I forgot — forgot! — that the “Saturday Night Live” season 36 premiere was last night. So now I’m playing catch up at NBC.com.
Former SNL regular Amy Poehler was the host, with Katy Perry as the musical guest singing “California Gurls” and “Teenage Dream.”
(Point to ponder: Has any SNL musical guest actually sounded better here than on another live show? Everyone always sounds off to me, but I’m wondering if that’s just how it is in general. Blame over-produced albums and Auto-Tune, I guess.)
Katy also spoofed “Sesame Street” and her own impressive rack in the great “Bronx Beat” skit. (OK, “sketch.” Sorry, Bob.)
Amy: “Looks like Today Show is brought to you by the number 38 and the letter double D.”
Since last season, SNL dropped Jenny Slate (a big FU to the f-bomb dropper), lost Will Forte (I still have to see “MacGruber,” I really want to) and added four new people — Vanessa Bayer, Paul Brittain, Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah.
I should probably wait until my TV has this On Demand, or until NBC posts the entire episode, because watching skit by skit in video clips doesn’t give me a full idea of how the show felt from start to finish, and I can’t even tell how many of the new folks got real face time.
I noticed Vanessa Bayer in at least four skits, a cameo from Paul Brittain in the Showtime spoof, Jay Pharoah got to play Will Smith on Weekend Update … and I still need to find Taran Killam on the show. I read that he played Jet Blue hero Steven Slater, but I haven’t seen the skit yet. I don’t think NBC even posted it.
Also saw Justin Timberlake in at least two sketches, plus Maya Rudolph with Amy on “Bronx Beat,” Rachel Dratch, Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon in the monologue, and New York Gov. David Paterson as himself in a great self-spoof/after-school-special on SNL’s “sophomoric and stupid” jokes about his blindness.
Gov. Paterson: “You should be sorry. You have poked so much fun at me for being blind that I forgot I was black.”
Weekend Update, the Bosley hair restoration sketch, Boogerman and Bronx Beat were probably my favorite sketches, but the show was pretty strong overall. No potato chip standouts, but no January Jones weak spots either.
The focus was on the ensemble as a whole, especially the “old” cast — former SNL stars and Kristen Wiig. Not much focus on the new guard.
I have sketch links below, but I’ll have to do better next week. Check out the upcoming schedule:
Oct. 2: Bryan Cranston/Kanye West
Oct. 9: Jane Lynch/Bruno Mars
Oct. 23: Emma Stone/TBA
Oct. 30: Jon Hamm/TBA
No idea what’s happening Oct. 16, but I’m pretty excited for this lineup. Jon Hamm is the new Alec Baldwin of SNL. It’s almost annoying how perfect he is at everything.
*** SEPT. 25 SKIT ROUNDUP ***
Christine O’Donnell Cold Open: Jason Sudeikis and Bill Hader of the Republican National Committee talk to Kristen Wiig as Christine O’Donnell. Why does Wiig get O’Donnell anyway? New girl Vanessa Bayer makes a cameo. This could’ve been a good showcase for her.
Anyway, at least it’s not another Obama cold open. Those are painful. This is about the RNC trying to figure out how many skeletons she really has in her closet.
Christine was anti-masturbation, but only because she didn’t understand it. She likes the masturbate all the time! She also used to stage dog fights. “I’ve been to Michael Vick’s dog fights. They were lame. Mine have action.” And she’s also The Wicked Witch of the West.
Hair Restoration: Classic ad skit. My boy Jason Sudeikis is back for a Bosley Hair Restoration commercial. What if you don’t have hair from the back of your head to be a donor? Bosley’s solution: “Hair is harvested from the mezzanine and brought to the head. Kind of like a neighbor walking over to borrow a cup of sugar.” Yes, a big, fuzzy, kinky mezzanine!
Amy’s monologue: She has an anxiety dream that she’ll be late for the show. Justin Timberlake is there, as he is in all our dreams. “Yeah, world, I’m Justin Timberlake and Amy Poehler’s a terrible kisser!” Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon return — “They’re back!” — to bully Seth and Amy as the new kids on Weekend Update.
Ladies Who Lunch: Advantage Trish! The best part of this is Bill Hader making his fashion rounds in his hot pink suit with his little dog. The smallest hat known to man. “Faking your own death is the new tiny hat.”
Actor II Actor: Andy Samberg slowly interviews Justin Timberlake on method acting, but instead asks when he’s going to make more music. Funny that they give Justin so much time on the premiere, with four new cast members.
Jay as Will Smith: New guy Pharoah gets to show off his Will Smith impression, nailing the King of Nepotism’s aww-shucks style of egomania. Love the little chuckles.
Update: Fred and Gov. Paterson: Fred Armisen returns to one of his most cutting impersonations, talking about the close race for Gov. Paterson’s replacement. He disses the Olive Garden, which is a shame. Love Olive Garden!
Seth Meyers: “Let’s leave New Jersey out of this.”
Gov. Paterson: “That’s what the Constitution should’ve said.”
The real Gov. Paterson shows up and yells stop. “This has gone on long enough.” He stumbles over his joke that he shaved his beard a year ago. “Are you blind?” “Touche.”
Gov. Paterson: “Working in Albany is a lot like watching Saturday Night Live. There’s a lot of characters, it’s funny for 10 minutes and then you just want it to go away.” Ha!
While he does have a sense of humor, jokes that degrade people just for disabilities are “sophomoric and stupid.” Even though he’s blind he’s the only one who sees what to do, he says.
Amy apologizes for poking fun at him. Gov. Paterson: “You should be sorry. You have poked so much fun at me for being blind that I forgot I was black.”
The best part is still when they wander in front of the camera.
Update: Really with Seth and Amy: When is Ahmadinejad gonna hook up with Israel already? And even if we weren’t already heading into a third war, can’t we let gay Americans help us fight the two we’re already in? “It’s time to repeal ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell,’ ’cause, let’s admit it, ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ sounds a little gay to begin with. Sounds like something a gay dude would use for the title for his e-vite.”
Also love Amy’s sarcastic argument for what gay men get out of the military and Seth’s shot at Lady Gaga for wearing a meat suit on Sunday and trying to be the voice of reason on Tuesday. Really!
Bronx Beat: Amy and Maya Rudolph return as gum-chewing Bronx housewives Betty and Jodi. “Bedbugs! Bedbugs!” Amy: “You know how bedbugs get into your house? They ride in on the backs of mice.”
It goes on for about 6 minutes, but it’s pretty funny. Amy and Maya are perfect and Katy makes a great cameo.
Katy Perry and her bouncing girls pop in as former babysitter Maureen Dichico, who has bloomed over the summer. “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!”
Maya: “Maureen, what the hell happened to your shirt?”
Amy: “Looks like Today Show is brought to you by the number 38 and the letter double D.”
I’m just surprised at the amount of time the old school folks are getting. Then again, that used to work so maybe they hope it will again.
Showtime: “It’s official. Showtime is the home of women with secrets.” Kristen Wiig as Mary Louise Parker in “Weeds.” Nasim Pedrad as Edie Falco in “Nurse Jackie.” Abby Elliott as Laura Linney in “The Big C.” Showtime presents a new show, “The Lean Years,” about a woman with the biggest secret yet. Amy Poehler: “My name’s Amber. I got Hepatitis B, a mad case of bedbugs, and I’m rocking one leg.”
I love that they are mocking Showtime’s penchant for creating shows with characters so pretentious and self-absorbed they dare us to like them. Cameo by tall, skinny new guy as doctor. Paul Brittain! He looks cute, give him more.
Wedding Venue: Amy and Vanessa Bayer are having a gay wedding … at the new mosque by Ground Zero. Love Bill Hader as the over-the-top salesman. He needs to be in this more. Best part: The Republican National Committee stamp at the end.
Maternity Matters: New girl Vanessa plays a doctor who normally hosts a show for expectant mothers, but she’s sick (“Let’s just say they had to throw her underwear out at the A&P”) and Fred Armisen returns as the gruff, bald producer who volunteers to cover the show but can’t hear the audience’s questions. And when he does hear them, he offers … inappropriate advice.
Producer: “Your what changed color?”
Kristen Wiig as expectant mother: “Um, my nipples.”
Producer: “I can’t hear you, sweetheart, you’re mumbling.”
Mother: “My nipples.”
Producer: “Pineapples? You sound like you’re talking through a sponge.”
If they’re going to bring back recurring skits, I wish they’d bring back Fred’s Nicholas Fehn, who keeps interrupting his own headline analysis on the Update desk, or Kenan Thompson doing “What Up With That,” which is almost always my favorite skit of any night.
Digital Short: Boogerman: Katy Perry performs the theme to the film “Boogerman,” accompanied by dancers from the Boston Ballet, featuring Andy Samberg.
Finally, a shot of Kenan Thompson in the “Boogerman” video clip. Who was the guy who yelled “I was born the Boogerman and I’ll die the Boogerman!”? Looked like Peter Sarsgaard, but it may have been the elusive Taran. Or Paul?
Best part: Shots of the real stars in the audience, stolen from the Emmys or Oscars or Golden Globes or something. Morgan Freeman’s solemn nod is my favorite.
Not the best digital short, but still not the worst.
Catch up on my archive of SNL stories here.