Golden Gos

As Season 43 begins, we take two seasons backward to Ryan Gosling—a guy whose Only connection to the show (aside from the episode we’re about to go over) was in the form of a passing lyric in the famed “Lazy Sunday”…but that’s not what any of this is about…Though, yes, we’re All getting older. This is about a guy whose mere mentioning of his name can turn women into putty (Or if you’re Pam from “Archer”, something…uh…far less subtle), while at the same time mentioning wife Eva Mendes’ name can turn those same women into balls of Fire and Jealous Rage…but I digress. Gosling isn’t exactly known for his comedic skills…because he has none (that we know of), but since he is Canadian & Canada is one of our main comedic exporters, maybe there’s a secret talent in Gosling that he’s waited until now (or in this case, 2 years ago) to unleash.


Time to try & love this show like McAdams (Used to) Love





Ryan Gosling/Leon Bridges (Original Airdate: 12/1/2015)




TRUMP XMAS MESSAGE: Taran looks like everything but his eyes was the shade of a carrot, while the voice seems to have regressed into a “Sudeikis as Romney” level. Cecily remains eye candy, while her accent remains as mysterious as a James Bond Villian. This was unusually short for an opening sketch, which I guess is a plus since it doesn’t drag itself out too much and it’s pretty much the same sketch as the one from the Premiere, but there could’ve been a lot more potential in the whole “Naughty V. Nice” idea—though I agree that the Hillary/Nutcracker joke was the best of an otherwise limited bunch.

SCORE: 6 out of 10 homes Trump has on the Florida Coast (I gave an extra point because of how short it was).


EDITOR’S NOTE: Ah, yes, it was a simpler time 2 years ago…one where not only was the idea of Donald Trump as President seemed like a bigger joke than what he’s doing in the White House right now, but also that Taran Killam thought he could pull off an impression of him when somebody far superior was waiting in the wings…after Darrell Hammond did Trump for the rest of the year. I really have nothing to add about this sketch, I’m just wondering if 2 years is too soon to wear “Nostalgia Goggles”?





MONOLOGUE: (No Video…I’m guessing the Song they sing is based on an actual work) 7 shows without “Audience Questions” has to be a record of some kind, but I’ll forgive it since there was only One question from Cecily…………oh, and MIKE FRIGGIN’ MYERS was kind enough to show up. It also helps me greatly to have re-watched SCTV reruns and some of that week Conan O’Brien was in Toronto so that I could get some of the references (Especially Bonhomme the Snowman). The song was OK; if not for more Canadian references I need to look up, than for Gosling & Myers’ soft-shoeing. Also, as much as we give the show a lot of flack for “Regionalized” humor, I gotta give ‘em a charity point for remembering the old “Money Store” commercials with Scooter Rizzuto.

SCORE: 7 out of 10 Peter Mansbridge’s……….you don’t even know who that is, do you? (No, I’m not gonna put up a link…Educate yourselves for a change!)


EDITOR’S NOTE: This would be a good time to mention that we get a LOT of readers from Canada—in fact, on some days the amount of Canadians reading us out-number the U.S. a little. Having never actually set foot in the country before, I hope you can forgive me in advance if I get a few references wrong today. Also, on that last part I was probably a little too angry about something that day—I forget. For my Non-Canadian readers, think of Peter Mansbridge as the Maple flavored equivalent to someone like Tom Brokaw.




SETTL: A little short & too “on point”, but I get it…I fit the description of the men being portrayed here a little TOO accurately, but I get it. This was sort of a spin on that old Amy Poehler joke, “You Date Bert, but you Marry Ernie”. All the women seem hilariously repressed in the choices they made (with Jonesy & Vanessa being the highlights), but it could’ve been fleshed out a little better. (*HYPOTHETICAL RANT ALERT*) One idea for a joke could’ve been if during one of these dates, Gosling happens to walk by as a newly single man; he bumps into one of his lady friends (Pick a cast member) while dating a person she’s “settling” for, Gosling talks about how great life would be if he only had “The One” by his side. The woman would then seethe so much over her schlubby date AND the fact that she can now Never get this other guy, that she winds up breaking a wine glass with her bare hands, all while maintaining a manic smile (*RANT OVER*). BTW, it’s a pretty sad state of affairs when Pete’s ONLY appearances of the night are a couple of Dorky still-shots—just like the tag of the commercial says…Tick, Tock, Pete!


SCORE: 6 out of 10 times I need to realize I need to hit the Gym.


EDITOR’S NOTE: The Hammer of Plagiarism strikes again. A few days after this sketch aired, it was revealed that the idea has already been done not once, but THREE TIMES by other—shall we say, “Scrappier”—sketch comedy troupes (Although to be fair, one of them used the “Settl” name before SNL even though they themselves are one of the copycats…confused? Here, just read Jeff Bezos’ newspaper.). At the time I wrote this review, I actually had a Zero Tolerance policy against Plagiary—although if, say, for example, someone wrote something one place and THEN they became writers for SNL and they wound up doing an SNL version of that same sketch, THEN it’s OK. Neither this sketch or any of the others on the WaPo article were the original versions of what is essentially the same concept. And I know what you’re thinking, “What about Hollywood Reboots? Those recycle things all the time!” As much as they do, at least the Reboots give credit as to where they are getting their source material from. Whether this is coincidental or not, Stealing isn’t nice unless you ask first…then it’s “Borrowing”. At either rate…

UPDATED SCORE: 0 out of 10



UFO INTERROGATION: A Sketch I already covered on our Main Page Over a Year ago—and despite the fact that this sketch has now seen 2 (or possibly 3 come 9/30/2017) sequels as of this writing, the original still holds up pretty well thanks to Kate…still gotta dock points for the giggles.

SCORE: 7 out of 10 Unsolved Mysteries of…Unsolved Mysteries (The TRUTH is Out There!)!



SANTA BABY: Hmmmm…Adults that Still believe in Santa……Why does THAT Sound Familiar? Thankfully, this was Miles better than the ’94 Baldwin sketch, but the overall concept is still there in spite of a much better execution here. Some people want to compare the film style to that of Tarantino, which is an OK comparison to make. As for me; I don’t know why, but I seem to be getting a P.T. Anderson vibe from this film, very dark yet bold at the same time (not unlike “Boogie Nights”). Vanessa must also be enjoying her screen time with Gosling a little TOO intently here, especially after playing “Meg Griffin” style roles over the years—call that an Early Christmas present for her (and for Us too…RAWR, ‘Nessa.). Beck manages to shine as the put-upon party host being forced to dress as Santa, while Gosling further proves why he’s a better Dramatic Film actor than he is a comedian. Somewhat Dark humored, if not a little dry, but it gets the job done.


SCORE: 8 out of 10 Glasses of “Johnnie Walker Red” an “Adult” Santa would Drink—mostly so his drink would match his suit.



ANOTHER CRUSH ON DAD: Of all the things to bring back a 2nd time, this one ranks about 3rd on the “Least Likely” list. Same jokes as the one with Drake? Check! Total coincidence that this is Aidy’s 2nd Canadian she’s hitting on? Check! Aidy selling the hell out of her performance, Including pulling a “Farley” at the end with the coffee table? Check-a-doodle-Doo! And really, aside from the obvious cut-and-paste job, Aidy is Still the most entertainingly creepy highlight of this sketch…which isn’t really saying much because this is yet another sketch that did Not need to be repeated in the first place—Gosling giggling again doesn’t help either…also (and forgive me for nitpicking) wasn’t Aidy’s character in her 30s with Drake, and now suddenly she’s “13 and a Half”. Continuity, What’s That?


SCORE: 5 out of 10 Canadian Men on Aidy’s Tinder profile.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Want my Original Thoughts on the first one with Drake? Here ‘ya go.




UPDATE: (Part 1 Here, Part 2 There)

Colin’s Best: Ben Carson in Jordan, Isis Cosby

Michael’s Best: The Wiz, Male & Female Brains (only because of how Hackey it was)

Commentaries: Mini-Comment on the San Bernadino/ISIS/Guns/Planned Parenthood clusterfuck going on was very welcome catharsis. Cecily’s new “Glamour” character seems to emulate her “Girl…at a Party”, only with 50 additional IQ points, though I’d be lying if I didn’t think she was also emulating Wiig’s “Flirting Expert” from 2011. The addition of Gosling aside, Bobby should really consider retiring the Crispino character while he has a chance—I know it’s gonna be hard to do since Jost created the character, but it’s run its course (I’ll give both of them a pity point for the harmonizing and the Tea Kettle joke at the end).

SCORE: 7 out of 10 KUSA’s (NBC in Denver, CO)


EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s funny, Before 2016 was considered the “Worst Year Ever”, 2015 was almost as bad—nowadays, I PINE for two years ago…Paul McCartney was right, “Oh, how I long for Yesterday…”




RYAN & TREVOR: (No Video Available…for some reason) I’m all for Kyle getting a little more exposure, but this was just plain obnoxious—especially once he took off his shirt. On the other hand, something felt “Familiar” about Kyle’s performance here—The whiny voice, the Canadian-ness of the character, the fact that he seemed hyper as hell…and then it hit me, Kyle was trying to do an impression of Mark McKinney. Which Time? Let’s say somewhere between “Taddli” and the “Chopper 4” guy…Yes, THAT annoying (Sorry Mark, I know you’re good at other things, and I’m glad you found work on “Superstore”). Add to that the fact that Gosling can’t carry a tune or keep a straight face to save his life, and we’ve got Canadian awkwardness in about 4 minutes (but at least he can still bust a decent move). The fake magazine headline at the end pretty much telegraphed the sketch’s lameness.


SCORE: 4 out of 10 “Scarborough Suitcases”


EDITOR’S NOTE: Once again, this was 2 years ago…we had yet to know the power of “La La Land”, and the fact that Gosling actually could carry a tune…if the tune is low, slow & mellow enough.




NESPRESSO: Taran may have the look down, but Clooney is a hard one to emulate—You can mimic his voice, you can mimic his looks, you can even mimic his mannerisms. But I have yet to see someone who can do All three at the same time successfully. Bobby, on the other hand improves a little on his DeVito, though he could use a few more cigarettes to get the voice right. Of course, if you’ve seen the Real Nespresso commercial interrupting your Youtube videos, this is actually a spot on, almost Shot-for Shot parody of them—so on that merit alone, this one gets props for being true-ish to the original. Even the “Whaaaat?” tagline at the end sums up how bizarre the Real commercials are, let alone this one. I’ll even give ’em an extra point for a Batman connection—which I guess makes the Real Clooney & DeVito distant cousins to the franchise.

SCORE: 7 out of 10 Malfunctioning Keurig Machines.



THE WIZ: It doesn’t take a lot to say this, but this is the best sketch of the night. Major, big league credit goes to the make-up department for making Che & Jay (or was that [musical guest] Leon Bridges?) almost unrecognizable as Scarecrow & Tin Man respectively. Gosling gives his best performance of the episode by channeling his inner Ray Bolger, Sasheer gets a few good words in for a change, Jonesy is unsurprisingly good as Queen Latifah’s “Wiz”, and even Kenan was above average playing the Lion. Some of the racial jokes were a little touch & go, but the overall energy of the sketch still made this a fun one to watch—and the make-up department should get an Emmy Nomination for fooling me pretty well.


SCORE: 8 out of 10 drafts Joel Schumacher wrote for the film version in 1978…and yet they were STILL better than him directing “Batman & Robin” (Hey, Two Clooney References!).


EDITOR’S NOTE: Not only did SNL’s Makeup & Costume department get nominations that year, they also won the Shit out of them—Thanks in Part to This sketch, and another one Kate McKinnon did that will swear me off of seafood for life.




SANTA AND HIS ELVES: Of all the things to bring back a 2nd time, this one now replaces the earlier “Crush on Dad” as 3rd on the “Least Likely” list. Largely because unlike “Crush on Dad” where it was actually amusing the first time; This was about 11 Herbs & Spices worth of Wrong the first time it aired with Louis CK back in May 2015, and it’s only worse with Gosling as a 3rd elf & Bobby in the Louie role. On the plus side, at least the subject matter was a better fit for the 10 to 1 slot, so there was less of a risk in being too offensive/squeamish for certain viewers. But considering it was the Exact same set of jokes as the first one—only with Christmas clothing and no “viewer poll” at the end—I would’ve rather watched a 3rd performance from Leon Bridges instead.


SCORE: 2 out of 10 times the “Elf on a Shelf” uses an Alias when “Buying” at the Bunny Ranch in Nevada.



BONUS POINTS: (Follow along on their Bumper Page)

+1 for the Moving Bumper of Gosling throwing himself an Ice Cube (Unavailable).
+1 for Romancing a Mop backstage (Pic #9)



FINAL SCORE: 69 out 110 (62.7% WATCHABLE)
UPDATED SCORE: 63 out of 110 (57.2%)



FINAL THOUGHTS: This was a Weird one. Certainly not “terrible” by any means, but between all the giggle-fits, unnecessary rehashes, bizarre filmed pieces even by filmed standards & Mike Myers showing up, this was about as wildly uneven as it could’ve been considering the largely positive streak the show has been in so far. Gosling may be a decent Dramatic actor/Eye candy for the Ladies; but clearly, he needs to work on being a comedic actor a little…not cracking up in most of the Live sketches he was in would certainly help—I guess this kinda makes him an Anti-DeNiro. The show might’ve also been slightly better if everybody was on duty tonight—seriously, where was Pete? And does J.R. even realize where he’s working yet? That aside, at least the positives outweighed the negatives here…but barely.



Now that that’s over, I am going to take a Much needed break from Gabbing about Sketch comedy for a little bit. Nothing personal, I’ve just been writing stuff non-stop since June, I need a little time to re-group. Shouldn’t be more than a month before I come back with full-on editorials, but until then, do me a favor and click on…


Not only will you hear TV’s Greatest Hits (Including Theme songs, covers and Original Music for Television), but who knows…you may even get to hear one of 5 different SNL Theme song arrangements I was able to track down. If you like what you hear, don’t be afraid to throw a couple of coins our way too.


I still have to write a few Obits regarding Messer’s Stanton & Hefner; but after that, I will probably see you again after Halloween; for now, enjoy the next few weeks, and welcome back to S.O.S.N.L!


MacDonald’s Nuggets (with apologies to TV Guide)


So far this week, we have seen a small number of commentaries through Five Decades of “Weekend Update”; but how about the other side of the coin; the jokes themselves? Without them, all the commentaries would be nothing but mini-sketches at a news desk with little context. Well, to be honest, I was going to end this week by listing a collection of some of my favorite jokes—but then I realize I would be looking at 42 years’ worth of transcripts and videos, and that would take several weeks to find just the “Right” ones. Realizing just how big the task would be, I decided to keep things simple by instead talking about my Personal Favorite Update Anchor. After all, Every generation has their favorite Update anchor—either of all-time or based on when you became a fan of the show. If you were a fan in the 70s; you had your choice of Chevy, Jane, Dan or Bill. In the 80s…well, Dennis Miller kinda stacked the deck in his favor by being on for 6 years vs. the “Wheel of Anchors” we saw in the Ebersol era. The 2000s saw Fallon, Fey, Poehler & Meyers; and of course, Jost & Che today. But if you became a fan of the show the same time I did, there really was only One person who not only best represented Update in the 90s (with apologies to Kevin Nealon & Colin Quinn), but was also the ONE reason you tuned in to the show week-in, and week out no matter how good or bad the rest of the show would be.


A Quebec-born comedian by the name of Norman Gene MacDonald was mine…


My apologies in advance for ripping some words from his Wikipedia page here, but I wanted to make sure this introduction was done with the dignity he deserves, factual or otherwise…that, and I’m on a bit of a time crunch…


MacDonald joined the cast of SNL in 1993, where he performed impressions of Larry King, Burt Reynolds, David Letterman, Quentin Tarantino, Charles Kuralt and Bob Dole, among others. Following Kevin Nealon’s departure from SNL, Macdonald anchored the segment “Weekend Update”. Current “Weekend Update” anchor and head writer Colin Jost named Macdonald as a primary influence on Jost’s own work behind the “Update” desk, explaining that Macdonald’s tone was one that Jost grew up with in high school. Macdonald’s version of “Weekend Update” often included repeated references to prison rape, crack whores and the Germans’ love of Baywatch star David Hasselhoff. Macdonald would occasionally deliver a piece of news, then take out his personal compact tape recorder and leave a “note to self” relevant to what he just discussed. He commonly used Frank Stallone as a non sequitur punchline. Macdonald repeatedly ridiculed public figures such as Marion Barry, Hillary Clinton, Michael Jackson and O. J. Simpson. In early 1998, Don Ohlmeyer had Macdonald removed as “Weekend Update” anchor, citing declining ratings and a drop-off in quality. Macdonald and others believed that the real reason for his dismissal was the inclusion of a series of jokes calling O. J. Simpson a murderer during and after the trial (Ohlmeyer was good friends with Simpson and supported him during the proceedings). Macdonald remained on SNL as a cast member, though he disliked performing in regular sketches. On February 28, 1998, in one of his last appearances on SNL, he played the host of a fictitious TV show called Who’s More Grizzled? who asked questions of “mountain men” played by that night’s host Garth Brooks and special guest Robert Duvall. In the sketch, Brooks’s character said to Macdonald’s character, “I don’t much care for you,” to which Macdonald replied, “A lot of people don’t.” He quit shortly thereafter.


Having said (or at least copy & pasted) all of that, to this day, Norm got Screwed—and I don’t mean his ill-fated movie. Sure, he would get his revenge in one form or another, but like many great comedic minds, he was ahead of his time. He’s certainly mellower now—albeit slightly out of it—but he’s never truly lost his ability to stare down the audience until they were certain to laugh. So now, it gives me great pleasure to present to you just Some of the many news items Norm inflicted onto an unsuspecting public from 1994 to 1997. Don’t be too upset if I didn’t include Your favorite; Norm did roughly 70 “WU’s”, there was a LOT to narrow down and still not enough footage from Youtube that will probably be taken down at some point anyway (Also, my apologies for the quality on some of these).


To whet the palate a little, here’s just some of my personal favorite jokes he told that are not OJ/Clinton related…many of them can be found in his current book “Based on a True Story”:


“In sports, distance runner Uta Pippig set a record by winning her third consecutive Boston Marathon, despite suffering from both her period and diahrrea throughout the 26 mile run. In addition, Pippig also set a record for causing the most spectators to make this face… [makes cringing face] …at a Boston Marathon.”


“Tomorrow night on “60 Minutes”, Dr. Jack Kevorkian will sit for his first-ever in-depth interview. According to producers, Kevorkian agreed to the interview only on condition that it be conducted by veteran correspondent Andy Rooney. Wait! Don’t do it, Andy, it’s a trap! It’s a trap!”

“In Music News, Number 1 on the College charts this summer was ‘Better than Ezra’, and at number 2…Ezra.”


“According to new medical studies exposure to second-hand smoke dramatically increases a non-smoker’s risk of getting heart disease and lung cancer. Jubilant tobacco company executives say the study proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that non-smoking can kill you.”


“Dr. Jack Kevorkian announed this week that he will start to offer organs taken from his suicide patients to people who need transplants. In addition, Kevorkian promised that anyone who does not get a life-saving organ will receive a free murdering.”

“Yesterday, in a dramatic finish to his White House bid, Bob Dole began a 96-hour, 15-state, non-stop campaign tour that will take him right through Election day. Political experts are calling the grueling marathon a, quote, “last ditch effort,” while medical experts are calling it, quote, “a suicide attempt”.

“And in London, British scientists have created a frog embreyo without a head, a breakthrough that could lead to the production of headless human clones to provide organs and tissue for transplants as well as horrific nightmares for the rest of my life.”

“In New Orleans this week, Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau was honored by the Drug Policy Foundaton, a group which seeks to legalize marijuana. Also honored this week by the foundation: Weed!”

“Next week, Jews around the world will celebrate the holiday of Yom Kippur…or as non-jews refer to it…Wednesday”


“In Springfield, Missouri, the local cable company mistakenly aired five minutes of explicit sex scenes from the Playboy Channel on the Cartoon Network, during an episode of “The Flintstones”. Experts say that children who saw the broadcast called it the “greatest Flintstones episode ever!”

“A Minnesota man is being sued by a woman who claims that he promised to marry her but called off the wedding after he convinced her brother to give him a kidney. [Holds up a kidney.] Don’t I know it!”

“This week computer hackers broke into Yahoo!, the internet’s most popular website, and vowed to unleash a crippling computer virus if a fellow hacker is not released from prison. Experts warn that catching these cyber terrorists will not be an easy task and may require the cooperation of both nerds and geeks.”

“Next month the U.S. Postal Service will begin issuing stamps depicting Dracula, the Mummy, and Frankenstien’s Monster. The stamps are part of a new series called “People Who Abbot and Costello Have Met.”

“Our congratulations to musician Ike Turner, who recently got married for the 13th time. The ceremony marked the first time that a minister performing a wedding has ever asked, “Does anyone here NOT object?”

“Playing in a music store in New York this week, Kenny G set a world record by holding a saxophone note for 45 minutes. While he did warn spectators that it would be quite boring, it should be noted that it is every bit as boring to hear Kenny G play different saxophone notes for 45 minutes.”

(While we’re on the subject)

“Kenny G has a Christmas album out this year…Hey, happy birthday, Jesus! Hope you like crap!”

“Finally, according to the U.S. News & World Report 1997 Career Guide, the bet job in the United States, for the second year in a row, is Interactive Business System Analyst. However, last year’s worst job, Assistant Crack Whore, has been replaced by a new worst job: Crack Whore Trainee.”


Now for the main course, the moments that (IMO) Made Norm as revered as he is among some of us fans:



My SINGLE Favorite Update that he did was This November 18th, 1995 edition featuring his “10 Worst Cab Drivers” joke…


Norm Vs. Michael Jackson:


Norm Vs. the Clintons:


I Wrestled with my conscience on this one, but…Norm Vs. (certain) Women:

(My Apologies to my Female Readers, don’t shoot the messenger.)


And Finally, because this article would be incomplete without even mentioning them; we have to save a little time for the Primary reason why Norm not only became as iconic as he was, but also the reason why he got a steady paycheck, and (consequently) the reason why he got the Ax from the Update desk. Hold on to your Bloody Gloves, It’s time for the OJ Jokes…….All of them………….


(and if either of these videos are taken down at some point, I’m sure another one will pop up in its place)…


Was the world truly ready for Norm when he took his spot at the desk? Well, to some he hit the ground running; to others, they couldn’t really appreciate him until After he left. To others still, he was either boring, infuriating or infuriatingly boring. For me personally, I like to think of Norm as the reason why my sense of humor tends to skew on the “Dry” side once in a while. It was never about the jokes with Norm, it was about the way he told them—almost as though each of them were some kind of riddle that would take a year or a day to figure out. And truth be told, that Was the polar opposite of every “Update” Anchor before or since; Sure, everybody else was funny, but there was a certain “matter-of-factness” to how they read and delivered the news. Norm read the news in a way that he clearly didn’t care about getting the laugh, but rather he cared about having fun while doing it—even if it meant he didn’t give two shits about how he presented himself. A few years ago, “Rolling Stone” magazine released a controversial ranking of the greatest SNL cast Members of all time. To the surprise of many, Norm ranked near the bottom—incidentally, one point higher than Colin Quinn—with the following statement:


“MacDonald clearly thought he was hilarious, and that counts for something – Confidence is essential for a ‘Weekend Update’ anchor. Unfortunately, he was just a Dennis Miller clone with no mullet and no jokes. Stare into the camera a little longer, Norm…maybe it’ll get funnier.”

While I and countless other SNL fans my age still disagree with the statement to this day, I don’t entirely condemn it either—after all, we all have our opinions on things, that’s theirs and I respect that. At the same time, that statement is part of the reason why I wanted to not only do an “Update Week”, but also one of the reasons why I started S.O.S.N.L. in the first place; to show that maybe, just maybe, there was more to the show than the sketches you saw or the behind the scenes stories & trivia. We all have our different influences; and with so many of them walking on the stage of 8H over the years, everybody is bound to have at least one favorite. Norm MacDonald was my biggest comedic influence in probably the same way Chevy Chase was an influence to some in the first season; Eddie Murphy would be an influence in the early 80s; 90% of the cast would be from 1986 to 1994 and so forth. Comedy is a lot like technology; it can evolve in such a way that if you’re a fan of something from a long time ago, that same fandom will help you prepare for the next generation. Enjoying Norm as a kid helped me enjoy Conan & Letterman as a Teenager, followed by Jon Stewart as a Young Adult, and eventually the current crop of Late Night hosts with the exception of Jimmy Fallon—he still has to earn my trust back after what he did to Archduke Orange’s hair for the sake of ratings…but I digress. Point is, without Norm MacDonald, I would probably have spent my formative years watching MadTV instead. Much like the show itself gave young people in the 70s a reason to Stay home on Saturday Night, Norm & Starmaker was the reason why I constantly needed a new VCR…and I’m certain people my age felt the same way.


On that note, that does it for “Update Week”; hopefully, if the ratings were good for the prime time shows the past few weeks, maybe we can do this again in the future–after all, most of the stuff we went through was just the tip of the iceberg, and there’s still 40+ years to try and cover–so more than likely, there will be another one. We resume “Starmaker” once I get back from a business trip this weekend (Either 8/29 or 8/30).


But before we go…




“Update Week” is Dedicated to the life, the work, the legacy and the memory of Herb Sargent; who (alongside Chevy Chase) not only created “Weekend Update”, but also helped America laugh at the news when few others did. He’s still missed to this day…

1923 – 2005


“That’s the News, Good Night, and have a Pleasant tomorrow”

Update’s Current Caretakers


Here we are in Present Day time; and with it, a closer look at the two people who are currently occupying the desk right now; Colin Jost & Michael Che. Though it’s too soon to tell just where these two will fall on the list of All-Time Greats; the one thing that I Do know for certain is that whenever the world is set on fire, Jost & Che continue the long standing Update tradition of dousing the flames with their own brand of cool (or if you’re on the opposing side, they fan the flames); But it wasn’t always that way.


Colin Jost had spent nearly a decade on the show as a writer; in fact, he might’ve been one of the show’s youngest at the time—and he had already had a bit of an “Update” headstart by co-creating the characters of “Drunk Uncle” and “Anthony Crispino” for Bobby Moynihan. In 2014, Seth Meyers was about to leave the show so he could take over “Late Night”; and as is the case in most hierarchies, the next most senior person in the talent pool was the next in line—so with experience intact (and also because he was a co-head writer by this point), Jost took the reins. When Jost began co-anchoring in the tail-end of Season 39 alongside Cecily Strong (who, quite honestly, looked like she bit off more than she could chew in that position), the overall consensus was that he was blandness personified. I’ll give him credit for at least getting his delivery down by the end of that year, but since he was (at the time) a co-head writer for the show, he also needed to make sure the words that are coming out of his own mouth were funny ones. In short, some have argued that he was the One-Calorie “Diet” version of Meyers.


Che was a different story altogether; he spent some time in & out of SNL’s writing pool—doing what, I’m not sure of. But if memory serves, he was at the very least partially responsible for sketches that were Kardashian related. Then in May 2014, Che was called up to the Majors (or at least to AAA-Ball) by becoming a correspondent for “The Daily Show”; a gig that happened just as a number of hot-button issues were taking place during the summer of ’14—Che pretty much grabbed the bull by the horns and shut down whatever hypocrisy there was to be had in each topic…and THEN comes the crazy part. A mere 3 & ½ months after getting the “Daily” gig, TPTB at 30 Rock realized “Crap, we made a mistake!”, and SNL not only re-hired Che as a writer, but they also helped him make history by becoming not only the first (OFFICIAL…ahem) Update anchor of color to take the job, but he along with Jost would also become the show’s first 2-Man anchor team. So how did Che’s first year go? Well, He certainly was a step in the right direction. The not-so-good news? He wasn’t exactly a “Breakout” star (It would also help if he wasn’t so condescending on Twitter in the face of controversy…but that’s really more of an issue for Che the Writer. This is only about Che the performer.). I’ll grant you that his mini-commentaries on Update are usually the highlight each week he does them, but his gravitas while reading the jokes off the cards seems slightly off the mark—especially when stumbling in places. That being said, at least he had more charisma than his co-anchor at the time.


Fortunately for the sake of both of them, Jost later realized that just because you’re a co-head writer, it doesn’t mean you HAVE to do the same thing previous co-head writers do—Especially if it means it could mess with the show’s integrity. Just because Seth & Tina managed to balance their roles, doesn’t mean it’s possible for everybody to “have it all” (Especially since the job of “Head Writer” is split among other people these days anyway). So with that, Colin eventually segued his way away from Head Writer-dom and improved dramatically at the Update desk in his 2nd season. Unfortunately, He still seemed to latch on to Seth’s mannerisms & joke delivery more tightly than Michael Jackson’s grip at Disneyland (with apologies to Robert Smigel for borrowing that joke from “Triumph”), but he did become much better than we ever expected him to be in terms of actual humor and emotion. Having said that, there was still a lot to work on; he loosened up considerably, but he also needed to be less of an “Anchor” and more of a Person when reading a story; Only then will the jokes he tells sound more conversational vs. simply speaking at the viewer. Speaking of being conversational, his next point of improvement should’ve been how he plays off his varying commentary counterparts—including his co-anchor. Interacting with any of them (outside of asking a straight man’s questions) is a step forward. Otherwise, I think it’s safe to say that we definitely owe him an apology for last year, but there’s still room for improvement.


Thankfully, since Season 41 was right on the fringe of an Election year, both Jost & Che FINALLY fell right in to their natural element. They still don’t 100% have the “chemistry” that other anchor duos had in the past; but then again, there’s a stark difference between a male/female dynamic and a male/male dynamic. It’s certainly a more “Brotherly” relationship than, say, Seth & Amy’s sometimes flirtatious banter. At the same time, When Grant Tinker & Brandon Tartikoff ran NBC in the 80s, their chief philosophy was to give any new program time to grow (Usually a full season or so), and eventually the audience will come around—not like today where instant gratification is the name of the game. When Jost & Che started together Three years ago, the immediate knee-jerk reaction was that Jost was too Bland, and Che might be out of his element. Today, Jost is still kinda vanilla and Che sometimes looks like he’d rather be anywhere else, but at least we can sense more sparks flying from them than we thought—ESPECIALLY when by this point in the show (depending on which version of the story you believe), Jost has stepped away/got demoted from his duties as Co-Head Writer and is now able to focus his energy solely on Update.This has resulted in a Major uptick in energy and creativity from both of them (and POSSIBLY the Rest of the Writers by and large); and lo and behold, they both managed to not only find their rhythm, but do so as a team. They finally “arrived” in 2016, it looks like they’re here to stay, and with all that has happened in the world within the past few months alone; a lot of us fully expect the guns to continue to blaze.



As proof that this was an act that simply needed to be properly nurtured in order for it to grow; I now present to you some of my Favorite jokes that the duo has told during their first 3 seasons [NOTE: despite the fact that some of these are “Recent” jokes, It amazes me just how dated and full of obscure references some of them have become]:



“Tomorrow will mark the final major league baseball game for Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter. Jeter retires after 20 seasons, 260 home runs, over 3400 hits, and ALL the ass.” (9/27/14)

“A shepherd in Germany has discovered a rare “geep,” which is a sheep-goat hybrid. It’s believed to be the first sheep-goat hybrid to be discovered since Kid Rock.” (9/27/14)

“A new report was released this week accusing UNC of more than 18 years of academic fraud involving more than 3000 student athletes. UNC student athletes refuted the report calling it both ungood and distrue.” (10/25/14)

“TLC has canceled the reality show, “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” after it was reported that Mama June is dating a convicted sex offender. Even though ‘convicted sex offender’ is the show’s key demographic.” (10/25/14)

“Pizza Hut is trying out a new tablet-based menu that relies purely on customers’ eye movements to create their perfect pizza. Finally, a way around the rigorous work of pointing.” (12/6/14)

“According to a new study teenage boys are just as vicious as teenage girls when it comes to rumors and making nasty comments. The study was conducted by my [Colin’s] high school yearbook photo.” (12/13/14)

“A convicted sex offender has won more than $2 million dollars in the state lottery. At which point he shouted: “I’m going 200 feet from Disneyworld!” (12/13/14)

“Kathie Lee Gifford revealed this week that in the late 1970s while performing as a backup singer for a Bill Cosby comedy tour, the comedian kissed her but she rejected him. More shockingly that means she also rejected a glass of wine…Also what the hell is a backup singer for Bill Cosby?” (12/20/14)

“The number of robots in the workplace has steadily increased in the past few years, including a machine that administers sedatives. The machine is known as the Cosbytron 5000.” (12/20/14)

“This Past Wednesday was ‘National Hug Day’…dad…” (1/24/2015)

“Potential Republican Presidential candidate, Dr. Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon, said this week that homosexuality is a choice because many people go to prison straight and ‘when they come out, they’re gay.’ Like how in that last sentence Dr. Carson went in as a neurosurgeon and came out as a complete idiot.” (3/7/15)

“A Candy store in Los Angeles Has created a 440 lb. Peanut Butter Cup…It’s called CeeLo.” (3/28/15)

“Louisiana police arrested a man for shooting his 18-year old son during an argument over Orange juice…It’s considered the 2nd worst crime that O.J. is responsible for.” (3/28/15)

“The Parents of a 6 year old Indonesian boy who is addicted to smoking say he has cut down to 5 cigarettes a day…Now that’s very impressive considering how stressed he’s been at the Sneaker Factory.” (4/4/15)

“During opening day at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, lines for the bathrooms were so long that fans resorted to urinating in cups. A move Chicagoans are calling, ‘Hey free beer!’ and ‘Oh no’.” (4/11/15)

“It was revealed that a new stamp featuring the late poet, Maya Angelou contains a quote that she did not write. Now that’s bad, but not as bad as how none of you noticed that this is actually a picture of Della Reese…Aw, you feel a little racist now, don’t you? And you should, cause I’m lying, that’s actually Toni Morrison.” (4/11/15)

“In the first address ever by a Japanese leader to Congress, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offered condolences for Americans killed during World War II. Abe then asked, ‘So…you guys have anything from World War II you want to apologize for?’” (5/2/15)

“A nail salon in Queens called ‘ISIS Nails’ has finally changed its name after suffering harassment from locals who thought the store was connected to the terrorist group. Though I don’t know how much better things will be with their new name ‘Nail Qaeda.’” (5/9/15)

“A group of astronomers have calculated the distance to a galaxy as more than thirteen billion light years away, which is most distant galaxy ever measured. It’s so distant, the astronomers have given it the nickname ‘Dad.’” (5/9/15…Seriously Colin, about those Daddy issues…)

“China has banned its soldiers from wearing the new Apple Watch over concerns about cyber security…said one Chinese soldier, ‘But my daughter made it for me’” (5/16/15)


“The author, who wrote children’s books under the name Lemony Snicket, announced that he is donating $1 million to Planned Parenthood. It’s an amount that will cover a whole series of unfortunate events.” (10/3/15)


“A man in New Hampshire was arrested for throwing objects around a local McDonald’s after he ordered a burger without pickles and was given a burger with pickles. The man was embarrassed by the outburst, but doesn’t think it’ll hurt his campaign for president.’” (10/3/15)


“American Apparel has filed for bankruptcy. If you’re not familiar with American Apparel, they’re that company that makes flyers for missing persons.” (10/10/15)


“This weekend 150,000 people are expected to attend New York’s Comic Con, or as women refer to it, ‘Reverse Fleet Week’.” (10/10/15)


“Chuck E. Cheese has announced plans to revamp its menu and sell more beer and wine. It’s all part of their plan to help loosen up pedophiles.” (10/10/15)


“’Playboy’ magazine announced that starting next month it will no longer feature pictures of naked woman. While ‘Cat Fancy’ is still straight up pussy.” (10/17/15)


“Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius, known as the ‘Blade Runner,’ will serve the rest of his five-year manslaughter sentence under house arrest. While under house arrest they will put an electronic monitor on his ankle and then put his ankles on a really high shelf.” (10/17/15)


“A Taco Bell executive has been fired after a video was posted of him assaulting an Uber driver. You know, I cannot believe Taco Bell has executives. I thought all their decisions were made by a wheel of nonsense words.” (11/7/15)

“A brand of peanut butter is being sold called ‘STEEM,’ which contains more caffeine than a Red Bull… Perfect for that creep who wants their dog to just GO TO TOWN down there.” (11/15/15)


“Radio Shack is hoping to boost its holiday profits with early Black Friday sales, and staying open on Thanksgiving Day. You may know Radio shack from their slogan: ‘Hey, didn’t that used to be a Radio Shack?’” (11/22/15)


“Former Subway sandwich spokesman Jared Fogle, who pleaded guilty to having sex with minors, was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Fogle said he was just happy to get anything under 18.” (11/22/15)


“According to a new list the most popular baby girl name of the year was Sophia. While the least popular baby girl name belonged to little Isis Cosby.” (12/5/15)


“On Thursday, a gang of black people who were allegedly under the influence of narcotics, murdered two high-ranking community leaders on live television. This according to the Fox news recap of ‘The Wiz.’” (12/5/15)


“The Grammy nominations were announced with Kendrick Lamar getting 11 nominations. It’s the first good news in a while about a black guy getting something 11 times.” (12/12/15)


“At the GOP debate Chris Christie criticized President Obama, calling him a ‘feckless weakling.’ Whoa, someone got a dictionary for Christmas. I had to look that one up. ‘Feckless: Inept or irresponsible.’ Let’s see it used in a sentence: ‘It would be a feckless attempt at revenge to close three lanes of a bridge in New Jersey.’” (12/19/15)


“Officials for Ben Carson’s campaign said that he has cancelled a planned trip to Africa, citing potential security issues. Carson said he got worried after watching the disturbing documentary, ‘Jumanji’.” (12/19/15)


“A British sex toy company has constructed a private booth in New York City for men to masturbate in. Good, ‘cuz I’m getting tired of doing it in Colin’s office.” (1/16/16)


“Arizona police arrested a man, who traveled all the way from Pennsylvania to have sex with a horse. I mean, is that why he said he was there? Because if so, he definitely came to do something way worse. ‘Hey you! What are you doing?’ ‘Oh me, nothing. I was just gonna have sex with a horse.’ ‘Okay, you got me, I’m ISIS.’ (1/16/16)


“A teenage girl in Virginia saved her father after he was trapped under a burning pickup truck and she lifted it off him. And that story has already been nominated for eight ‘Country Music Awards’.” (1/16/16)


“As a result of the massive blizzard that has hit the east coast officials have banned cars from the road, shut down half the subway lines, and advised everyone to remain at home. The one guy ignoring these warnings….my boss [CUT TO LORNE PIC].” (1/23/16)


“A California company has created a new marijuana based vaginal suppository to help women suffering from menstrual pain. And if you’re lucky, it might give your boyfriend the munchies.” (2/6/16)


“New York’s MTA has unveiled new high tech city buses that feature USB ports. As in, ‘hey, on the bus today I saw a guy put his penis in the USB port.’” (3/12/16)


“A new study suggests that heavier women get paid less than thinner women. That is, unless Che’s at the strip club.” (3/12/16)


“A growing trend among people getting tattoos are ‘blackout tattoos’ in which large areas of the skin are covered in black ink. The tattoos require a lot of ink, but you’ll also save a lot of ink on those resumes you won’t be printing.” (4/2/16)


“It was reported that a poor harvest last year has caused a price surge of vanilla. Incidentally, “Surge of Vanilla” is also the name of Colin’s R&B album.” (4/2/16)


“A British woman with only one arm has become a competitive rock climber. She’s most known for her famous catchphrase, ‘Help! I’m falling!’” (4/9/16)


“During a speech this week Hillary Clinton called for women to get equal pay saying, ‘There’s no discount for being a woman.’ But on the other hand, bars.” (4/16/16)


“Maine Governor Paul LePage, who has a reputation for vetoing legislation, has named his new dog ‘Veto.’ Sort of like how Hillary Clinton named her new dog, ‘Redacted Due To Ongoing Congressional Investigation.’” (5/7/16)


“A new study finds that the most common names of male criminals are Juan and Jeremy. Which is very bad news for famed Mexican porn star, Juan Jeremy.” (5/7/16)


“Police in Florida arrested a man who tried to steal a baby python from a pet store by stuffing it down his pants. But it’s not what you think. The man was just using the python to get rid of that gerbil in his ass.” (5/7/16)


“A new report shows that Puerto Ricans are moving off the island in record numbers with an average of 230 people leaving Puerto Rico a day. And somehow they all moved into the apartment above me.” (5/7/16)


“According to a recent poll, 54% of Americans prefer Lice to Donald Trump…Which is weird, because Lice (*PHOTO OF TED CRUZ*) Already Dropped out.” (5/14/16)


“A Sclupture of a kneeling Adolph Hitler was sold at Auction for more than $17 Million, The Statue depicts Hitler on his knees begging people to stop comparing him to Donald Trump…Fortunately, the statue was sold to a Jewish man who’s about to have the Greatest snapshot of All Time (*PHOTO OF STATUE AT CROTCH LEVEL*)(5/14/16).


“Officials are Warning Hikers to stay away from a Volcano in New Zealand saying there are signs it may erupt…signs like when they heard the Volcano whisper ‘Ooh, I’m So Close!’” (5/14/16)


“A Man in Oregon who collapsed in his house was Saved when his Local Domino’s Pizza became concerned when he didn’t place his regular order, and sent a driver to check on him…It’s all part of Domino’s new slogan; ‘You Die when we Say you Die’” (5/14/16).

“A New Poll shows that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s approval rating is at an All Time Low, coming in more that 10 points below “Bon Jovi Playing the New Stuff”…Still at an all time High, his Belt (5/21/16)”


“Nike has announced it will start testing a large scale 3D printer to make Air Jordans, the way it works is that the printer actually makes little Malaysian kids. (5/21/16)”


“Last Thursday was National Hepatitis Testing Day, and good news…I Got an ‘A’! (Last year, I got a ‘C’)” (5/21/16)




To help round out the collection (and also because I had retired from Episode reviews by 2016), here’s some of my Favorite Jost/Che moments from this past season…


*The Election Aftermath:


*The Inauguration:


*Alleged Russian Blackmail:


*James Comey:


*And just to bring things up to speed, the Charlotesville incident…



Whether you like them or not, Jost & Che are here to stay. And I’m certain that to the current generation who are just discovering SNL for the first time, these guys are going to be a key influence in shaping that audience’s senses of humor………Not unlike a certain comedian from the Great White North did for me circa 1994…


TOMORROW: The Best of Norm.

Back on TRACK

Previously on “I’m trying to launch a new Radio Station, but somebody took my name”, I was trying to launch a new radio station when somebody took my name. A common occurrence whenever anybody tries to start something brand new—especially when one has a limited time frame to do so. Nevertheless, it took a lot of Google searching and an equal lot of research to not only find a name that has not yet been taken, but also one that is by all accounts & purposes wholly original enough so that people can flock to it at a moment’s notice. The result? Instead of calling the new channel “TV Tunes”, it is now called (*DRUMROLL PLEASE*)…………


Starting September 16th, TV Tracks will be on the (online) air 24 hours a day playing nothing but TV’s Greatest Hits; Everything from the theme songs themselves, to original music written for television, to even album length & cover versions of the Themes. This is REALLY happening, folks. And just to show that I’m serious about all of this, we have (Un)officially launched the TV Tracks website this morning. SPOILER ALERT: If you go there now, you’re pretty much going to see a Bare-Bones operation, so try not to judge until later in September. What I CAN tell you, is that while we are getting this site up & running, we will soon begin some “Test” broadcasts just to make sure everything works the way it does; This will be followed by a week or so of “Pre-Launch” music, and then (if all continues to go as planned), we Launch 9/16 at 12PM EST. There will be some other things happening in conjunction with our formal launching, but we’ll cross those bridges once the time comes.


In the meantime, you can get to TV Tracks via the tab on the top of this page, or you could just Click & Bookmark THIS link. Poke around, do a little channel surfing, and above all else, Give me some feedback—last thing I want to do is deliver an inferior product; but at the same time, I’m still a bit of a novice when it comes to web development. All I ask is that you Bear with me, and hopefully by 9/16, you will hear something you will Never forget.



“Don’t Touch That Dial”, and STAY TUNED!

PROGRAM NOTE (or “I REALLY suck at Math”)

I’ll be brief, we need to change a thing or two around with our “Starmaker” thing. As I mentioned in Yesterday’s Episode review, I had said that sometime in August, I would be doing a week-long salute to “Weekend Update” in conjunction with the upcoming run of WU Programs that will be airing beginning August 10th. On/Around that time, we should’ve also been at the half-way point on our “Starmaker” work as we were going to present another set of Commercial parodies at the halfway point; one Live sketch, one recorded, one set of each a day per 5-year period. When you add everything up, that would’ve meant that between that and “Update Week” that would mean a total of 23 sketches to write about over the course of an 8 day period…something that even I don’t have the stamina for on top of not just my regular job, but also preparing to launch my new TV Theme Song Radio station. So before my Brains turn into overcooked Spaghetti, something has to give.


Ergo, a revised game plan–The way things look right now, we begin talking about the “Host” Tapes on Wednesday, 7/26/17; There’s 12 tapes, 2 shows per tape, 24 sketches to cover in as many days as there are tapes. Once we’re done with that, we are then going to Jettison our planned “Commercial Break”, take that week off from Starmaker, and then focus on “Update Week” during the Week of August 21st thru 26th–yes, the Prime Time “Update” shows will be halfway finished by then, but at least they will still be done. Afterwards on the 30th (due to a surprise business trip), we will pick up where we left off on Starmaker with the “Classic Years” and “Special Edition” tapes. As a Result, the end-date for the whole thing should now be moved to the day before the Season Premiere on September 29th.


So, to recap:

*Starmaker Through August 19th.
*”Update Week” Aug 20th-26th
*Starmaker Resumes Aug 30th-Sept 29th.


Everybody Got That? OK…See ‘ya in the Morning.

The Maverick

Welcome to this Special Edition of SNL “Retro Reviews”. For this edition, I will TRY to keep the self-deprecation to a minimum, but hopefully you’ll understand if I don’t.


With that being said, when It comes to Politics, I try to stay pretty neutral—though there has been a time or two when I tend to lean towards the Liberal side of things. Not that I don’t support some conservative causes, but suffice to say it’s pretty hard to support anything conservative these days considering most of the GOP’s Credibility is about as sturdy as a 2-legged table holding a Sunday dinner. Thankfully, there are still people in the world of politics you can look upon as pillars of strength and stability, and among them is the subject of today’s review; Arizona Senator John McCain. Say what you will about how he’s been on various issues in recent years; but perhaps because of his recent health scare, maybe it explains more than should be explained. Yes, there’s a lot of things he did that a lot of us out there cannot possibly agree on. But at the same time; he not only fought for his country and his life, but he has spent his career fighting for the lives of his constituents. As I said on the front page of the blog a few days go; I don’t agree 100% with everything he’s ever said, but John McCain remains one of the ONLY Republicans I have ever honestly liked…Here’s to a speedy Recovery…Fuck Cancer. (EDIT: 7/25/2017: Yes, even as he voted For [and then Later against] Healthcare Repeal, It would still be petty to judge one person based on that one thing…even if it means sending the country into health-related uncertainty. If that’s how he feels, so be it, and I won’t think any less of him because of it; besides, only comedy matters here.)


One of the reasons why I tolerate Sen. McCain is because all the way back in 2002, he was willing to make fun of himself a number of times during his one hosting appearance (as well as a few cameos in passing years). Something that, in turn, gave me a whole new respect for the guy—even years later when he made what has been argued as his career defining error…but that’s another story. For now though, let’s go back to a time when the only thing we had to worry about was Dubya invading a country with insufficient information. As is the case with these reviews, Old thoughts are in Block Quotes, new thoughts are in Blue Ink, all of the errors I wrote back then will be un-edited for context, And all the “Simpsons” quotes are a gimmick that I borrowed from a then-recently retired reviewer from the fabled SNL fansite I keep talking about. That said, it’s time to hop aboard the “Straight Talk Express” one more time…




Senator John McCain/The White Stripes (Original Airdate: 10/19/2002)




Sorry I wasn’t here last week, but like I said in my first review I have a job at a costume store, and we’re heading into Halloween when it’s getting nuts! 2ndly, After seeing this past show, it leads me to wonder if this is this going to be another “Crap Year” for SNL? I mean, look at the facts… 2 Key players are outta here, (Will & Ana) 2 featured players join to hopefully even it out.(Fred and–the other–Will) Not to mention some of the poorest written sketches I’ve seen in a long time.

IMHO I think that SNL is overdue for one of these years, I mean even the good lord had to rest on one day. SNL has been, and is going to be around for a long enough time that it won’t have to worry about delibrately sucking up a storm. But I digress, If I had a TV Show and lose some of my best performers, I’d probably have a bad year afterwards too… Only diff between SNL & Me, Is that I’d probably be canceled the following season, but that’s besides the point. The point being, is that SNL has been through many transitions like this before, and like a duck, they will just let it roll off their backs. There you go, end of Story……But Begining of the Review, The last time someone political hosted, Rudy “Combover Jones” Giulianni did the deed. This time around, it’s another Republican that I can Tolerate by the name of Senator John McCain. Oh yeah, “The White Stripes” Rock too!


EDITOR’S NOTE: Oh, Right, Giuliani was still riding high as “America’s Mayor”…BOY, will the tables turn about 6-10 years from then. As for the other stuff, that actually turned out to be largely true—the show would have a bit of a quality control problem the next few years. Not only with Ferrell having left already, but eventually Tracy, Fallon and……Kattan (*THUNDER*) flying the coup too. They wouldn’t have a half-way decent season for about 3 years because of there being a lack of focus or Alpha cast member to tune in for (Save for Fallon, Fey & Poehler). Fortunately, since this episode was early in the season, there was still a bit of a grace period to re-adjust.

The Iraqi Vote Or “…And the results are in. For ‘Sideshow Bob–100%. For Joe Quimby—1%. And we remind you there is a 1% margin of error.”

(TO HIMSELF: Hmmm, Was hoping for a Bush opening, too bad.) I’m confused, isn’t Darrell supposed to be Saddam? I dunno, it just seemed a little off. Anywho, the people of Iraq must be the most one-track minded people in the world if they feel that a guy as bad as Hussein should be re-elected…Especially if no one is running against him. This was good for a few laughs, but it felt a little dry in the sense that it was trying to spoof an overspoofed spoof. (I.e. The Confusing Ballots) But it was still OK.

Diagnosis: B+

EDITOR’S NOTE: Not really anything new to add here 15 years later; it was a pretty one-sided spoof of the infamous “Hanging Chad” election of ’00 baked with Iraqi spices; If anything, the predictability of the sketch sort of knocks it down a few points. Also, yes, Hammond did play Hussein a few episodes earlier, yet it’s Hortatio looking more like a Mario Brother on Steroids here—I guess that was sort of distracting. Either way, I think I gave this one a little too much credit when it aired; then again, the debacle of ’00 was still fresh in a lot of people’s minds, so I can see why they went this way.





Monolouge or “Are you ready to laugh?!…” “Be Quiet, you Awful Man!”

“O dios mio” I knew it! “Ferricito” is becoming a recurring character. And believe me, I’m not “Just Keeding”. If they want to keep him going, they better find a new angle for him. Because knowing the history of recurring characters, only one character and one catchphrase ad nausium could kill a guy’s career (I.e. Jon Lovitz) Though it was kinda cute to hear Sen. McCain say it in his own way. That was the saving grace.

Diagnosis: B

EDITOR’S NOTE: In case you need a reminder, this was Fred Armisen’s first year on the show—and when he arrived, he had a pretty good comedy & musical background (at least according to his Wikipedia page). His “Ferricito” was one of only a few characters that were actual hits out of the gate, and was also the hallmark of the first half of his SNL career—before he became too pretentious. Seeing him team up with McCain isn’t the strangest team-up I’ve ever seen, but it still ranks as unusual enough for it to still be amusing. More importantly, this was the moment when I realized that McCain will look to be a good sport about things—especially a few sketches down the line. Also of note, this marks one of the rare times when you see a set-up for the next sketch as the show is on the air (not counting commercial bumpers). Behind the scenes stuff intrigues me sometimes, so that was a nice bonus.



Hardball or OK, let’s go over the rules. You can’t leave 1st without chugging a beer. Any man scoring has to chug a beer. You have to chug a beer at the top of all odd numbered innings. Oh, and the 4th inning is the beer inning.” “Hey! we know how to play softball.”

Ah, but do they know how to play Hardball?! Great segue, huh? (SILENCE FROM THE AUDIENCE) Yeah! Anyway, This was one of the funnier “Hardball” sketches. Especially Tracy, Even I’m not sure who’s getting offended by the “Uncle Tom” comment. But the Kazam/Shaq Jokes, the fact that McCain is playing someone political who isn’t himself. (Smell the Irony) Too bad they didn’t add that “Insult Punching Bag” Paul Begala. But either way, this was funny, and I now regret saying all that stuff about SNL having a “Crap year”.

Diagnosis: A+


EDITOR’S NOTE: If I had to choose which of the Hardball sketches SNL did over the years as the funniest, this would certainly rank in the Top 5, but because Kattan isn’t around to play periodic punching bag Paul Begala, I was probably a little too generous the first time—Nevertheless, this one was memorable partly because of McCain’s subtle teasing of his own party by playing John “Let the Eagle Soar” Ashcroft, but ESPECIALLY because Tracy manages to come out of his shell when playing Harry Belafonte, and saying one ridiculous thing after another. As for my saying that this was a “Crap year” for the show; I was only half right, and there were still 17 episodes to go, so perhaps that was a bit unfair too.





“Lifetime Stalker movie” Or “Homer, I don’t want you stalking people anymore, remember when you were stalking Charles Kuralt because you thought he was digging up your garden.” “Well, somebody did!”

At first, this would become a crap fest. (Whether Real or fictional, I’m no Chick Flick fan.) But this was actually funny. Not ROTFL funny, but good for a chuckle or two. I thought McCain looked ridiculous in that beard, but that’s aside from the point. Also, did anybody with a keen eye notice Chris Parnell wearing and NYPD uniform, even though this story (Supposedly) takes place in Canada? It just struck me as interesting.

Diagnosis: B-

EDITOR’S NOTE: On my Starmaker page, I mention how once in a while (depending on the host), there will be a sketch or two where said host will “Play against type”—I.e. Robert Wagner making a mess, Christopher Walken doing (*INSERT WEIRD THING HERE*), and even cue-card reader Robert DeNiro dressing up as Peter Pan. Sen. McCain playing just about every Lifetime TV Movie villain (in addition to about 70% of the parts he plays n this episode) falls into that category as well, but perhaps because of his soft-spoken nature, he plays it just a little sillier than he should’ve. Also, the joke about the story taking place in Canada is a bit of an industry secret—especially when filming “Made-for-Cable” movies that try to maintain a decent budget, it’s cheaper to film in Vancouver or Toronto. If you’ve ever seen a “Lifetime” movie in your…uh…Lifetime…they pretty much capture the nuances of those movies pretty well–although the punchline at the end (which I won’t spoil) sort of causes the whole thing to peter out. It’s still an effective parody thanks to McCain sleezing it up a little.




“Wakefield” or “I’m going to be delivering the hard hitting news to the kids of Springfield…Plus I get to be on TV!”

Of course, the inevitable Road block. But what made this different, was the fact that McCain was a hippie-type person. Other than that, it’s the same stupid joke.

Diagnosis: C-

EDITOR’S NOTE: We meet again, Getty! Anyway, Somewhere on a list of Least Favorite Recurring sketches, “Wake Up Wakefield” is one of them—but pretty low on the list because even though Maya Rudolph sometimes has a voice that could re-shape diamonds, and Horatio’s guidance counselor is painful to watch sometimes, at least Dratch’s awkward “Sheldon” is good for a few laughs. To say nothing of the fact that the results of these sketches are incredibly formulaic; Maya & Dratch host the show with an awkward middle school band as their house band, Maya talks about some upcoming event that is somehow connected to her unrequited crush, Randy Goldman (Jimmy Fallon), Dratch mentions something awkward that’s unrelated, then the guest comes on, more awkwardness takes place, Horatio pops in while making a painful dance move, more awkwardness; Randy shows up for whatever reason, causing Maya to go into a verbal tailspin, more awkwardness, fade out, the end. Every. Single. Time! They did try to mix it up on some occasions by moving the action to other locations, but despite capturing the awkwardness of middle school pretty well, the formula remained unchanged—and that ultimately harmed the sketches. On the other hand, McCain gets to live out an alternate version of himself if he never went to war; that was actually kind of amusing to see.



“TV Funhouse/AGD” or “Homer listen carefully, John is a Ho- Mo…” “Right…” “Sexual!” “AAAAAHHHH!!!” 

It’s been many moons since the AGD last dropped by, And as usual, it was hysterical. And if that Dancing of theirs doesn’t prove that they’re gay, I don’t know what will. It would have gotten an A+, but that Fat-ass Jack Welch had to ruin it.

Diagnosis: B+

EDITOR’S NOTE: Once again; at the age of 17, there’s a good chance I don’t know any better about the world or certain people who can move the world around—Jack Welch, Longtime General Electric CEO, is one of those people who I probably should’ve done research about first before blindly calling him fat (Honestly, I think Smigel’s people went out of their way to draw him rather unflatteringly here thanks to a throwaway joke about him appearing in a cartoon as part of his controversial retirement package—since then, the guy has lost a lot of the weight, but is also in his 80s now, so I think we can let it go). Having read several bios on the guy in passing years; yes, he is deservedly a titan of industry, but I still feel “Neutron Jack” is a bit of a bore—so much so, that his inclusion at the end of this adventure with Ace & Gary still feels out of place with the rest of the action. As for the duo themselves, it’s pretty much every stereotype of “Gay People Know about Decorating” you can think of; a sure sign that ABG was just about ready to run out of gas. Also, we can thank “Five for Fighting” for this sketch not being available in video format–a shame really, because Ace & Gary’s interpretive dance to the song “Superman” might’ve been the best part of the whole thing.




“Meet the Press” or “Oooh, a political discussion at our table, I feel like a Kennedy.”

Next to Hardball, this was one of the Best Sketches of the Night. It’s scary how Darrell Plays Tim Russert “to a T”, (Still trying to figure out what that means.) I mean, the non-stop questioning, the misleads and whatnot. Darrell Hammond, if you’re reading this, I’ve got two words for you: “Lifetime Contract” As for McCain, He played the best Straight man I’ve seen since…Well, anyone in politics.

Diagnosis: A+ 


EDITOR’S NOTE: How the Hell could I have forgotten about this sketch? Still another Honorable mention I left out of an existing list; this is probably one of the better political sketches to come out of the ‘00’s that Doesn’t contain the word “Strategery”. Of course, there is a certain pall of sadness while watching this sketch because—hard as it is to believe—it’s now been almost 10 years since we lost Tim Russert. Meet the Press was probably one on the Only Political/News based programs I watched at the time that didn’t bore me back to bed, and part of the reason why it fascinated me was because Russert was probably one of the best verbal jousters ever to play the game of political punditry & needling next to John McLaughlin (another show I watched at a young age, but for semi-ironic reasons). Russert is very much missed, and I’m certain Hammond misses portraying him—As for that “Lifetime Contract” comment, well…I’m half-way right as Hammond still calls 8H his home, just under a different capacity these days. Anyway, when this piece aired, McCain still had a certain aura of likability that made many wonder if he would challenge Dubya in 2004—but since toying with party lines is often a death sentence, of course he would run again…he would have to wait until After Dubya left office to get a chance to do so—but then he Wasilla’d himself out of it, and the rest is history. McCain largely plays it straight as Hammond does all the heavy work; sometimes fast & loose, but other times to a point where you just want to tell him to shut up. The part where they hypothetically pit a 90 year old McCain against a Jimmy Carter Zombie was bizarrely poignant—especially considering McCain’s got a tough road ahead if he ever wants to see 90. Nevertheless, if/when McCain’s time ever came to pass, this would probably be the Sketch the show would air as a tribute if they don’t put the episode on “Vintage” first.



Update or “…For Channel 6 News, I’m Kenny Brockelstein.”

Finally back on par from the past two weeks, Great jokes, non-stop laughs, even that near mute politician was funny. My personal faves? (In no particular order) Iraqi Idol, The “Pumpkin” thing, Tina’s Rant, (What man doesn’t love that?) The “Jimmy in Drag” joke, and the “Jet Train” joke. But hands down, the political guy was icing on the cake. Update is back alright, no doubt about it.

Diagnosis: A+

EDITOR’S NOTE: OK, let’s rephrase that in a way that makes some semblance of sense…
Favorite Jokes: Jet Train, Tearless Onions, RDJ/Jimmy in Drag (which, BTW, might’ve been the genesis of one of his “Tonight Show” bits), Pumpkin Sex.

Commentaries: Not only is Tina’s opening comment on Iraq & North Korea something that Jost & Che would be proud of, but it’s surprisingly & scarily still relevant to this day—give or take a few details. North Korea remains the “Older child with a Bomb”, while Iraq……well, you know. As for that “Near Mute Politician”; that would be honorable mention among my favorite characters, Tim Calhoun making his debut. I’ve always wanted to know what the origins were behind the character aside from the fact that he emulates most soft-spoken political figures (or, according to some, a young Ted Cruz), but after an extensive google search, it looks like one of those stories Forte wants to keep to himself. Nevertheless, this was the character that helped put Forte on the map in terms of just how weird/quirky some of his later characters would be; and the more he repeated these performances, the more outlandish they would become.


UPDATED SCORE: A- (some jokes became a little outdated)




“McCain Sings Streisand” or “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Democracy simply doesn’t work.”

…Especially when you have a guy who’s as distinguished as Senator McCain, and have him sing the songs of Streisand…And in a incredibly off-key manner. But ladies and gentlemen, that’s exactly why this was as funny as it was. That and the god awful sight of seeing McCain in Shorts. (Though those shorts will never be as short as Will Ferrell’s) It was definately unusual to see/hear, but it’s the good kind of unusual. If they ever do something like this again, just make sure they find someone who can sing on key.

Diagnosis: B+

EDITOR’S NOTE: And speaking of “Plays against type”, THIS was the moment where I realized that McCain is not only a hero, but as far as I’m concerned, he can do whatever the Hell he wants (within reason) on the Senate Floor. Even if you watch the above video, just TRY to picture someone as soft-spoken as McCain trying to belt out sappy love songs in what I can only describe as the “Key of R”—but at least we know the bad singing is entirely on purpose, because the main joke is that McCain should sing Streisand in as much as Streisand should be in Politics—and as a Liberal leaning Independent, I actually side with McCain on that one (Though to be fair, at least Streisand was willing to offer an Olive Branch a few times, including just a few days ago). Watching this again, I actually had to turn off after 30 seconds—not because it was bad or has aged horribly, but because sometimes there’s such a thing as “Too Silly”. Hearing McCain bellow “Love…Soft as an Easy Chair” was a little too much to take…still a funny visual, though.




“Big Thick Book” or “Marge, I’m Bored!” “Why don’t you read a book?” “Cause I’m trying to reduce my boredom!”

Ugh, I thought they would stop doing these! Does Jack Handey have a Lifetime contract dealie or something? If so, this would explain much. He should just go back to doing “Deep thoughts” like he should. And because of this, this get’s the honor of being named…”Oy Vey! of the Day”!

Diagnosis: F

EDITOR’S NOTE: Once again, this was a “Filler” Piece—and since it is, it would probably be unfair to grade something that’s only a few seconds long. The strange thing about these is that I have often enjoyed Jack Handey’s work (Handey-work?) in the past; “Deep Thoughts”? Classic. “Fuzzy Memories”? A Solid follow-up. Yet it was these bits that I somehow found to be incredibly boring for some reason. Maybe Jack got too Dry, maybe the illustrations by Robert Fontanelli were a little droll, or maybe I was still an immature teenager who thought that Tom Green was a Genius at the time (even though he has Nothing to do with this). Either way, I’ve grown up a little, and it turns out that these bits would probably be better if you watched them all in succession—but that’s just me.






“Top O’ the Morning” or “Marge, I’m going to Moe’s! Send the kids to the neighbors, I’m comin’ back loaded!”

For an end of the night sketch, this was pretty good. If they manage to do another one of these, they just have to make sure that they don’t repeat to many elements. (I.e. “Punching Wall”, “Human 8-Ball”, “Not Here, Not Here”!) The only problem with this one was the fact that McCain couldn’t play a drunk Irishman to save his life. As for the rest of his performances, they were suprisingly well acted. Something that’s hard to see a politician do. Getting back to this sketch, like I said, just don’t overkill the elements next time.

Diagnosis: B 


EDITOR’S NOTE: I already mentioned this sketch once before in my Salma Hayek retro review; but the fact remains that for the most part, it was not only a competent series of sketches chock-full of Irish stereotypes, but also a series of sketches with a high burnout rate. Starting strong in season 28, then suddenly one or two of them by the time Fallon left in ’04. On the plus and/or minus side, at least the first one was the best one.



Grand Diagnosis: B+

Prescription: I’ve got nothing to criticize here, that was a great show. That’s how the show should be. Though it seemed as though there were very few sketches. (About 10 at my count.)



UPDATED THOUGHTS: With the exception of various Iraq related jokes, this show not only still holds up, but it also affirms my belief that even the most straight-laced, overly sensitive and/or uptight people can take a joke (which is something I wish I could say about anybody in the current administration). The real surprise of the show was just how professional McCain turned out to be, as well as some of the lengths he was willing to go to maintain that professionalism. Watching all of this again not only makes me hope he recovers, but that he’s got enough left in him to pull off at least one more Maverick trick of some kind. Say what you will about McCain, but the guy has had a life well spent—his SNL appearance is just one of many highlights that’ll last a lifetime.



Hopefully the next time our Regular page resumes Updates will be a few weeks from now, when we present a week-long salute to “Weekend Update” in light of the upcoming prime-time run. In the meantime, the “Summer of Starmaker” rolls on, and will continue to do so through the rest of the summer. We’ll see you in a few weeks for “Update Week”.

10 Things I learned after watching “Baby Driver”

Recently, I saw the new Edgar Wright film “Baby Driver”; it’s the story of an unusually gifted Kid (Ansel Elgort) who accelerates both literally and figuratively in being a driver for various heists Orchestrated by Kevin Spacey, and a rotating crew of hoods who actually pull of said heists. For the most part, the movie was A-MA-ZING, and it also makes me want to give Wright’s “Cornetto Trilogy” a second look when I have the time. But for the benefit of those who haven’t seen the movie yet, I want to do something that I hope to do whenever I see a new movie—I want to share what I learned during/after the movie WITHOUT using any Spoilers. The following things that I learned are listed in no particular order of importance, they’re just a series of observations I realized while watching the movie. With that said, here’s what I learned about “Baby Driver”…



  1. I should’ve been more of a gear head growing up.

    I know it seems like a common cliché that “Men know cars”, but in all my years of breathing oxygen, I wouldn’t know the difference between a socket wrench and a crescent wrench, even if the names were written in Bold Ink on Flash Cards. Some of the dialogue in the movie was very Car-Specific, and it probably would’ve made more sense to me if I saw more episodes of “Top Gear” in my spare time. Then again, I’m here to see cars zoom down the road and/or watch them crash spectacularly; knowing the ins & outs of car lingo is the least of my concerns.


    2. Wearing Sunglasses and an iPod while driving turns you into Vin Diesel no matter how “aloof” you are.



Apparently, this kid (named “Baby”) does his best driving while he’s listening to certain music. Specifically while listening to music. There are reasons for this which sort of verge into “Spoiler” territory, so let’s just say for argument’s sake that this is a highly fantasized version of what happens when a person’s favorite song comes on the radio. I like walking around the city wearing my music, I like walking in rhythm to the tune I’m listening to at the moment, but I certainly wouldn’t want to be Fast and/or Furious as I do.





  1. At the same time, listening to said iPod is therapeutic–especially if you have Tinnitus.



Yes, this is a plot point, but at the same time, I had to see if there was any medical truth to this or if it was just another work of fiction. Sure enough, I came across This Article and the below video that helps bust the myth while (at the same time) proves it as well. So, take a look at this…






  1. I love the guy, but I’m sick of Kevin Spacey playing a bad guy in everything; mix it up a little next time!



Kevin Spacey is one of my Top 10 Favorite actors, and I’m sure playing shady characters is his bread & butter. But let’s face it, he’s been playing these kinds of characters for practically his entire career. Even on rare occasions when he’s a “Good” guy, he somehow portrays those roles as seedy as a Chia Pet. Seeing him as one of the Bad-ish guys in this movie just felt like something I’ve seen millions of times. Just once, I’d like to see him play someone who benefitted mankind—Maybe Samuel Morse or Eli Whitney or Somebody who didn’t have Bad intentions. Thankfully, where Spacey was predictable, these next two certainly were not…





  1. Don’t Mess with Jamie Foxx.



Shouldn’t really have to explain this one, the dude’s a chameleon. He can be a legendary soul singer one minute, a former slave out for revenge the next; and in this case, a gangster just looking for what’s his. Quite honestly, he WOULD’VE been the best Bad Guy in the movie if it weren’t for Don Draper stealing the show…




Jon Hamm;Ansel Elgort

  1. Don’t Fuck with Jon Hamm



Believe me, there’s a difference between “Messing” with someone and “Fucking” with someone. Again, without going into “Spoiler Mode”, Hamm’s performance is the human equivalent of going “Zero to 60 in 2.4 seconds”. Anybody who can go from that calm to that enraged on the turn of a dime (especially after losing out on so many Emmys) makes me wonder if he took up Method Acting in his Younger days. Something about his performance was just plain haunting.





  1. Gotta get more Motown/Hip-Hop/R&B songs for my library.



If the movie was even the slightest bit lousy (which, thankfully, it wasn’t), the soundtrack would’ve acted as the movie’s air-bag. There are over 70 Songs credited as being in the movie; Among them? James Brown, Dave Brubeck, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Martha & The Vandellas, T. Rex, The Commodores, Issac Hayes, Barry White, Queen, The Detroit Emeralds, Brenda Holloway, Steve Miller Band, Quincy Jones, Edwin Starr, Alman Brothers Band, Jamiroquai, Aretha Franklin, The Beastie Boys, Phil Collins, Bill Withers, The Isley Brothers, Blur, Simon & Garfunkel, and most importantly, BECK, but not just any Beck song, a cut from his “Midnite Vultures” album…Like I even have to say her name…



For reasons I don’t have enough time to get into right now, this movie’s soundtrack went into my head and plucked out half of my iTunes Library. If they don’t give Oscars to people who put together movie soundtracks, THEY SHOULD (Failing that, at least whoever put this collection together probably has a Grammy waiting in the “Will Call” section of the Staples Center at Next year’s ceremony).





  1. Buy LOTS of Kevlar before visiting Atlanta.



OK, that might be a little unfair, but the facts are there; the movie takes place in Metro Atlanta, and I’m sure the movie was rated “R” for more than just language. Point is, shit blows up, people get shot, run over, impaled, fall off buildings, get crushed in cars and a bunch of other mis-fortunes that could happen in any other city…I don’t know if it was Edgar Wright’s decision to film there, but so be it otherwise. I’m sure the City is a great place to have a good time (Bonus points for them name-dropping the [soon to be] world famous “Goodfella’s Pizza”)…Still never gonna root for the Braves, though.





  1. Good Girls ALWAYS go for the Bad Boys in the grand scheme of things (even if the boy in question has no intention of ever being “Bad”).



It is a cliché as old as time; or at the very least, as old as the “Fat Guy Marries a Hot Wife on a TV Show” one. Thing is, “Baby” is neither a “Bad Boy”, nor does he fit the mold of “Traditional” Bad Boys; he’s very much “just a kid”, and he happens to have done some things that makes him look like a badass—The fact remains though, that driving around like a maniac should not be the key to getting into some girl’s pants. Hell, even the girl in the movie doesn’t want that, she just wants to get out of town and start a new life, and Baby wants to do that too. Then again, if Baby did the right thing from the beginning, the movie would be about 6 minutes long and full of plot holes. So even though I hate this cliché, I have to let it slide for the sake of telling a story…a shame really, because I always thought Edgar Wright was Above clichés.






Having heard variants of this phrase my Entire life, I sympathize. Who hasn’t wanted to search for something Better? Baby with wanting to get out of working with Spacey, Debora (Lily James) wanting to get out of the diner she works in. Sometimes you can see the Rainbow While it’s raining, yet it’s still out of reach………..God DAMN, do I need my own apartment.





Other than that, “Baby Driver” is the perfect movie to see if you want to avoid a barrage of “Minions” fans. The movie itself is not perfect; but the action, choreography, Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm and the soundtrack are more than enough to make up for the film’s (VERY) minor flaws. Having said that, I hope and Pray that they DON’T make a “se” and/or prequel…even though I would’ve liked to know a little more about how Baby wound up working for Spacey’s character and the events leading up to the beginning of the movie, I have a feeling that might’ve been left on the cutting room floor and would make a decent BluRay extra. In the meantime, I have the entire Atlantic Records music library to stream on Spotify…this could take a while…