SNL Scorecard: Just How Excellent Was Dana Carvey's Trip Down Memory Lane?
Well, you can't say you weren't warned, but Dana Carvey made sure that last night's SNL felt more like an episode from 1991 than an episode from 2011. Nothing against Carvey; recurring characters are just what he does. And considering how he hasn't hosted the show in 11 years, it wasn't like he was going to spend too much time trying to cultivate new ones -- hence "Wayne's World (dated in a fun, nostalgic sort of way) and "Church Chat" (just plain dated). At times it did feel like REO Speedwagon asking the crowd, "Hey, who wants to hear 'Take it On the Run'?" But did Carvey's flashbacks doom the show to a sad trip down memory lane? Or did James Franco's hard work around the set strike a steady balance? (Also, what the hell was that second Linkin Park song all about? Seriously?) Let's check the scorecard...
Sketch of the Night
"Sports Bar" (Carvey, Armisen, Sudeikis, Killam): "Embrace me. Embrace me -- under the neon lights -- embrace me," were the words that haunted me as I tried to sleep last night. Still, it's frustrating that we're treated to the why-even-bother "Live with Regis and Kelly" or the fairly terrible "Bad News" while this sketch gets buried at the end of the night. Regardless, it was great to see Carvey actually play a new role. And, hey, Jason Sudeikis everybody! (Take a good look, because that's the only time you will see him in last night's show.)
"Wayne's World Cold Open" (Myers, Carvey): The bad news: If your mother tuned in and saw this last night there's a good chance that she's going to, once again, start thinking it's hip to use the word "not" after sentences. Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar -- a man in his late 40s and another man in his mid 50s -- use their suburban Chicago cable access show to make their Oscar picks. Not surprisingly, for those immersed in Campbell and Algar's canon, they both enjoyed Winter's Bone. Yes, the jokes were dated, but it was fun to see Myers and Carvey together again onscreen. Used as the cold open, the nostalgia train may have been an easier ride if it had stopped right after the two screamed "Live from New York..." Alas, it didn't.
"The Roommate" (Samberg, Bieber): A parody trailer for The Roommate that looks much better than the real thing. Justin Bieber plays a college student who discovers that his new roommate, Decklin, is insane. The best part of the trailer is learning that Sir Ben Kingsley portrays Decklin. Also, Bieber did a nice job.
"Weekend Update" (Meyers, Brittain, Wiig): Seth Meyers started "Update" with a look on his face that read, "I swear to god, if Dennis Miller shows up, I'm out of this place." Meyers was solid -- his best line was comparing Tunisia to Soundgarden and Egypt to Nirvana -- but the highlight of "Update" (and maybe the entire night if it had been its own sketch) was Paul Brittain as James Franco. "I love doing things!" Franco lists all the everyday jobs that he plans on doing, then making a documentary about doing that job. Before the end of the night Franco is seen holding the cue cards. Please, SNL, make James Franco a recurring character. Oh, yeah, Kristen Wiig also played a disco-singing weather reporter (sigh).
"Dana Carvey Monologue" (Carvey, Lovitz, Hader, Wiig, Samberg): Yeah, unfortunately, Dana Carvey still thinks it's funny to do a Ross Perot impression, but it was nice to see Lovitz show up. Carvey sings about the glory days of 1986-1993 while mistakenly referring to Wiig and Hader as Karen Wong and Rainn Wilson.
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