Actor Ryan Phillipe came to host Saturday Night Live this week to promote his new movie MacGruber, the latest in the long line of movies inspired by SNL sketches. Interestingly, the writers opted not to do any MacGruber sketches this week, which I thought would have been a no-brainer. SNL, you forever zag when I expect you to zig. Having marveled at how few repeat sketches had appeared on last week's Tina Fey-hosted episode, I had a suspicion going into this week that all stockpiled repeat sketches would make it to air tonight. I was mostly right.
As a host, Ryan Phillipe wasn't terrible -- he never distracted from the scene -- but he almost didn't need to be there. This was a week where the cast and not the host carried everything, to the point that it's hard to remember what parts Phillipe played in a number of sketches. He wasn't kept apart from the sketches the way a Zach Galifianakis was, but he was pretty much forgettable.
Oh, and "Ke$ha," you can wear as much day-glo paint and put as many dollar signs in your name as you want. It will make me hate you, but it still won't make you Lady GaGa.
- "Cold Open: Larry King Volcano" - I would have thought SNL could use Larry King's eighth (?) divorce as the source of more humor, but instead the show leaned on Kristen Wiig's Bjork impression. Giggling aside, it's kind of funny. The "punchline" to the sketch was a good indication that no one would be trying too hard this week. (Watch the "Cold Open: Larry King Volcano" video)
- "Ryan Phillipe Monologue" - There's a funny idea here -- that every recurring character pops up and asks for their own movie (since MacGruber is getting one), but it doesn't build the way it should. They stop at three, when they should have crammed in as many as possible, making them more obscure as they went along. This was almost a self-aware commentary on SNL's reliance on recurring sketches, but instead settled for devolving into another "What's Up with That?" (Watch the "Ryan Phillipe Monologue" video)
- "ESPN Classic: Women's Weightlifting" - I guess these "ESPN" sketches will no longer be confined to just the female hosts. They're literally the same thing every time, with just the sport and garish costumes changed out. The feminine hygiene product, around which every joke in the sketch is built, also gets changed out. I wasn't crazy about this the first time, so by the fifth or sixth go-around I'm ready for it to be retired. "Greg Stink" is still a funny name, though. (Watch the "ESPN Classic: Women's Weightlifting" video)
- "Hip Hop Kids: Bear Cave" - I'm on record as loving the original "Hip Hop Kids," a largely forgotten Justin Timberlake sketch that's now garnered enough of a cult following to inspire this weak repeat. The attempt to capture lightning twice just doesn't work, as most of the stuff falls flat (even my Abby Elliot's bizarre character voice). Andy Samberg comes closest to saving this with logic. Logic from the streets! (Watch the "Hip Hop Kids: Bear Cave" video)
- "Digital Short: The Other Man" - Every week I do my rant about the Digital Shorts, and how some are funny and others are weird for the sake of weirdness. This is the latter, though I'll admit that the final shot was just bizarre enough to make me laugh. I couldn't tell you why. (Watch the "Digital Short: The Other Man" video)
- "Celebrity Taxes: Mort Feingold" - Want to play "spot the impression?" Great. Want to play with a lot of sub-par celebrity impressions that fail to comment on what might be funny and/or annoying and/or awful (Kate Gosselin) about that celebrity? Want to wrap it around a lame Andy Samberg character that I have no doubt will be returning sometime in the future? Want it to keep going way past the point it should have stopped so that it can include every cast member on the show? Do I have the sketch for you. (Watch the "Celebrity Taxes: Mort Feingold" video)
- "Shake Weight DVD" - Easily the funniest sketch of the night. Bill Hader is really good in this, and even though I thought it was a lot funnier before it started totally spelling everything out, it was still worth it for the moment with the four-man split screen all agree about the girl in the pink leotard. I'm still surprised at just how dirty SNL is allowed to be sometimes, but that's because I'm unable to face life in 2010. (Watch the "Shake Weight DVD" video)
- "I Got This" - What am I supposed to say about this? Take away the whole game show conceit and make this a sketch about people fighting over a check that continues to escalate and you might have something. SNL can't resist turning things into game shows or talk shows. I guess the sets are more fun to build. Or they get to write theme songs. Or include one more cast member to play the host. Or -- and this is probably the most accurate -- to give a sketch the potential for being repeated over and over. Not that they ever do that.
- "Teen Talk" - I'm officially out of things to say, SNL. This is now the second time I've fallen for the opening credits of "Teen Talk," where I think "Holy crap, they're finally giving Abby Elliot her own sketch?" only to discover it's actually Fred Armisen in a bald cap. I like his whole "I can't hear you" bit, but it's just one joke that's now been stretched out over two entire sketches. This isn't the kind of thing that bears repeating, but that didn't stop Saturday Night Live this week. (Watch the "Teen Talk" video)
- "Outrageous Clown Squad" - Since the "Underground Music Festival" sketch from earlier this season remains a favorite, why not bust it out again? This time, it's a parody of the new Insane Clown Posse "ballad" called "Miracles." Just how obscure can these parodies get? And as funny as some of the lines in the rap are -- and there are some funny ones -- they absolutely pale in comparison to the actual song. Pretty much everything pales in comparison to the actual song. (Watch the "Outrageous Clown Squad" video)
- Original Air Date: 4/17/10
- Host: Ryan Phillipe
- Musical Guest: Ke$ha