The Return of Tracy Morgan
Did anyone catch Saturday Night Live's "Best of Tracy Morgan" episode this week? They included all our favorite sketches: Brian Fellows' 'Safari Planet,' 'Astronaut Jones,' 'The View' -- all the hits!
Of course, I'm just being hilarious. I do that sometimes. Because this week's SNL was actually an all-new episode hosted by former cast member Morgan. The fact that Morgan's success on 30 Rock can lead to him hosting the sketch show is kind of a funny miracle, considering the fact that Saturday Night Live never seemed to know what to do with Morgan when he was on the show. It seemed to function around him; there was the show, then there was Morgan. Eventually, he was able to carve out little spotlights each week that would showcase his bizarre, man-child approach to comedy. Naturally, we got to see all of those sketches repeated this week.
To me, the back half of the show this week (anything after "Weekend Update") was actually the stronger half, and that was after all the big guns had already been used. I didn't need to see another installment of "Brian Fellows" or "Astronaut Jones." I like those sketches, but these new installments didn't add anything different; I could just as easily go back and watch the old sketches and it would be pretty much the same thing. That can be said of almost all sketches that are oft-repeated -- something the first half of this week's show suffered from quite a bit.
- "The View" - This was another popular sketch when Morgan was on the show. The big change now is that he's playing Sherri Shepherd instead of Star Jones. SNL still hasn't found much to say about The View beyond sketch broad caricatures of its hosts. (Watch the video)
- "Scared Straight" - Here's another sketch that's repeated way too often. This installment seemed to alternate between recounting the plots of hit movies and finding colorful ways to describe prison rape. It was amusing to see Bill Hader to break character, however. Let's hope Tracy Morgan doesn't rip him apart in Penthouse. (Watch the video)
- "Dateline" - I still haven't seen the guy that Bill Hader's impression is based on, but I'm told it's scarily accurate. The voice makes me laugh even without knowing its basis. This also lacked a payoff, but at least it was short. And hey! There's Abby Elliott! (Watch the video)
- "Digital Short: Party Guys" - A reasonably funny idea that benefits from the sheer speed of the jokes, but lacking much of a payoff. I did like Fred Armisen's beat, however. And there's Abby Elliott and Casey Wilson and they're talking to each other! (Watch the video)
- "Suppressex" - Here's the only real representation of the better, sillier second half of the show. Tracy Morgan sells the hell out of the joke, and both Bill Hader and Will Forte (was he even on the show this week?) score laughs with their brief appearances. (Watch the video)
- Original Air Date: 3/14/09
- Host: Tracy Morgan
- Musical Guest: Kelly Clarkson