SNL: Charles Barkley / Kelly Clarkson

Ding, dong, mother fucker, it is the new year and time for a new episode of Saturday Night Live. Did you get it? That was my attempt at ringing in the new year…oh, shut up.

Okay, so this Saturday, we saw host Sir Charles Barkley host SNL for the 3rd time. Everything I read, saw or heard about this episode mentioned Barkley’s legacy of hosting as if the promo was hinting that the 3rd time would indeed be the charm. Yeah, it wasn’t. During the opening segment, Barkley monotonically uttered simple jokes for the minimum required 2 minutes while proving he has a elementary grasp of the English language. Somewhere in the wings of the studio, Keenan Thompson and Jay Pharoh high-fived because having an African-American host means they will get more air-time in this episode than the rest of the season combined.

Was the whole episode a bust? Not totally. There were some surprisingly funny sketches — odd and quirky and original — the kind of sketch that actually made you laugh.

First, there was the Adult Movie Awards. Now, there is a seemingly endless amount of humour that could come out of that setup, but this is SNL not Mad TV, am I right!! So, the tame NBC writers chose to focus on “In Memoriam” — you know, the segment of awards shows that focuses on the dead people. Dead Porn Stars. Brilliant.

Second, I refer you to a sketch about, “White People Problems.” You could also call it, “First World Problems,” but I guess that may be copyrighted or something. In a bit about summer homes and airline seats, it was racist in a way that is totally acceptable on TV. One of the best lines in the show (forgive me, I am paraphrasing) was, “‘Awkward’ is a word used by white people to describe everything.”

There were some strange sketches thrown in, things that are so original and weird you almost want to salute whomever thought it up, for example Cecile the Renaissance man-child who craves sweets while his footman plays a lyre (or harpsichord…fuck, i don’t care). If Cecile is a little too weird, perhaps you can attend the meeting of the Mayans who approved the 2012 calendar. If you miss the good old digital short, then prepare yourself for “Convoluted Jerry” who sings songs with purposefully confusing lyrics (be wary though, it was buried at the end of the show which makes me think even the producers did not have faith in it).

Dare I mention Weekend Update? There is honestly nothing new I can say. Seth Meyers: stop it.

Kelly Clarkson was the musical guest. I love singing along with her in the car…or well, I did, maybe 5 years ago. She has come back full force, with awkward bangs and mediocre songs that remind me of the early 90s. She is definitely looking older, more mature and her once crystal clear voice is now filled with breaks and emotion. Well, I say that the gravelly breaking in her voice is emotional, but it could also be attributed to cigarettes. Either way, I kind of like it. Her song choice — 1st “What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger), 2nd Mr. Know it All — were fine, I guess. I kind of hate these songs. I fast-forwarded several times and would often be in the same line of a different stanza. So, overall for Ms. Clarkson = meh.

As usual, the show as a whole was not awful, but I, and I am sure America, are sad that there are so many inconsistencies with the quality of humor. Fresh blood, fresh ideas, fresh humor. America deserves more. Is this too patriotic? Shut up.

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