OPENING –CNN’S SITUATION ROOM –2
Jason Sudeikis plays Wolf Blitzer, introducing a press conference between the Yemeni President and General Petraeus. The Yemeni President, played by Fred Armisen, is supposed to be cooperating, but keeps talking about terrorism and committing violence. Continues the SNL trend of mostly horrid openings.
MONOLOGUE — CHARLES BARKLEY — 3
Charles Barkley? Huh? Mr. Barkley last hosted 16 years ago, how is he relevant now? He said that he’s sorry the show started late because of Football, but he did win $20,000 on the game. Kenan Thompson does a great Barkley impersonation, but the monologue falls kind of flat.
THOMAS PEEPERS INSURANCE COMPANY — 8
What happens when an insurance company watches over you at all times and how do they do it? Funny spoof of your average insurance commercial.
REEL QUOTES — 9
Bill Hader hosts a game show that tests your knowledge of movie quotes. Charles Barkley plays a clueless Blockbuster manager who keeps issuing hilarious answers to the quotes being posed. Kristen Wiig is the other contestant who keeps spouting 50 word answers to complete the quotes. Very funny sketch.
MACGRUBER — 8
MacGruber takes on a new friend, Darrell, whose name he keeps mispronouncing and we find out that MacGruber’s a racist. Funny.
SKI LODGE — 8
Kristen Wiig plays a Marilyn Monroe-type character who is soaking up all the attention from Charles Barkley, Andy Samberg, Will Forte, and Kenan Thompson. Unfortunately, her seductive charms are a lost when they see her in action. Starts off badly, but for once Wiig’s annoying voice, crazy chick, act works. It’s rude and crude, but I laughed.
MACGRUBER — 8
MacGruber gets into more racial trouble, simply asking for a black pen. Funny.
NBA ON TNT — 4
Andy Samburg plays a little kid with a disease who gets his wish to be in the booth in TNT but keeps spouting random sports cliches. Turns out that he has OCD. Charles unloads his anger on the kid, only to find out he has Overwhelming Corpse Disease. Kinda dumb.
MACGRUBER — 6
MacGruber decides to go to Africa and comes back wearing traditional garb. He tries to make up with Charles Barkley’s Darrell with predictable results. Not as funny as the last two.
ALICIA KEYS — TRY SLEEPING WITH A BROKEN HEART — 7
Not a bad song, but the performance sounds like it is canned, and Alicia dances like I do, which is not a compliment.
WEEKEND UPDATE — 4
Bill Hader shows up to do a flawless James Carville impersonation, but sadly has little funny to say. Andy Samberg shows up to do his Nicholas Cage impersonation, which IS funny. And Fred Armisen comes back to do his New York Governor David Patterson impersonation, which is incredibly wrong. (But briefly amusing.) This is another underwritten Weekend Update that makes me long for something funnier.
Best line: It was announced this week that Lady Gaga will be the new spokesperson for Polaroid. It’s a natural fit, because just like a Polaroid, it takes a few minutes to figure out what you’re looking at.
HANK HANEY WITH CHARLES BARKLEY — 7
Charles has a problem with his golf swing, hesitation and physical awkwardness that Hank Haney figures out extends to his personal life. Some funny physical comedy from Charles.
SNL DIGITAL SHORT — LIONEL’S BOOTY CALL WITH ALICIA KEYS — 8
Alicia Keys settles back for the night and calls her man, played by Andy Samberg. He’s got a goofy bowl-cut wig, a huge cell phone, and ruffled yellow top. Alicia talks sexy while Andy acts like a three year old and provides every turnoff in the book. Funny.
ALICIA KEYS — EMPIRE STATE OF MIND PART 2 — 9
It’s a great song, but the sound mix on SNL seems either canned or overproduced, taking away the “live sound.” Still, a good song.
SCARED STRAIGHT — 7
How many time is SNL going to go to the well with Kenan Thompson’s convict who uses movies to explain how the kids will be treated in prison. It seems more like an excuse to make the cast crack up and see how crude they can be. Can you say “Blow me” on TV? Kenan once again makes Bill Hader laugh. And I laughed too. I’m so ashamed.
BARKLEY’S BANK — 4
Charles Barkley promises to either double your money or lose it all. In one of the oddest things I’ve ever seen happen on SNL, the sketch is killed right in the middle, with Barkley’s audio killed in mid sketch and a quick cut to his photo. The show appears to have run long, as the episode ends with a wrap speech from Barkley and an instant cut to commercial.
OVERALL — 8
Who would have thought Charles Barkley would have been one of the better episodes this year. Barkley was very funny in several sketches and didn’t mind making a fool of himself.