Sunday, October 01, 2006

SNL: We're takin' you to a home

I don't want to sound like Bernadette with her many cats, but I'm here to complain about Saturday Night Live. I watched part of the season premiere last night. I don't know why, I guess I thought it could be worthwhile. It wasn't.

There was a skit, about five minutes too long, about Al Pacino checking his bank balance. And, in continuing the theme of jokes that go on long past they're funny, we got a skit with Bill Clinton and Condoleezza Rice that was essentially a three-minute riff on the theme "Bill and Condi have totally done it." There was one funny joke about Bill leaving a comprehensive anti-terrorism strategy on the nightstand, because it was relevant.

The worst effort had to have been "Dustin Diamond" appearing on Weekend Update to talk about his sex tape. They just threw a loud shirt on some guy and had him make endless Saved by the Bell "jokes" in a squeaky voice. Listen, you guys, have you not seen Dustin Diamond since Saved by the Bell? Remember Celebrity Boxing? Bigger, buffer, and with a goatee that said he meant to take down Horshack. And how is Saved by the Bell the only joke fodder you have for a guy who's spent months trying to get people to give him money to save his house? You can't make a joke, say, about how he had to leak the tape himself because no one else would do it? Tina Fey is ashamed of you.

You know how Matt said on Studio 60, "We decide what's cool"? SNL hasn't decided what's cool in years. It hasn't even been cool in years. The "cutting edge of political and social satire" is The Daily Show. Their humor is sometimes crude, but it's always sharp. Consider a punch line from last week: "Bear Determined to Defecate Inside Woods," the Daily Show writers' take on the report about how the Iraq war has actually fueled terrorism. Jon and his writers know you'll get the reference. They trust you. But SNL either can't make a joke like that or won't trust you to get it. The same is true of Robin Williams, whose new movie is ostensibly about what would happen of Jon Stewart ran for president. But Robin Williams always plays himself in comedies, so his humor is much, much dumber. I mean, come on. "I did not have sex with that woman. I wanted to"? Don't get razor burn from that cutting-edge material, Robin.

In the words of Tenacious D: Pass the torch, SNL. Pass the torch.


Colleen said...

i think the plight of current SNL is most readily reflected in the microcosm of its most recent "graduate"'s career, that of Will Ferrel. When he first came around the movie scene he was funny at moments, especially when he was a bit character around the edges, suddenly hes all up in everyones face and doing the exact. same. shit. that just rambles on. Its poorly-processed and -packaged drivel, but we're expected to buy it cause hey! its got his name on it and dammit didnt we kinda like him before?

Honestly, his funniest role EVER was as Alex Trebeck on Celebrity Jeopardy and that was as a STRAIGHT MAN. *sigh*

Lori said...

Good point, Colleen. And what I wouldn't give for just one more Celebrity Jeopardy sketch.