like, “Bring it on down to Turkeyville” to the applause and recognition of the audience is impressive. As was his monologue Saturday night that on repeat reviewing may raise concerns of his throat polyps. Cerealously, are necks supposed to get that red independent of one’s body?
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Bobby Moynihan finally breaks through with a performance that doesn’t leave the audience scratching their heads and asking why the fat new guy is on the show. We’ve all been rooting for him to succeed in something, and this week he delivered with an uncanny impersonation of the Hanna-Barbera character Snagglepuss and his take on Prop 8.
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I can’t tell if I was in some introspective place when the first sketch aired but it struck me as reflexively brilliant in ways that I’m pretty sure are nonsensical now. Oh they’re commenting on society’s prima facie discomfort with men kissing each other and by extension are subversively taking a stand on the issue of Proposition 8 and gay marriage, I thought to myself. They’re taking the comedic trope of men kissing to such an extreme that it is exposed as the ridiculous taboo that it is. Or they’re saying students of Miami of Ohio are gay. I don’t know. It might not even be funny on a Monday at noon.
Those are the SNL highlights I can remember, and more importantly, the ones NBC will let us post. We still firmly stand behind an SNL post-game press conference. Because what’s funnier than sketch comedy than talking about it? Oh right, blogging about it. Scene.