SUNDAY MORNING LIVE: How'd Seth MacFarlane Do Hosting 'Saturday Night Live'?
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Welcome to the first edition of Sunday Morning Live, The Bill Kuchman Chronicle's look at the latest edition of Saturday Night Live.
How'd Seth MacFarlane do hosting SNL?
Seth MacFarlane, in his first SNL-hosting gig, performed admirably. He got the Family Guy voices out of the way early (for the most part), did a bit of singing and then took off from there. A lot of shaky first-time hosts rely heavily on the cue cards, but MacFarlane had no problem in genuinely selling his lines and performing his sketches. In his monologue, MacFarlane unloaded just about every voice short of Fred Flintstone that he has in his repertoire. Toward the end of the show, his First Date sketch with Nasim Pedrad was a highlight of the episode, especially with Pedrad dropping the line, "Ew. Don't do Family Guy. We're 30."
What were the best sketches of the night?
Well, there were a couple.
First off, I'm a sucker for things with Muppets, even if they're fake Muppets. MacFarlane, Bill Hader, Keenan Thompson and Vanessa Bayer got their Muppet on in a sketch that eventually gave the world a Bill Hader-Bayer Muppet-Hader Muppet three-way makeout session. Muppets are awesome. Muppets doing things that Muppets shouldn't do is especially awesome. That's why Avenue Q was great. The Internet is for porn, right, Trekkie Monster?
As I mentioned earlier last week, I could've jumped on the Gangnam Style bandwagon early, but despite my friend's enthusiasm, I didn't get it. Now Gangnam Style and Psy himself have hit SNL, so with Psy's MTV Video Music Awards appearance, that should check off all the necessary boxes, right? Psy wins, and we are all living in a Gangnam Style world.
And finally, First Date, which gave MacFarlane another chance to show off a bunch of voices with Pedrad joining in the fun. "Aw, hell no! Now you're making fun of Gale?"
How'd the new castmembers do in their first show?
Hard to tell. I think Tim Robinson showed up in the most sketches, notably the stuttering drill sergeant one. I'm pretty sure Aidy Bryant also cameoed in the First Date sketch along with Robinson, while Cecily Strong only made a Weekend Update appearance. Robinson, Bryant and Strong join returning castmember Kate McKinnon as featured players in Season 38, while Bayer, Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah finally get upgraded to SNL repertory players.
Jay Pharoah FINALLY gets to play President Barack Obama. How'd he do?
Awesome. Just awesome.
It dawned on me while watching Pharoah's version of Barack Obama on Saturday that SNL has had to play it safe with the president for years now. Fred Armisen in blackface came with certain risks, and a lot of those risks are gone now that an African-American is portraying the current president. Pharoah is free to put his own spin on Obama, free of the restrictions Armisen probably had to deal with. SNL appears to have soured on Obama, but they're not quite fans of Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan either. And (surprise, surprise) Killam got the coveted Ryan gig.
What was it like with Kristen Wiig, Andy Samberg and Abby Elliott? How about Jason Sudeikis?
Honestly, I didn't miss Kristen Wiig, Andy Samberg and Abby Elliott. While I remain a huge fan of Wiig and her time on SNL, I had kind of grown tired of her act. For the post part, her characters were all the same. I did feel Samberg's absence when the show hit the spot where a Digital Short would usually play. Elliott didn't do much last season, so it wasn't that big of a shift. As for Jason Sudeikis, it looks like he's basically on SNL to play Mitt Romney. He showed up here and there in a few sketches, but after playing the GOP presidential nominee in the cold open, Sudeikis didn't do much.
SNL is back next weekend with Joseph Gordon-Levitt hosting and Mumford and Sons as the music guest.