Did you know that Robert De Niro is only 67 years old?! I had to look that up this morning, because I was ready to make so many jokes about how old he is, because of how old he seems to be, and especially how old he was acting on Saturday Night Live this weekend, only to discover he’s really not that old. I mean, sure, 67 is definitely Q3, borderline Q4 on life’s billing report, but dude definitely filed early. (Good metaphor. Good morning.) Other things I learned: both of his parents were artists and he is only one-fifth Italian. The more you know! Of course, it doesn’t really matter how Italian he is in real life, because he was five-fifths terrible hosting SNL this weekend. Good grief. What was that? For one thing, I’m not even sure why he was on the show. Is he going to die soon? Is that why? Was this him saying goodbye? Second of all, I think we’re all pretty used to middling and/or terrible episodes of Saturday Night Live at this point, piled onto the back of some haircut who’s painfully not up to the task, but when it’s one of the greatest actors of his generation, that just hurts. Perhaps the problem is that while De Niro is one of the greatest actors of his generation, he’s apparently one of the worst readers of his generation. I haven’t seen someone be less subtle about just straight up staring off-screen at the cue cards since Jonah Hill, but at least Jonah Hill COULD READ THE CUE CARDS. Come on, gramps. Someone take his driver’s license away from him, he’s becoming a danger. And don’t even get me started on Diddy. Is there a less charismatic rapper in the whole world? I’m not sure what junior high school talent show that guy thinks he’s performing in, but he should have at least rehearsed more.
Since the show was such a slog, and we’ve already done a fair amount of shitting right in De Niro’s craggly face, let’s get right to the good stuff. The best sketch of the evening was a return of the Vinny show. It’s been done before, and like most recurring sketches, it’s always pretty much the same thing, but that’s the point, and it’s great every time so hush.
Speaking of recurring sketches, there was a new What’s Up With That:
I’m no Saturday Night Live historian, but I would feel really confident suggesting that this is one of the most quickly and most often repeated recurring sketches in the show’s history? I mean, the first time they did this was last season and I feel like they have done 100 of them. That last number is an exaggeration, but it is an exaggeration founded on a seedling of truth planted in the soil of earnestness. They’ve done it a lot!
One thing I noticed this weekend was that it was actually a pretty strong show conceptually. Like, the WikiLeaks TMZ cold open was a really funny idea, it just kind of fell flat. (It also felt like a rip-off of Ashton Kutcher’s TMZ parody from a couple of weeks ago, which isn’t entirely fair to say since they’re both just spot on parodies of TMZ, except that TMZ has been around for awhile and SNL has never bothered touching it and now two weeks after Kutcher does a surprisingly good send-up they’re using it as the basis for a prominent sketch? Things that make you go hmmm.) Also conceptually good was the produce show and the little kid who loves Meet the Fokkers.
This sketch has a funny list of silly names in it.
They did a perfectly funny send-up of the beleaguered Spider-Man musical on Weekend Update, although Conan did such a good job this week that I’m not entirely sure why they bothered (NO OFFENSE).
All in all it just felt off. The timing wasn’t there. Robet De Niro stumbled over most if not all of his lines. Decent comedic concepts just kind of fell apart in practice. I’m sure that when you were in Raging Bull 100 years ago, it’s hard to appear on a late night comedy show currently suffering from a transitional staffing change and take things too seriously, but some of us are actually watching this show, Mr. De Niro (and also Mr. Diddy. Oof on BOTH of your performances. You should vlog an apology, dude). You’re not in the back of some Town Car with a German transvestite hooker or whatever the hell it is that you do when you think no one’s around. THIS IS TELEVISION! Act like it. (Get it? Act?)