'Saturday Night Live' recap: Turning back the clock on Charlie Day(light savings time)
While the glorious daylight savings time provided us all with an extra hour of sleep last night, it didn’t do much to make the evening any better for Charlie Day during last night’s Saturday Night Live. (Oh no, does this mean the Nightman has defeated Dayman once and for all?!)
It’s not to say that Day was a bad host, per se; he just unfortunately befell the same fate as countless other talented SNL hosts before him: Being underutilized and overshadowed. Besides, no one had a worse night on SNL than the Greeks or the Kardashians.
Then again, the ghost of Muammar Gaddafi (guess Fred Armisen wanted to revive the deceased Libyan dictator after all), who kicked off the episode, wasn’t doing too great either. Not only was he in hell, where the FreeCreditReport.com band puts on nightly shows, but he’d apparently lost all track of time. Armisen’s Gadaffi griped, “I got murdered pretty bad last week”, which was only half true. He got murdered pretty bad all right, but it was definitely longer than a week ago.
Which begged the question, was this opening skit really all that necessary? Was Armisen’s imitation of the outrageously controversial figure such a hit with fans that they couldn’t not do it? Wouldn’t something along the lines of a skit about Occupy Wall Street (which had only a single mention in Weekend Update) have felt fresher and funnier? Alas, for presumably his last time, Armisen’s Gadaffi announced live from New York, it was Saturday Night. See for yourself:
When Charlie Day hit the stage for his monologue, it was clear that the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia star was excited to be there hosting SNL for his first time. While his opener was a bit tepid, if not terribly scrambled — as he jumped from some cute jokes about life as a baby in New York City to a Danny DeVito cameo to a musical number in which he rocked, surprisingly well, the harmonica and the piano for a little ditty called “Charlie Day Day” — my excitement for the actor was still high. (I was also excited that he announced in his monologue that he’s going to be a first-time father soon. Any other Sunny fans secretly hoping for an episode called “Charlie and The Waitress Have a Baby”? It would be so perfect!) Here’s the monologue, worth checking out if only for the Sunny-esque bickering between Day and DeVito:
While it was a bit of a question mark whether Gadaffi would be skewered last night, there was no doubt about the Kardashians getting the SNL treatment. Nasim Pedrad brought back her whiny Kardashian (redundant, I know) imitation for the laugh-out-loud funny skit “Kim’s Fairy Tale Divorce.” Though Pedrad’s Kim is always amusing (“Whoopsies, I got divorced”), Kristen Wiig’s take on — shudder — “momager” Kris Jenner was the most cutting and hilariously pinpoint on everything that drives people (okay fine, me) crazy about her. (In the skit, Wiig’s Jenner desperately referred to herself as the fourth Kardashian sister.)
That said, nothing made me laugh harder than Taran Killam’s imitation of an emotionless Bruce Jenner and Andy Samberg’s technically brain-dead Kris Humphries, who could do nothing more than grunt and attempt to sign his own name. The Kardashians have been made fun of all week (and let’s be honest, rightfully so), but SNL didn’t miss the mark on it at all. In fact, here’s to hoping they actually make a skit for “Brody Jenner, Kourtney, and Kris Take Vitamins.” Watch the skit below:
Speaking of great imitations, Bill Hader, who is SNL‘s saving grace each and every week, kept a so-so Dr. Oz skit alive thanks to his spot-on impression on the TV doc. Day was given nothing more than to play a reluctant audience member who Dr. Oz coerced into announcing his “dead rectum” to the world, and had to endure further humiliation by playing the role of his own poop. Hader’s Oz wasn’t as impressive as his Alan Alda (because nothing is) but I can’t give him enough credit for capturing the essence and mannerisms of everyone he plays in skits. No one Hader character ever looks or sounds the same, a true testament to the gifted star.
The following skit about the Greek gods having a meeting to figure out who should fix Greece’s crumbling economy was ultimately forgettable (unless you’re a fan of dolphin sex jokes), but it did mark the evening’s first appearance of Maroon 5 front man Adam Levine as “the Greek God of Music, Yanni.” While Day’s bit as the “party god” was funny enough, Levine got the biggest cheer and quite possibly, the skit’s biggest laugh. I only mention this because Drake, the previous musical guest completely one-upped Anna Faris when she hosted three weeks ago and Levine made himself very present during last night’s episode. (In other words, Emma Stone: keep your eye out for Chris Martin next week.)
Oddly enough, Levine wasn’t in the following skit “Getting Freaky with Cee Lo Green,” where Kenan Thompson played his Voice co-judge, who celebrated all things freaky and gave “freak” advice from the comfort of his basement. While the sketch ran far too long (as much as I love Hader, by the time his delightfully bizarre Colonel Nasty rolled around, I’d already been anxious for it to end), it did have some highlights, including some zingers aimed at Cee Lo (he was described as both “a big old sexy Ewok” and if “Elton John had a baby with a thumb”) and Charlie Day as a “freakasaurus.” (Step aside, Green Man!)
Just a quick thought: Between this skit, The Voice, and his recent Parenthood appearance, Cee Lo is becoming as omnipresent on NBC as Law & Order. (Let it be known, I would absolutely watch Law & Order: Cee Lo Green Unit.)
Aside from the Kardashian skit, the hands-down best sketch of the night belonged to the latest installment of the criminally underused “Kings of Catchphrase Comedy” bit. (For a show that’s created some of the best catchphrases of all time, I don’t understand why they don’t do this brilliant sketch more.)
Mocking every terrible stand-up comedian you’ve ever endured in person or during a very late night watching Comedy Central, the “Kings of Catchphrase Comedy” got some new blood with Dirk “Jack-Knife” Caine (played by Day) who looked and sounded an awful lot like Dane Cook (plus, his “jack knife” hand signal was essentially Cook’s “super finger”, no?) and “Hawk Attack” (played by Levine), a comedian whose entire shtick is, you guessed it, getting attacked by a hawk. Check out the full skit below, slappy pappy!
Levine didn’t say much during either of the skits he was featured in, but I assume that’s because he was saving his voice for his performance with his band Maroon 5. No matter how you might feel about Levine, his band, or their ubiquitous ear-worm hits, you’ve got to admit they sound damn good live. In fact, they performed “Moves Like Jagger” and “Stereo Hearts” (Travie McCoy stopped by to sing his portion of the tune, which actually belongs to his own Gym Class Heroes) so well, I’d argue they have been the best music guests so far this season. (Radiohead fans, I await your wrath in the comments section!)
Weekend Update got a much-needed shot in the arm this week, not only from the incredibly attentive audience (they were loving the episode throughout) but from — surprise, surprise — Hader, who did a priceless send-up of an intoxicated Rick Perry (his Spanish-speaking hula girl should, unquestionably, be his running mate) and Wiig who brought back the perpetually nervous, fast-talking Judy “Just Kidding” Grimes. (Her best proclamation: “Shia LaBeouf is the next Fonzie!”) Even Seth Meyers had an on night, as he delivered some legitimately funny one-liners (“It could be a mistake, most babies look like Justin Bieber”) and a new variation of “Really?!” called “A Closer Look at Europe.” Here’s Hader’s send-up of Perry:
The show wrapped on a bizarre note, however, starting with a painfully unfunny and poorly timed skit about an actor (Day) who had troubled filming an emotional movie scene with a dolphin while its trainer (Killam) distracted him. The whole thing felt clunky and doomed from the start and Thompson’s repeated declaration of “I do my job” felt on par with one of the terrible “Catchphrase Comedians.”
But the true out-of-place moment followed when one of the evening’s highlights, a swift but very funny skit about an out-of-touch detective (Day, finally getting to play up his weird, manic sense of humor) who claimed not to know what Seinfeld, baseball, or World War II is. (He did, however know what CSI: Miami is. Sorry guys, Elmo did it better better!) This skit would have fared much better earlier in the show, not to mention that it was the one time he and his Horrible Bosses and Going the Distance co-star Jason Sudeikis had any real screen time together. Which made me wonder, why did they keep these two — who have proven to have great chemistry together — apart all night? (They inexplicably did this with Melissa McCarthy and Wiig, too. What gives?)
The night concluded with their commercial for the HPV vaccination doll Lil’ Poundcake. It’s not so much that the skit is weird (though, let’s be honest, it most certainly is), I just can’t remember a time I’ve seen SNL put one of these at the very end of their show. Perhaps it was nothing more than a daylight savings time time-saver, but it certainly felt like a uneven end to an uneven episode.
Which is sad really, as I had such high hopes for Charlie Day. He is one of my very favorite comedic actors on television (I’ve watched this more times than I can count) and I was wishing this would allow more people to see his talents. While I don’t think they were squandered completely, it certainly didn’t showcase all of Day’s potential.
But what did you think of Charlie Day’s episode of Saturday Night Live, PopWatchers? Do you agree that the show didn’t live up to his potential or did he surpass your expectations as a host? What did you think of Adam Levine and Maroon 5’s performances? What was your favorite — and least favorite — skit of the night? Share in the comments section below!