Well folks, it happened. The “Poor little Rich Boy” got sworn in, he used his fancy pen set to sign a few papers, he is now (or at least, starting Monday…the Hell?) in charge of the Free World & the launch codes until/unless some sort of scandal/“Accident” takes him down and President Race Bannon (not to be confused with Racist Bannon) takes over…I’ll be honest; with the exception of the fact that I was hoping to grab a lot of views (as most fledgling web pages tend to do), I REALLY Didn’t Want to do this or any of the other sketches I already covered This Week…I Really Didn’t—especially since it only means more Publicity for Captain Combover (and for the record, I probably would’ve done the same thing for HRC this week, and STILL feel just as dirty for doing it). But, not only is it a matter of public record that the show you’re about to read about even took place over a Year ago–and I can’t argue with things that have clearly happened…unlike SOME people–but I would like to think of this as a much needed exercise in catharsis…even though this probably resulted in a thing that half the country DIDN’T WANT to have happen anyway. Unfortunately, it did—and All (or at least partially) thanks to the 21st century equivalent of Richard Nixon saying “Sock it To Me” (Incidentally, Another show Lorne Michaels worked for back in his youth). The strangest part about what you’re about to read is that Trump really appears for all of 18 minutes during the Entire show, and that most of the sketches (even the few Trump was in) were borderline decent. This is partly because when I first reviewed this show last year, I judged Trump strictly on the merits of him as a Host, and NOT as a (*GRITS TEETH*) Political Figure……Which also probably marks the Only time the words “Trump” & “Merits” will appear in the same sentence without me vomiting. What makes this episode PARTICULARLY Interesting is just how little video there is to show you form this (and did I mention that this episode only happened last year?), so in spite of the fact that this is supposed to be a detailed review, it seems like a bit of a hindrance that about 75% of the episode is unavailable online; because HEAVEN FORBID our……(*GRITS TEETH*)……President is embarrassed a little bit by the sight of him dancing in a Drake parody. So please bear with me as I try to do the best I can here without that many clips.
Nevertheless, the show must go on and I’ve put this off long enough—it’s time to take a look at the moment in American History where things… (*PERFORMS SIGN OF THE CROSS*) …Turned around for the Bulging Can of Orange Crush…
(*DEJECTED SIGH*) President Donald Trump/Sia (Original Airdate: 11/7/2015)
DEMOCRATIC FORUM: First thing’s first, Cecily as Maddow is a BRILLIANT casting choice and a Hell of a lot better impression than Abby Elliott ever attempted. Second, Taran’s piece was deservedly short. Third, Kate continues to play Hil to the Hilt—albeit briefly & with a bizarre shift in accents and casual sitting. And Fourth, WAY Too soon for Larry to come back…although (and I can’t believe I’m about to use a line he once wrote in totally different context) Not that there’s anything Wrong with that. He was still the unquestioned highlight of this, and he still delivered (Especially on his rants on Bridges, “Middle Class Coins”, and an Honest to God LFNY Variation that actually looks like it took effort). But still…there’s a whole YEAR left to go before the election. I wasn’t kidding when I said “Pace Yourself”, Larry—Burn out too soon, and you won’t “Bern” as well in the future. The extra bits with randomly cutting to a black person in the audience was slightly awkward, but I got the joke.
SCORE: 8 out of 10 Bricks of Vermont’s Cabot Cheddar.
EDITORS NOTE: Already, I’m miss Kate doing HRC—but thankfully, she’s a Hell of a lot more versatile elsewhere, so I wouldn’t worry about her star being on the decline anytime soon. And yes, Larry coming back immediately after debuting the Sanders impression was a little overkill. But afterwards, he only showed up every few months—so it was OK
MONOLOGUE: I honestly don’t know how to judge this one fairly. Granted, I’ll give ‘em credit for the Rosie/Aidy joke…and the inevitable Taran (and Hammond!) match-up…and Larry stealing the scene at the end was a good $5000 exclamation point. But as long as Trump continues to verbally masturbate about how great he thinks he is, it’s pretty difficult to be impartial here. As long as it’s brief enough, there’s no singing/audience questions, and the other jokes were there to balance things out, I’ll give it a pass.
SCORE: 7 out of 10 Italian Marble Bathrooms in a Single apartment at Trump Tower (The extra point’s for Larry’s sake).
EDITOR’S NOTE: Probably a little TOO generous there. As much as I appreciate Brevity & some more Larry, all this turned out to be was an exercise in vanity. I’d probably just give it a 6 now because, at the very least, Trump isn’t there for long. As for that “$5000” comment, the ACLU was promising people who attended $5K if someone in the audience shouted that Trump was a Racist; and although Larry David did it for the sake of comedy, the ACLU still honored the rules. Larry has since donated the money to an unspecified charity…Which I guess also counts as a point in Trump’s favor since he’s indirectly responsible for something benefiting the common good—for a change. Still have millions of points to make up, Donny!
REVISED SCORE: 6 out of 10
TRUMP IN 2018: Somewhere, former comedy writer/David Letterman’s old flame Merill Markoe must be pouring herself some celebratory wine for Predicting this sketch…sort of. Just about everybody involved had at least one decent line—though nothing that brought the house down. Cecliy’s Melania improves greatly by being more Russian than “vague foreigner”, Kenan had a good one about Syria being a Casino country, Kyle makes his only Major appearance the whole night with minimal results. The Sasheer/Omarosa joke was incredibly dated*, but still the best joke of the whole thing. The bit between Beck & Trump on Mexico (though funny) must’ve REALLY gone over well with the protesters outside—he says sarcastically. No Applause for the Real Ivanka…Nice touch (Either that or she & Vanessa Bayer could be interchangeable and no one’s the wiser). We then get the first of Many 4th wall breaks tonight with Trump’s speech at the end, which may seem a little distracting at first, but as time marches on in the show it’s actually kinda refreshing to see. Not “Ha-Ha” funny, but at least Trump got his “ego stroke” sketch out of the way early.
SCORE: 6 out of 10 Trump apartment buildings that line up along Riverside Drive in NYC.
EDITORS NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see just how prophetic things will be in 2 years’ time [*aside from Omarosa being a part of Trump’s staff now…so much for being “dated”]…if we don’t turn into puddles of nuclear waste first—but not even the best of satire is That good at predicting the future…at least, not usually.
BAD GIRLS: A lot of people want to call this a “Three-quel” to “Do it on my Twin Bed”; But since Aidy isn’t referred to by her “Lil’ Baby” nickname here, I’ll instead call it an inverted Sequel to “Say What you Want to Say” last February (Besides, with Elizabeth Banks on the following week, It’d be more fitting to do a Twin Bed Three-quel with her…and not even then). And really, it’s almost exactly the same film as February…only the opposite—both in plot and in atmosphere. This time, Instead of Mild Mannered girls being uncharacteristically spontaneous to a Sara Barellis song, it’s pretty much whatever the opposite of Sara Barellis is here. Nevertheless, The cinematography for filmed pieces continues to amaze, the ladies are workin’ it like nobody’s business, Things were going well altogether………. until Kate dealt with…uh…her “Lady business” with her sock. Be that as it may, the rest of the ladies did their respective parts well, and Aidy was the best of the bunch.
SCORE: 7 out of 10 Sheep in Wolves clothing (Think about that one a little)
LIVE TWEETING A SKETCH: I really have no idea why people are fawning over this sketch, it kinda feels like the cast is trapped in their own version of Jimmy Kimmel’s “Mean Tweets” segment…only without (overly) famous people…or the ability to laugh at themselves. I’ll give them credit for rampant 4th wall breaking and experimenting with an otherwise unique idea, but this was still awkward as hell in most places (Especially the Kenan slams…That’s right folks, I actually feel SORRY for Kenan in a sketch.). To be fair, Kenan, Vanessa & Jonesy helped the sketch save face…Otherwise, this is probably the first “uncomfortable” sketch of the season.
SCORE: 6 out of 10 Twitter “Fail Whales”
EDITORS NOTE: Twitter, That’s ANOTHER thing to add to the “Blame” list—seriously, if they were to save a little face, they would come up with a Robocop-esque “Directive 4” that disallows its use by political figures on the condition that they will only be banned from it While serving their time in office and/or while running for re-election…Trump would probably last only 3 days as President if that were the case, but let’s get back to the “Real” world. Trump only appears for the first 30 seconds in this sketch, yet his influence is EVERYWHERE…Why do I see that as a metaphor for things to come?
HOTLINE BLING (DRAKE): Another filmed piece so soon? Well, at least it’s better than “Bad Girls”…largely because that new Drake video is Low-Hanging fruit in terms of things to make fun of. Not only that, but they get Trump to do (probably) his one token “embarrassing” thing of the night as the Tax Accountant dancing and “Singing”, AND they get friggin’ Martin Short to do an Ed Grimley walk-on to help save the day. Jay’s Drake was par for the course; but considering just how lame the Real video is, Jay actually does it better here—some of his best work, actually—so in that spirit, it’s a solid parody………Even if some OTHER Sketch show has made fun of “Dad Dancing” almost 2 decades Prior to this.
SCORE: 8 out of 10 times Julia Louis Dreyfus can think “I can move better than That”.
EDITORS NOTE: Seriously, Trump “Dad Dancing” doesn’t even make a ripple…granted, acting like a doofus is better than acting like a p***y-grabber, so I can understand if few people noticed. Also, Martin Short must be feeling both thankful & terrified that he’s a Canadian citizen right about now who inadvertently added fuel to the fire.
Colin’s Best: Condom Bill
Michael’s Best: KC Beats the Mets, Taco Bell
Commentaries: This week’s mini-comment on Ben Carson tried a little too hard to smear—and the “Birther” joke at the end was too subtle to be subtle. Jonsey has a rare miss this time around, though I liked Colin’s attempt to “Flirt”. Drunk Uncle (who I thank for saving the day here clip-wise) comes back after a seemingly long time, though I’d be lying if I didn’t think this was the most coherent he’s been…Ever. Doesn’t mean that the bit is any different comedy-wise, but at least he’s a more energetic drunk this time (guessing by mixing Vodka with Red Bull)—I also thank him for pointing out who SHOULD be playing Ben Carson in the future…That is, if Che actually Wants to be in sketches.
SCORE: 7 out of 10 KSHB’s (NBC In Kansas City, MO—Way to Go, Royals!)
EDITORS NOTE: Nothing really, though I have to mention that The Kansas City Royals won the World Series that year…which at the time was about as unfathomable as the Cubs Winning it (oh, wait…), and lest we remind everybody that 2015 was Supposed to be the year that happened—F***ing Mets!
BAR BAND (no video): (*DRINKS BOTTLE OF SCOTCH AS I STRUGGLE TO FIND THE RIGHT WORDS TO SAY*) I’m noticing a LOT of Silver linings in sketches so far tonight—which is ironic because Trump is synonymous with Gold. The ONE thing I can say about this sketch that’s positive is that—amazingly enough—Trump’s fake anger actually works to his advantage here. That’s right, Trump is Actually the Highlight of this sketch……(*CHUGS MORE SCOTCH*)……sad, I know. Of course, it doesn’t help matters that Kenan is headlining a sketch with annoying voices and a premise goes completely nowhere…guess what That means (whoops, wrong “Anderson”…but still somewhat relevant).
SCORE: 4 out of 10 Dive Bars desperate for entertainment on a Weekday night.
EDITORS NOTE: No, James Anderson & Kent Sublette [AKA “Anderlette”] Did NOT write this sketch…at least, I don’t THINK they did. Sketches like these are usually the responsibility of one man alone—co-head writer Bryan Tucker. Seriously, that’s like one of his trademarks; sketches where there’s a large group of people and either each of them has one “wacky” thing about themselves, or the group is normal except for One “Odd one out”. Throw in “[KENAN REACTS]”, and the set-up is complete. Only one thing comes to mind whenever I see a sketch written by Tucker, and I’m gonna let Mr. Carlin take it from here…an insult that also works with one Mr. Carlson on the Fake News Channel
MR. CROCKER (no video): This is what I’d like to call a “Bruce McCullough” moment; A film so dry in humor, that even though it’s trying hard to be funny, perhaps it’s trying TOO hard. I also stand corrected in that Trump actually does TWO “embarrassing” roles tonight; The “Drake” video, and this seedy Music producer he’s playing here—or at least it would’ve been embarrassing if Trump didn’t look so natural at being seedy & didn’t give a shit that he was. Trump aside, this was All about Beck and how absurd this premise was. Unfortunately, there are times when Beck seems to want to give a Ferrell-esque performance here when he should’ve had more of a chance to be himself. Oh well, at least the Autotune bit & his varying degrees of freaking out were funny.
SCORE: 6 out of 10 Vocoders.
EDITORS NOTE: I actually have nothing extra to say for this one…except this MIGHT become autobiographical somehow in the next 4 years…just wait.
Sidebar: I’m not gonna count the “Toots” interlude as an actual sketch, but because everybody must be in denial as they’re watching this episode (myself included), I’ll throw in a few Bonus Points at the end for all the 4th wall breaks this evening…including this one…
EDITORS NOTE: “Toots & the Maytals” was the musical guest from when a less-crazy Trump hosted in 2004……….Yeah, I don’t know any of their songs either. Interestingly enough, when trying to find the video for this bit, I came across This screen:
I guess this means Trump was practicing wiping people off the face of the earth even back then, but I digress…)
PORNSTARS FOR TRUMP: And just when you think this sketch has run itself into the ground, they managed to pull off yet another unexpected twist. The porn puns were off the charts on this one…not for actual humor, but for the fact that there were WAY too many of them to keep track of at 1AM (Off the top of my head, “Marco Rubio/Polo”, “Putin/Put it in” and “Yankee Doodle Handy”). On top of that, Bobby’s Trump actually Sounds better than Taran’s—but unless the Real Trump gains weight, I don’t see Bobby stealing the Trump role any time soon. The beyond subtle Clinton joke at the end easily makes this Pornstar instalment one of the top 3. Then, Trump then breaks the 4th wall Yet again in an effort to make sure the state of Iowa is fast asleep.
SCORE: 8 out of 10 porn sites that have variations on the word “Tube” in their names………………God, I’m lonely.
EDITORS NOTE: The ONE sketch of the episode that actually felt “Normal”
+4 for All the “4th Wall” breaks tonight…it HAS to be a record of some kind.
FINAL SCORE: 71 out of 100 (71% WATCHABLE)
REVISED SCORE: 70 out of 100…but then I eventually come to my senses and REVOKE the Bonus points no matter how much 4th walling goes on here. So, 66 out of 100 (66% WATCHABLE…which is actually—shockingly–still better than most of the shows that season)
FINAL THOUGHTS: The cynic in me honestly doesn’t know what to make of this show. A lot of us seem to have pre-conditioned ourselves to think this would be disastrous; when in actuality, there wasn’t that much to worry about (And how often have we made THAT assumption before?). However, If ever there was an occasion for SNL to make Lemons out of Lemonade, This was the time. On the other hand (to put it Nautically), For a show that had a Shipload of Hype attached to it, all that remains was only a rowboat’s worth of comedy. That said, Trump himself was—once again—OK as a host. He’s no Lawrence Oliver by ANY means and I’m STILL not gonna vote for the guy, but at least he was capable and (Miraculously) not as overbearing as many of us feared. The cast may have fought heaven & earth to hide their not-so obvious misery in this adventure in audience pandering/protester dodging, but at least they still got through it with professionalism. I also think I haven’t seen this many 4th wall breaks on the show since Francis Ford Coppola in ’86. One thing’s for sure, if Trump wins any states in the Primaries, this episode can now theoretically share in the blame………………
EDITORS NOTE: Well, now I can add the Presidency to that statement. On the surface, considering how little Trump appeared on the show, it really shouldn’t have been that big a deal…and yet, as much as I don’t want to believe it, this episode was a Turning point—for better or Far, FAR worse. Not just for Trump’s campaign, but for the fact that SNL has to feel Something for opening up Pandora’s Box; which would probably explain all the Pro-Hillary sketches they wound up pumping out afterwards. It almost feels like their way of saying (*SLIPS INTO “HYPER CHILD” VOICE*) “OH SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIIIIIIIIIIIIITTTTTTT! We’re Sorry, America, we’resorrywe’resorrywe’resorrywe’resorrywe’resorry, OMIGOD We’resorry!” (*SLIPS OUT OF VOICE*) But alas, the damage was done, it was their highest rated show of the season, and they pretty much sold their soul in order to get it. Yeah, if you take away the underlying tone of the whole thing, the episode was average—but average at a price. And besides; with the exception of some cosmetic differences, how is my scrawling away about Trump sketches for the sake of more views Any different from what the people on the 17th Floor did for Nielsen Ratings? It really isn’t, and if that makes me a hypocrite, then I’m guilty as charged…………(*STARES WISTFULLY IN THE DISTANCE*)……Guilty as Charged………(*SNAPS OUT OF IT*)…..once again, I’ve lost the focus, so let’s wrap this up. Life (and the show) must go on, and while we eagerly await to scrutinize the rotted box of “Halos’” first mistake (as President), we’ve got some stuff to take care of for February—Home to three of the biggest events in the world; The Grammys, The Oscars…and a certain “Big Game”.
NEXT TIME (Possibly the first week of February and Pending other Retro Reviews): Sports of all Sorts as we present the top SNL Sports sketches (IMO). In the meantime, Enjoy Aziz Ansari Tonight. As for me, I could go for something with a high alcohol content…Uncle Jemima Mash Liquor, perhaps? It’s gonna be a LONG 4 years (if even that). Thanks for sticking around this week, and again, I am incredibly Sorry for putting you through this………Thank GOD for Pointless Nostalgia (*CHUGS BOTTLE OF JACK “BLUTO” STYLE*).
Don’t worry, everybody…some day we’ll go back to some semblance of “Normal”