Charles Barkley’s last SNL hosting gig was 17 years ago. So naturally, the Barkley SNL return was delayed another half-hour, thanks to the NFL playoffs. Fans had to wait until past midnight for the first SNL of 2010, which pretty much made the show Sunday Morning Live. But eventually, the Cowboys finished slaughtering the Eagles, just in time for Charles Barkley’s SNL episode to finish NBC’s sports night.
The last time Barkley hosted the show, he was an NBA MVP and at the peak of his Hall of Fame career. As he pointed out in his monologue, he’s now busy getting into gambling debts and doing bad at golf. His now infamous golf game was spoofed in a parody of “The Haney Project” in which his other awkward movements were revealed.
Barkley is a familiar SNL target, since Kenan Thompson frequently impersonates him – though no one else is available to do it. Thompson got to do his Barkley voice in the monologue, and the two even did one of Thompson’s “Scared Straight” bits.
As has been the case lately, SNL brought back some one-shot characters that debuted a long time ago. Kristin Wiig played a sexpot that makes unsexy noises, which she first did last December. Andy Samberg played a dying kid who got to call a basketball game with Barkely, but used the wrong phrases – like he did for a football game three years ago.
But some more familiar characters joined Barkley on SNL, like the soon-to-be movie star MacGruber – whose racist side was exposed before getting blown up. And once again, the likes of James Carville and Gov. David Paterson were spoofed on Weekend Update.
Charles Barkley’s SNL return was an odd way to kick off 2010. Choosing Barkley as the host came out of nowhere, as the show usually gets sports stars, but not retired ones – or ones that last hosted in 1993. But since he’s used to performing, he fit right in, though he stumbled over his lines once or twice.
Since the show didn’t start until 12:05, they kept fans up until past 1:30 am. But Barkley did give fans a bonus during the NFL pregame, in a clip where he dressed as musical guest Alicia Keys. However, Keys did her own musical performances in the actual show.
Thanks to the late start, the final sketch of the night seemed to get cut off halfway through. But since NBC has no more NFL games this season, this won’t happen again until wild card weekend 2011.
However, the Charles Barkley SNL episode isn’t the first time they’ll bring back an old former host. Sigourney Weaver hasn’t hosted in almost 25 years, yet she’ll be back next week to give Avatar some much needed publicity.
NBC.com- “Saturday Night Live – All Videos – Newest”
Entertainment Weekly- “Saturday Night Live recap: Charles Barkley shows some bite”
Zap2it- “Saturday Night Live: Charles Barkley does Alicia Keys”