Forget sketches and updates, the thing that sunk this show tonight was Lana Del Rey. Holy Shit. Not since the recorded-voice-over, awkward-jig-dance fiasco of Ashlee Simpson has a musical guest caused this much of a kerfuffle. I love Del Rey. A friend of mine in LA gave me a few of her songs a few months ago and it included both “Video Games” and “Blue Jeans.” I think she has an ethereal and sultry voice, in stark contrast to the belt-out divas you see today. Del Rey reminds of a much less talented Fiona Apple.
I was unprepared for how horrible she would be in SNL. She started both songs with a deep, masculine growl; it was awful and reminded me of a drag king–you know, like, if a woman was trying to imitate a man’s voice. Her voice cracked and squeaked as she went from way too high to way too low registers. She seemed to rush the words and keep inaccurate time with the band. Oh, Lana Del Rey, you really botched the singing.
Aside from the awful vocal performance (which, seriously, was the worst thing my ears have ever had inside them), there was the was the presentation. Here are some things we will discuss:
- She wore the same dress. Surely between the wardrobe department of SNL and the money one gets from signing a record label, bitch can afford two dresses. I guess she may have been doing the whole, sex-pot night club singer thing and for some reason that justifies one bejeweled ivory dress, but come on, audience members at the Golden Globes have more costume changes than Del Rey.
- She swayed back and forth like a drunken prom date. When a singer does not play an instrument, body movements are bound to look strange. I suppose for Del Rey, dancing is out of the question, so walking around the stage and swaying. Was she high? Dizzy?
- She did awkward jazz-hands/arms. With arms ending in talonish nails, Del Rey would just move her hair, put her arm on her hip, across her waist, back in her hair, cupping her own breasts, back in her hair. I think she was nervous and unprepared for what to do with herself. Ugh.
Okay, now on to some sketches.
Daniel Radcliffe, we have watched you grow up on screen and, myself, I have seen your penis when you were in Equus. What I am trying to say is that you are pretty awesome and highly underrated since most people will forever know you as The Boy Who Lived. Well, forget about them, Danny, You kind of rocked it.
Despite an overuse of Vanessa Bayer and a noticable absence of Andy Samberg, this was actually a pretty good episode. I feel that while the content was very funny and there were some really original sketches, things fell flat for no discernible reason. The pacing was fine, the energy was upbeat, and there were some great pre-recorded sketches. I am not sure why there were so few laughs. Sure, there were some new characters, but there was strong work by the cast and host.
Radcliffe was a pretty great host. He had a confidence that was genuine and fun, not cocky. I think that his work on stage has greatly helped him in delivery and cadence of the sketches. When he appeared as Casey Anthony’s dog, that was one of the funniest weirdest things the show did all night, but it really worked. In 2020, we get a glimpse of loser Harry Potter reliving his glory days. There was one sketch, “Exit Polling,” where Kristen Wiig asks political and personal questions to Radcliffe after he votes. I watched it 4 times this morning. It is brilliant. Check it out here.
Come to think of it, there were no sketches that I thought were flat out awful. The cold open with Mitt Romney was slow and clunky, but not unfunny. the random Kristen Wiig Mayoral commercials were odd, but reminded me of old SNL Will Farrell for some reason. Even Bayer-heavy sketches like, “You Can Do Anything” (which pokes fun at how my generation — which is coddled and supported — believing that it can truly do anything and be the best at it) were really sarcastic and smart. I know, I usually hate horse-tooth Bayer, but she was all over this show and did a really great job. “Weekend Update,” usually the worst thing on the show, was short and sweet and provided two of my favorite segments — the Casey Anthony Dog (please see above) and “Kim Jong Un’s Best Friends” — you know how you kind of hate some things about your friends…well, imagine venting on TV.
Okay, the one stand out was the “Jay Pharaoh Show.” I am just not sure how to feel about it. I love Jay Pharaoh, I think he is funny but all I really see him do are impressions. That may be why he is not featured in as many sketches (well, at least not in sketches where an African-American is not required). This sketch seems to showcase his talent with impressions while simultaneously making it clear that his only real talent on the show is impressions. It was funny but for some reason, it saddened me.
Okay, that is enough blabbing from me. Check out this week’s show, I think it will be time well spent. I was very pleasantly surprised by this episode and I hope you will be, too.