Saturday, December 27, 2014

SNL 40.5 Review - Chris Rock, Prince

Original Airdate - 11/1/14

It's catch-up time for SNL reviews!  For the third time in the first five episodes of this season, a former cast member has returned to 30 Rock to host.  Chris Rock had some mild success on the show as a castmember, but his notoriety came more from his stand-up and subsequent movie career.  The first two times former cast members (Sarah Silverman, Bill Hader) had come back this season and had some decent success, with Hader turning in one of the best episodes of the season.  Chris Rock unfortunately did not have the same success.

Cold Opening

It almost has felt at times that the SNL writers have tried a little too hard to make the cold opens topical and current.  It has also felt at times like they forget not everyone that watches the show lives in New York.  The result is a series of sketches that may speak to the times, but have very few laughs and are completely forgettable.  This one is no different.  They talk about the quarantine (or lack thereof) of ebola patients in New York.  The one positive out of this sketch is it allows Bobby Moynihan to reprise his Chris Christie impression, which is just too perfect to not pull out every once in awhile.


By far, the highlight of this episode was the monologue where Chris Rock got to do what he does best.  His comedy had the type of current events commentary that you can usually expect out of Cold Open.  He hit topics like the Boston Marathon and 9/11 in a way that you had to laugh at.  Now if only the whole show could have been this...

Weekend Update

Throughout this season, Weekend Update has slowly been gaining momentum again.  Now, you can firmly say it is once again the backbone the show is built on.  It is now better than the late Seth Meyers years as Colin Jost and Michael Che are more willing to be edgy and offensive in their commentary on the week's news.  For the first time in awhile, the jokes by the anchors are outshining the guest spots.  This week, the guests to the Update desk started off with Pete Davidson, who always shines as Weekend Update's "Resident Young Guy."  Next came Katt Williams.  I still have no idea who that is, but I hear Jay Pharaoh is scary in his portrayal of the diminutive comic.

Best Sketch

Do you ever have those moments where you are listening to a song for the first time and are really enjoying it until you hear who is singing it?  Apparently, so have the people at SNL.  They have come up with a solution for this phenomenon revolving around one of the more polarizing musical figures right now, Taylor Swift.  Swiftamine is one of the more clever ideas for these commercials that pop up throughout the episode this season.  However, you know the episode is a little lacking when a commercial takes the best sketch crown.

Worst Sketch

Chris Rock seemed to spend most of this episode in a grey-haired wig playing a stereotypical older black man.  I have no idea why, but none of the sketches where he did this were very funny.  The worst of these was this sketch where he and Leslie Jones play a bickering older couple.  It was more sad than funny as it seemed to either be trying too hard or not trying at all.  I couldn't tell.  Rock obviously wanted to show how grown up he was though.

Dark Horse Sketch

The only sketch that reclaimed the edge found in Chris Rock's monologue was this recreation of the hit show Shark Tank.  I have never watched the show, but you don't need to have seen it to understand the premise.  Average Joes try to get millionaire businessmen to back their business ideas.  The idea before the backers in this sketch is ISIS ... yes, that ISIS.  It was more of a shock-factor sketch than anything, but the fact that they were willing to go there was impressive enough to make this sketch a definite highlight of the episode.

After a couple of really fun episodes, this one really disappointed.  It seemed as if Chris Rock brought a lot of ideas to the table that just didn't pan out the way he thought (like many of his movies recently).  The main things to see in this episode are Chris Rock's monologue and Prince's extended jam session in the middle.  Other than that, there wasn't much to get excited about.


View the full episode here:

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