If ever stop to think about it, not that you would, but if you did, it is a crazy alchemy that Saturday Night Live attempts to pull off, and they try to pull it off each week. Comedy is hard enough to do well as it is, much less LIVE comedy, and then on top of that you’re going to include a host performer who may or may not have any comedic timing, or natural charisma, or interest in even being on the show in the first place? That is at the very least, a volatile combination, if not downright awful, and that explains why the show is so uneven and so regularly derided by people who actually care about this kind of thing. It’s not so much that Saturday Night Live is any better or any worse than it has ever been. It’s that the people who really LOVE IT started watching it when they were 12 years old, and 12 year olds, historically, are much more forgiving of uneven comedy and misused guests. As you get older, you just notice what an impossible task Saturday Night Live has devised for itself, or at the very least you notice the failures created by that task’s near impossibility. The problem, of course, is that Saturday Night Live rarely gets as much credit as it deserves for its successes. Oh well. Boo hoo, I’m sure. “Poor Saturday Night Live,” that is what we are all saying. “It is so sad how all that Saturday Night Live has going for it is to be a very successful, culturally resonant television show with a 35 years of historical legacy behind it. So sad.”

Anyway, Jeff Bridges. And Cookie Monster? It took me most of the opening monologue to even figure out what was going on with THAT (probably because didn’t they have Blake Lively singing with Muppets last year? And also Blake Lively was in the Digital Short? Is there some kind of contractual obligation to include Blake Lively and the Muppets once every December?) Bad song. Unnecessary puppetry. Rough start. But there was some good stuff this week, namely:

Another very intensely specific parody of a Juggalo infomercial. I would bargain that even fewer people saw the original Juggalo Toy Drive infomercial than saw the Gathering informercial that they parodied the first time, and even that seemed surprising and “insidery.” I guess my point is that I love when Saturday Night Love makes sketches JUST FOR US.

The Digital Short was also the best of the season. Congrats, boys. Musically, it’s possible that the return of Shy Ronnie was slightly better but it felt too much like a retread. Remember when Akon fake-raped that 15-year-old on stage? Nevermind.

The over-arching realization of this episode, between the Juggalo parody, the Digital Short, and Jeff’d (see below) was that if everything on this show was pre-taped it would be one of the best shows on television. They have one of the strongest writing staffs in the business, and a cast of genuinely talented performers, and it would be nice if all of those people had more opportunities to truly operate at the height of their powers rather than work under the quaint and unnecessary strictures of a live late night studio audience format. That’s not the funniest format! Enough. Empty complaints falling on non-existent ears. I’m just saying that this show would have an extra gear if it got rid of the rest of its gears.

The happy holidays wishes from David Patterson and Stefon and Snooki wasn’t a holiday classic in the way of Tonto, Tarzan, and Frankenstein, but it was a nice visit from all of our Weekend Update pals.

Oh, and as far as the actual live comedy sketches portion of the show went, the gift wrapping bit was my favorite.

P.S. Can Saturday Night Live have Eminem and Lil Wayne perform every weekend? Because that was really great. It was also nice to have people come out and just straight up perform good music without all of the cough cough art direction. Make no mistake, I ALSO have enjoyed the art direction of the musical performances this year, I guess I just like the variety, and I like when people kill it without a compelling backdrop. My favorite, though, was the second musical performance of the evening when Eminem did a solo performance and then walked off the stage and Lil Wayne walked on as he was leaving and proceeded to EAT HIS LUNCH. Sorry about how you have no more lunch left, Eminem. Talk to Wayne.

HAPPY HOLIDAYSNL.

Comments (74)
  1. I enjoyed The Dude’s monologue with Huckabeast. Way to go, buddy!

  2. I thought this episode was pretty good compared to episodes of late. The Juggalo parody was hilarious as was The Miley Cyrus Show. The Digital Short was also great. I mean, c’mon, Jessica Alba was in it! I know Winwood is with me on this one!

  3. I completely agree that the Gift Wrapping bit was the best of the night. I always wait for that last sketch since it is usually one of the few original ideas SNL puts on each week. This was also the only sketch I wasn’t obsessively staring at Jeff Bridges mouth trying to figure out what was wrong with it.

    Now for the gif (I hope I don’t upset anyone by posting gifs. It is not my intention for them to do anything other than make people laugh.)

    • I wouldn’t be Videogum without your gifs, CA!

      (Yeah, I just complimented someone. Deal with it, haters!)

    • Having not seen this episode of SNLs (Only Caught Squinty Angry Eminem casting his spells)
      These two are singing the chorus to the most amazing song over and over again in my head/heart.

  4. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Gabe misspelled HAPPY HOLIDAYS! What an idiot! -Stove Nimrod

    This episode was fun. It had it’s moments. I was a bit let down because more of the skits fell flat than I was counting on. Jeff’d was fun, as was the digital short. And the Miley Cyrus show and her commentary on smoking drugs. The opening monologue bit where Jeff talked about the differences between him and The Dude was nice and familiar and pleasing. I was actually surprised how little Jeff Bridges was in the episode.

    Also, is that how Cookie Monster talks now?

    • I thought Jeff’d was one of the funniest things this season. Everything about it is great, and so smart. I laugh everytime I watch it, and I’ve watched it like 8 times. It’s incredible that it’s barely over 4 minutes long. Ugh, WHY DON’T I MARRY IT?

  5. I liked the episode. Even the political open was pretty good, as far as they go. I don’t have much time so I will say that I love Jeff Bridges, and glad his episode was one of the highlights of this season. Congrats Jeff!

  6. I actually did not watch SNL this week, so I want to give a big apology for missing Huckabeast’s debut. Sorry buddy! I’m sure you knocked ‘em dead!

    Literally.

  7. I thought the opening White House christmas sketch was pretty good. It’s the first time they made me laugh during one of those in years.

  8. Last week I asked the SNL gods to bring me more Jason Sudeikis for Christmas a boy did they deliver. JSuds as Jimmy Stewart in the It’s a Wonderful Life sketch was present enough for me.

    The digital short was pretty great and I also got a good laugh when Stefon called Snooki “that drunk leopard.”

  9. Good Morning everyone.
    I absolutely agree with you on the live aspect of the show, Gabe. If you go back & see some of those Saturday Night (no live) episodes on netflix, it really brings your point across. I guess people like to see the monologue, live performances & weekend update live? I think you could still do this and have a few live, celebrity-cameo-filled, crowd pleasing sketches. Anyways, have a good day everyone.

    • Yeah, but “Saturday Night Previously Taped” just doesn’t have the same ring.

    • I thought a lot about this as soon as I read Gabe’s statement about how the show is live every week, and how it needs to pull off something huge every time and cetera. And to your point about having it taped every week, and the first seasons that you can watch on Netflix and everything, I just think it’s amazing what SNL has become as compared with what it started out as. It seems like in the early days, it was a send-up of the dying art of live TV as spectacle, the sort of George Burns and Gracie Allen type thing. You can see this manifest in the older episodes where they have these old guards of live TV on the show, trying to interact with a show that mocks what they once did with cheap sets, intentionally poor production values, and absurdist humor. Take a look at the old Milton Berle episode, where he should be a show-biz legend able to pull off a show like that in his sleep, instead he’s awkward, crass, unfunny, borderline racist, and pretty openly hostile with a lot of the cast. So what was my point? Right, that SNL seems like a herculean feat now, but I suppose it is only in the context of now, and that the live TV spectacle was once more common, and what supported a lot of the original mockery on the show. But SNL is a beast unto itself, as Chris Trash mentions, so there’s really no way to change. Pity SNL, unable to change and so unable to get back to being a hip television alternative to the status quo. I mean, they once had Sun Ra as the musical guest!

      • I was disappointed when I saw Arcade Fire in SNL a few weeks ago, But you are right, SNL should try and be as broad as possible. I might be wrong but SNL lost it’s cool during the cheese filled, music industry boom of the late 90s. It seems like they had some pressure to book all the Mickey Mouse club of the day in order to stay relevant. Even when it was not funny it was still kind of cool to enjoy a show that wouldn’t work outside of 1130 pm on a Saturday. Recently, with the digital shorts, it has become somewhat cool again. But yeah, if they want to stay relevant they need to do what it takes to change the format. Making Backstreet Boys the musical guest won’t help this time.

  10. Fun episode! I’ll be sad when they do The Miley Cyrus Show 200 more times this season and I hate it.

    • I would say three times in three months is a little overkill. It’s almost as if they are planning on firing her next year and want to get every Miley bit they can out of her while she’s still on the show.

      Also, major miss on not mentioning the Salvia during the sketch. I’m sure if she had pulled out a bong during the show it would have gotten big laughs.

      • The mentioned it a few times.

      • Okay, this is obviously not relevant and I really shouldn’t care what a 12-year-old girl does at her birthday party or what lies she tells about it in order not to get in trouble with the law.

        But we’re all in agreement that Miley definitely did not do salvia, right? Because people on salvia do a lot more drooling, staring at the wall, and living alternate lives that collapse around them as they try desperately to cling to some semblance of selfhood. Not so much with the giggling and the “I’m soooo wasted!” stuff.

  11. “Saturday Night Love”? Sounds like Gabe was pretty distracted this week.

  12. See I thought Jeff Bridges fell flat. The only sketch that he starred in and I actually laughed was the gift wrapping one.

  13. Hey, that’s not a video of the gift wrapping bit. That’s just the same video of Jeff’d posted twice! WE GOT SO JEFFFFFF’D.

  14. I HATED this episode but loved th Deniro one so guess that makes videogum my nemesis enforcer (remember that character from G.I. Joe the movie?). Any way, I was so high I thought my mind was playing tricks on me during the digital short but a quick (as opposed to slow) google search on my iPhone (JEALOUS?) revealed that in fact that was indeed my precious future bride so that’s something at least. And I can’t stop saying in my mind “Its pretty cool and stuff like that? It’s pretty cooooollll”

  15. Other than Crunkmas, my favorite clip was Jeff Bridges singing with Cookie Monster:
    http://gtcha.me/eLvftI

  16. When are they going to bring back the “Crazy Christians” sketch?

  17. This episode would’ve been really good if Eminem hadn’t been the musical guest. Eminem is terrible.

    • Eminem is a pretty good rapper and his first 2 albums were pretty good, but he never really grew as an artist. His bad boy who grew up in the wrong side of the tracks so he gets away with being homophobic, racist & misogynistic grew tired once people realized he became a multi-mullionare with nothing new to say.

      • I have to disagree. I think each album he has released (besides Encore) has shown some maturing in his personality and evolution in his musical sensibilities.

  18. I thought Jeff Bridges was used sparingly, but well. In the live bits I had the feeling he wasn’t 100% sure what SNL even is. But Jeff’d was really cute and hilarious. Also, the opening monologue was rough, but at the same time I thought, Oh, good, now I don’t have to be invited to join any more fucking Facebook pages demanding that Cookie Monster host the show. (Seriously, I’m unfriending you people.) Also, have you heard about this guy Lil Wayne? He is very good at rapping.

    • I liked it when Jeff Bridges played himself on The Miley Cyrus Show. (Oooh, snap!)

      Also we accidentally fast-forwarded through the digital short, which I watched just now. Sort of weird that the ad that plays before the video features Conan…

  19. Should I be mad that they straight up jacked Mary Poopins from me? Because I am.

    Someone is going to be joining Ass Dan in that coffin.

  20. How come when Ashley Simpson gets busted lip synching it’s a big deal but when Eminem does it no one even mentions it. I didn’t bother with their second song but Eminem was OBVIOUSLY not singing/rapping that first song.

  21. Countdown to Stefon movie starts here.

    • The Plot: Stefon goes with Seth Meyers to his parents’ house in New Hampshire and raises some hell by introducing the idea of human floormants and Blingo (Black Ringo). Soon, Seth’s childhood neighborhood becomes as seedy as his lower, lower East Side apartment.

  22. Am I the only one who really really hated the “It’s a Wonderful Life” sketch? Maybe I’m too sensitive

  23. Uh, Julian Assange, anyone? I was laughing out loud! So much! Bill Hader for President!

  24. Lil Wayne is the worst. well, later!

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