Or is it the other way around? This weekend’s episode was more like Saturday Night Live with your host Paul McCartney and comedy guest, Paul Rudd. Fair enough. Dude was a Beatle. (“Fair enough. Dude was a Beatle.” – Paul McCartney’s tombstone.) Four songs seems like a lot of songs, but as I have already pointed out, dude was a Beatle, and also he was a good sport about the whole thing. Lord knows, HE CAN AFFORD TO BE. But lots of people can afford to be good sports and are not good sports, and he was a good sport, so it’s worth noting, I guess. Paul McCartney in the opening monologue, Paul McCartney in the Digital Short, Paul McCartney on Weekend Update. If anything he was TOO good of a sport. Ease up, Paul McCartney. Anyway, Paul McCartney aside, it was kind of a disappointing episode, mostly just because Paul Rudd is so winning and charming and funny that he should handily make for the best episode of the season. Oh, it was much better than, say, Mrs. Ryan Reynolds or Robert De Niro, obviously, but it wasn’t a Zach Galifianakis or even a Charles Barkley. Oh well.

Anyway:

I’m not trying to ruffle any feathers, but the political top-of-show opening sketch has got to go. Why do they insist on that? It never seems to work, and if it’s an issue of political or topical relevance, they have Weekend Update, so how about starting the show with something fun and enjoyable? I’m not sure if it’s the writing or the casting or what is even going on but these sketches are such painful duds week in and week out. I would not be surprised if they cause a lot of people who are on the fence about Saturday Night Live but thought they’d give it a try this week to not be on the fence anymore and to not give it any more tries on any more weeks. Work it out, pros. That’s why you’re pros.

As far as topical material went, Bill Hader’s Julian Assange impersonation is very good.

(And on the note of impersonations, I did not love the School Assembly sketch, but I did like seeing Jay Pharoah do something other than a Denzel Washington impression.)

One of the best sketches of the night was the always great Sexually Speaking recurring sketch.

So good. Really just very very good.

Also good, the new game show, What’s That Name:

And this Cat Cuisine fake ad just seems like Classic Saturday Night Live. You could imagine it airing during any season, couldn’t you? Yes, you could.

But I guess the major highlight of the entire evening was when Stefon gave his report to Seth Myers on Weekend Update, and I know this because I was watching the show by myself with no one to impress or even just talk to (oh boo hoo, I’m sure) and/but when Stefon came out I APPLAUDED. So, there you go. HI, STEFON!

Puke people. Tolerance. Glimpse into Seth Meyers.

Kills me.

And, ladies and gentlemen, Dame PAUL MCCARTNEY!

The Digital Short isn’t available on-line yet, but even if it were, the only reason to post it would be to ask what was up with it. Also, there was the Meryl Streep on Ice thing, which either proved to or reminded us that Abby Elliot does a really good Meryl Streep (it was really good!) but I thought we all agreed to retire “on Ice” jokes in 1999, make a fresh start of it in Y2K. Speaking of, you guys all threw your computers in the garbage, right? I’m just saying, New Year’s Eve is coming up, and you never know what might happen. Y2K11!!!

Comments (84)
  1. This week’s SNL with Paul McCartney reminded me of this classic Chris Farley sketch:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNBIyGxV7Ek

  2. I ended up watching a 30 Rock Marathon instead.

    December+Manhattan Rain= “Everything is the worst.”

    Last night, Tina Fey saved my life on the dance floor.

  3. On a completely unrelated note:

    I just wanted to say a big thanks to everybody who came out to Austin monster karaoke over the weekend. Seeing as how I’m leaving Austin in a few weeks to live somewhere much, much colder, it was wonderful to be able to see all of you at your absolute worst. Although I do not admit to having participated in any singing, it was a great time, and a wonderful way to say goodbye to Austin. Now Michigan monsters need to get ready, because I’ll be there in a few weeks, and we can all get loaded and go to visit Gabe’s family and watch Nothing But Trouble, because everybody knows that is what you do when you are visiting Gabe’s family.

  4. I thought all of Weekend Update was hilarious this week. I mean, Stefon aside, the snowman joke! So great! And I fell out of my chair listening to Paul and Seth do the Audio Caption.

    But, really, Tranderson Cooper.

  5. Oh my god, THANK YOU for saying that the politics open has to go. It’s tired and blarg. My bf and I were so excited last week when Bill Hader came in with his Julian Assange and broke up the thing.

    Speaking of things I’m over: Fred Armisen. As a whole. I don’t find him that funny. His Obama is waning, and I don’t find those “the host is sick, I’m the producer” sketches funny. So yeah.

    LOVED the “What’s My Name” sketch. And of course, Stefon was fantastic. I hypothesize that he actually doesn’t get the script beforehand and those are his live reactions. That would be fun. Yeah.

  6. I never get to post in these early threads because I live in California and thus usually asleep at 6:30 am PST, but I’m in the middle of an all-nighter for a final I have to take in an hour and a half. What’s my point again? Uh…hello early comments! COFFEE. STAT!

  7. Really, SNL writers, it’s time to kiss the Vogelcheck family sketches goodbye. But otherwise, very good show!

  8. I thought we agreed to end the “on ice” jokes in 1997.
    Maybe that was just my miceunderstandiceng.

  9. So, I didn’t see the episode, but these clips are hilarious! It was disappointing?

  10. I thought Gabe did a good job as the musical guest. Jet!

  11. Please oh please end the opening political skit too!!!

    Last year I really wasn’t on Team Hader. But this year, ESPECIALLY with Stefon, I am absolutely loving this guy. Not to mention he really does make a good game show host.

  12. BIll Hader deserves his own show.

  13. I’ve seen Jay Pharaoh’s Obama impression and its quite good, so I think its time that he take that over and hopefully inject some life into it. I liked his whole Principal bit in this episode, especially the joke about horse rape, because, you know, comedy.

  14. For anyone that loves Stefon as much as I do, this is from an interview with Bill Hader about how he created the character (with John Mulaney, yay!):

    “I went to a coffee shop, in my neighborhood [and] a guy working there looked like Stefon and talked like that. And I would wait for my coffee every morning and just try to engage him in conversation, because I thought he was really funny. And I remember one time he was freaked out, because his mom was in town and his mom was staying with him. And I go, ‘Oh, where do you live?’ And he goes, (adopting the Stefon voice) ‘I live on the Lower, Lower East Side.’ And I just was like, ‘Oh my God!’”

    I just like thinking that there is a real live Stefon out there in the world.

  15. Is there anything Bill Hader can’t do? You guys, I want to hang out with Bill Hader. Do any of you know him? If you do, tell him “teacherman” from the internet site Videogum wants to hang out. He’ll know what it means.

  16. Oh, man! Saturday was this past weekend? I totally forgot.

  17. 12 jacked albinos, 11 Little Richards, 10 pierce eared babies, 9 Asian Balkys, 8 gay Aladdins, 7 psychos swearing, 6 Puerto screechers (Puerto Rican screechers), 5 homeless Elmos, 4 coked-up frogs, 3 French hens, Taylor Negron and a human parking cone

  18. Best cold open OF ALL TIME:

  19. Man, Hader was a trooper this week! He was in practically every sketch!

    And I don’t really like the Vogelchek sketches. But I DO like them when Paul Rudd is on. Because I like watching him make out with Bill Hader for so long that it becomes uncomfortable and then gets even more so when Hader tweaks his nipple.

    Basically, I like Paul Rudd. He’s pretty. He and Jon Hamm should star in a romantic comedy where they are both handsome and winning (maybe they’re brothers) and there’s some sort of high concept plot line that doesn’t matter because handsome! Maybe their best friends Timothy Olyphant and Ryan Reynolds coms over to hang out without their shirts on. I don’t know. Also, some actress I don’t hate would be charming. The end.

    Yeah. I would own that and put it on the shelf next to Sliding Doors, 13 Going on 30, While You Were Sleeping and, um, Just Like Heaven.

  20. Paul McCartney didn’t perform “Let It Be” on the show out of respect for Malcolm Jamal-Warner.

  21. I went on a Stefon bender after this week’s episode–I just could not get enough Stefon.

    I liked the digital short…? But I don’t know if that’s because I enjoy the hook of both “9 to 5″ and “Take My Breath Away.” I also liked the weird sketch at the end with Jason Sudeikis as a disgruntled light guy. Basically, I am a dedicated SNL watcher and I got into a heated argument with someone recently who doesn’t even watch it. I’m about SNL the way people are about their younger siblings–I can make fun of it but others can’t.

  22. One thing I liked about this episode was that, due to Paul McCartney playing four songs, all of the sketches were really short. There wasn’t a single episode that I felt should have ended 4 minutes earlier and that is something I usually end up thinking every episode. I just wish they had put some new sketch ideas into the show. It seemed almost everything Paul Rudd was in was a rehashed sketch idea.

  23. i don’t know why i’m admitting this but the stumblin’ digital short reminded me of the friends episode all about how phoebe runs. anyone? anoyone? kristin smith, 7th grade best friend, who would do the “phoebe’s goofy run” with me in gym class?

  24. I was just upset that Paul McCartney mentioned Paul Rudd’s wonderful ROLE MODELS during the monologue, but then he didn’t perform the Wings song “Love Take Me Down (to the Streets)” that was featured so prominently in the film.

  25. I was extremely disappointed with the under-utilization of Paul Rudd this week. He totally got gypped in the opening monologue!

    And here’s a link to the digital short if anyone didn’t see it: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/13/stumblin-snl-digital-short_n_795720.html

    • “He totally got gypped in the opening monologue!”

      Accidental racism yikes?

      • I thought about that for a second, but I was like, No one’s going to give me shit about that. Guess I was wrong. This is Videogum after all — it’s nothing if not politically correct.

  26. Did no one else cringe at the horrible back up Oooh’s during Jet? Sounded like howling dogs set ablaze.

    Not to mention the sound mixer decided that no one wanted to actually hear McCartney’s voice?

  27. “I would not be surprised if they cause a lot of people who are on the fence about Saturday Night Live but thought they’d give it a try this week to not be on the fence anymore and to not give it any more tries on any more weeks” is a surprisingly grammatically correct sentence.

    In other news, I have officially given up on SNL and will no longer be watching. I just think it’s very hubris-y of Lorne Michaels to insist on keeping the show running this long.

  28. Paul Rudd – I am so underwhelmed !!!!

  29. am I the only one who really enjoyed this ep? I mean not amazing in the long run but I would say best of the season so far? (not that there’s much to compete against maybe jon hamm ep?)… helped along by the fact that hey it’s fucking paul mccartney and paul rudd makes anything hilarious simply by being paul rudd

    like “stumblin” was fucking ridiculous and had it been any other actor I’m pretty sure I would have felt meh about it or worse but paul rudd and mccartney’s cameo made it just absurd enough to be fantastic

    I dunno sometimes I feel like Gabe is just being overly hard on it… maybe I’ve just lowered my expectations for snl, or ya know differences in opinion and all that (I hate the sexually speaking sketch every time – overdone, maybe funny the first time…)

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