BB2’s Top 15 SNL Fall 2014 Moments

This list includes sketches & a few Weekend Update segments that were, in my own opinion, 15 of the strongest highlights of the the first half SNL’s strong 40th season. I’m not going in any particular order this time around – after much toiling, here are 15 things that made me laugh, got me interested in the construction of the writing, or made me laugh really hard.

So, here we go!

1. Puppet Class (Bill Hader, Killam, Strong, Moynihan)
Anthony Peter Coleman may be one of Bill Hader’s best characters ever to air (or one of the best characters, period). I hope he hosts again sometimes and gives us a third installment.

2. Back Home Ballers (Diaz, Zamata, McKinnon, Strong, Diaz, Jones, Bayer)

This one is a pretty good representation of how well done and fun the song sketches have been this fall. Anytime you get all the ladies of SNL together with some good material, you’ll never be disappointed. Finally: Bowls, bowls, all type of bowls…

3. Weekend Update: Cheer Up, Obama (Jost, Che, Thompson)

This was the first sign that the new Update team of Che & Jost could be pretty great together. Not sure if anyone still thinks about this segment, but I hope it cheered up our President.

4. Bad Boys (Pratt, Bennett, Mooney)

Everything about this is pure genius. I’d be okay with a Mooney/Bennett early 90s sitcom knock-off every week in 2015. A little kid peer-pressures Chris Pratt into stealing Beck Bennett’s ball with a gun so they can play in the house for 4 seconds…what’s not to like about this?

5. Match’d (Harrelson, Strong, Bennett, Mooney, Killam)
Great sketch writing example #1. I will laugh at this every time I see it. Also, everything about these executions are perfect. Cecily Strong is a perfect MTV voice/personality, and the reactions of each guy when Woody Harrelson’s host drops the bomb is solid.

6. Kid Mayor (Franco)
This is here because of how hard I laughed. I’m nearly ashamed of how much I laughed at this. Also, because its’ motives are just plain funny.

7. 39 Cents (Hader, Pharoah, Thompson, Zamata, Jones)

Great example of good sketch writing #2. (I believe Michael Che wrote this?) I should’ve scored it higher on my scorecard, but it makes such a good point…why 39 cents? Seriously? Anyway, this is a good ‘evergreen sketch’ in that it brings an original idea to the table and could be enjoyed later on as a classic.

8. Weekend Update: Leslie Jones (Jones, Jost)

Literally any time Leslie Jones is on Update is a true gift. I’m posting this one because Harriet Tubman. But seriously, she brings such life to the Update desk (and the show in general) and has been such a breath of fresh air in the world of comedy. It’s only a matter of time before she’s a big star. Finally, I’d watch a half-hour comedy show of Leslie flirting with Colin Jost.

9. Sump’n Claus (Thompson, Zamata, Strong, Moynihan, Freeman, Bayer, Mooney, Bennett, Bryant, Davidson, Pharoah)

I am STILL going around with this song in my head.

10. Grow-a-Guy (O’Brien, Franco, Bennett, Zamata, Bayer, Davidson)
Mike O’Brien is without a doubt the most interesting SNL writer right now. He has this unique gift for making a mini-story that combines genuine sincerity & meekness with comedy and “what in God’s name am I looking at???” This is a prime example, as well as Monster Pals Dragon Babies from last spring. Also, He and James Franco make a nice duo in these.

11. Wedding Objections (Freeman, Jones, Bennett, Bryant, Bayer, Thompson, Killam, Strong, McKinnon)
Another great piece of sketch writing that could have aired whenever. Everyone delivering their objections is great in this, immediately jumping to the absurdity of this couple being together (especially Vanessa Bayer). The sketch nearly jumps into 3rd gear when Kate McKinnon’s Evelyn stops by to SHUT IT DOWN.

12. Lincoln Ads (Carrey, Thompson)
Jim Carrey solves the question of “yeah, why did this need to happen?”

13. Church (Moynihan, Davidson, Pharaoh, McKinnon, Bryant, Mooney, Strong, Bennett, Killam, Jones)
All of this is true.

14. Weekend Update: Pete Davidson (Che, Davidson)

Pete Davidson has done a few ‘Resident Young Person’ appearances, and I believe his first one may have been the best so far. It didn’t even really matter what he was talking about – his charm and grin won over the crowd so quickly that everyone just wanted to see more of this guy. This could be why we started seeing him star shortly thereafter in a few pre-taped segments. But this has been some of his best stuff this fall.

15. High School Theater Show (Diaz, Bryant, Killam, Bennett, Mooney, McKinnon, Thompson, Bayer)
Truly one of the best pieces of sketch writing this fall – maybe the best. This sketch was also entirely dependent on timing with each line, movement of boxes, choreography, etc. and it hit everything dead on. It’s so great when a live sketch can be this succinct and funny and great to look at. Plus, everything is true about this. I’ve been Kenan Thompson/Vanessa Bayer in the audience looking at these. 100%.

Can’t wait to see more of what SNL40 brings!


Cameron Diaz and the Ladies Shine on SNL

Black Annie
Cameron Diaz showed up last night and, with an energized cast, brought us another strong episode of SNL! Not only was she game to try whatever, as per usual – the show also came with some pretty good/new sketch comedy ideas this week, one or two that make you wonder why they hadn’t been tried before. (I think Kenan’s ‘bill’ is still falling down the stairs.)

Here’s your fun, pre-Thanksgiving SNL Recap!

COLD OPEN: SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK (Mooney, Thompson, Pharaoh, Moynihan)
Kenan playing the “I’m just a bill” guy was just so much fun – I chuckled every time Obama pushed him down the stairs. And also I laughed out loud at Bobby Moynihan’s contrasting line “I’m an Executive Order, and I pretty much just happen.” This was a more refreshing format to deal with the immigration bill than ‘here’s Jay Pharoah’s Obama talking at the camera’ – which SNL has now done better two weeks in a row now.
Blackometer: 7.5/10

CAMERON DIAZ MONOLOGUE (Diaz, Mooney, Bayer, Moynihan, Jones, Bennett, Bryant)
It’s been revealed in the past that when the writers don’t know what to do with their host in the monologue, they take fake questions from the “audience”. Most of these aren’t great and feel pretty short & lazy. Our host monologues have been pretty good so far this season, so I was surprised when this went as short and as lazy as it did. I mean, Cameron Diaz is a great personality and has been game for a lot of things in the past as an actress…and they couldn’t come up with anything else for her to do? So yeah…this was as phoned in as a fake-questions monologue can get. However, I did strangely like how Vanessa Bayer delivered her “I knew that.”
Blackometer: 3/10

BACK HOME BALLERS (Bryant, Zamata, McKinnon, Strong, Diaz, Jones, Bayer)
The return of “Do it in my twin bed” – Thanksgiving edition! Having not had a large fill of the SNL ladies yet this season, this was so much fun. And it had some pretty good lines as well. I’m not sure yet if this as good or better than last year’s rendition…but in any case, it was good to see Lil Baby Aidy again. Also, I liked Leslie Jones’ bowls, Aidy’s neighbor, and Kate’s wifi password.
Blackometer: 7.8/10

NEW ANNIE (Bayer, Bryant, McKinnon, Strong, Diaz, Pharaoh, Jones, Thompson)
Well, with Diaz hosting, an Annie sketch was predictable. But good grief – as per usual; this kicked into high gear when Leslie Jones hit the stage. Vanessa Bayer’s Black Annie was funny. Pharaoh’s subtle Jamie Foxx-isms were great. But it’s Jones’ energy that take it into the next level. I have no idea what happened at the end, but man, I couldn’t keep it together when Kenan showed up. This sketch had good material & such, but gets points mostly on the energy it had.
Blackometer: 8/10

NEST-SPRESSO (McKinnon, Killam, Bayer)
Someone on twitter compared this to Mike O’Brien’s Bird Bible last season, and this felt like perhaps a “version” of that. Man, it was weird.It is the kind of weirdness that hides in the cloak of subtlety that we can identify with Mike O’Brien’s work having known him from last year, so maybe it’s his sketch? Not sure. Anyway, Vanessa Bayer was pretty committed to the weirdness, and that makes this work more than anything. (I’d seen her more in 15 minutes by this point than I had in the entire season thus far.)
Blackometer: 6.5/10

HIGH SCHOOL THEATER SHOW (Diaz, Bryant, McKinnon, Mooney, Killam, Bennett, Thompson, Bayer)
This sketch was pretty brilliant. I’ve been to these kinds of “experimental theater” performances, and yes…this is rather accurate. Right down to moving box-type props and trying to ‘teach’ you something about society…even “stay in the your seats, because we will be walking around in character.” I didn’t know what to make of this until Kenan Thompson and Vanessa Bayer started asking the same questions I would find myself asking while watching this (especially if I paid to go see it). I was almost going to tie this with Black Annie, but I think this deserves the slight nod, because it’s true.
Blackometer: 8.5/10

WEEKEND UPDATE (Jost, Che, McKinnon, Killam, Strong)
Well, I was curious as to how SNL would tackle the Bill Cosby story this week…and perhaps letting Michael Che handle this one may have been for the best. It’s such a delicate story/subject to deal with, and even Seth Meyer’s Late Night show struggled to joke about it in a ‘comfortable’ way (if there is even such a thing for shows that parody topical events). So appealing to Dr. Huxtable was…was okay, all things considered. It felt like a personal piece coming from Che rather than just a flat-out lampooning of either side of the story. (Also: why does the KKK have a twitter account???)
Kate McKinnon was great – maybe her best Angela Merkel segment yet, right down to getting Jost to do a German kiss face. GOOD LORD, Taran Killam’s Charles Manson was a sight to see. The hair/make-up department deserve a Thanksgiving bonus just for that. Especially whoever made those eyebrows.
Blackometer: 7.6/10

OFFICE BOSS (Bennett, Diaz, Thompson, Zamata)
This was the perfect kind of premise to do with this character – take him out of the office and try something new. Between the new atmosphere/premise, the perfect kind of host to play opposite him as wife, and the news that threw this sketch into a new gear, this was very well done and funny. I laughed out loud at Kenan/Sasheer’s faces when they hear the news. Being the 3rd time we’ve seen this, it was cool that the host was the partner this time, rather than the straight man type of character trying to get through this respectfully, like Kenan & Sasheer. “I actually have a lot of questions about your relationship…”
Blackometer: 7.8/10

DR. DAVE & BUGGLES (Thompson, Diaz, Pharaoh)
One joke. One dumb joke. I get it – the monkey ripped his genitals off. You know, I saw the pre-set stage/monkey and wondered why we were about to get a Brian Fellows sketch. I would rather watch one of those. (I really wonder if someone brought up the passing away of Zaboomafoo, and the discussion led to…this sketch.)
Blackometer: 3.5/10

THE FIGHT (Mooney, Bennett, Davidson, Diaz)
This gets a spot in the ‘good’ based solely on the pointless/epic car crashing transitions. People say they knew people like this in high school…and I finally remembered my recollection from yesteryear.
Blackometer: 6.5/10

POETRY CLASS (Bayer, Diaz, Davidson, Zamata, Thompson, Bryant)
I think I said it already – Vanessa Bayer was having a great night. And I feel like she really enjoys playing this character. The poems before Diaz were fine, but the reactions that Diaz’s poem was worth the price of admission. Kenan’s reaction faces are two-for-two in this show.
Blackometer: 7/10

NIGHT MURMURS (Strong, Diaz, McKinnon)
Great lines, great prop work, good execution – I think this should just speak for itself. A perfect 10-to-1 sketch, and perfect weird way to end the night.
Blackometer: 7.7/10

Best Sketch of the Night: High School Theater Show
Worst Sketch of the Night: Cameron Diaz Monologue
Joke of the Night: “Stay in the your seats, because we will be walking around in character.” – Aidy Bryant
Observations: Another solid show! We got to see some great work from our host and cast, especially the ladies! Outside of Back Home Baller, Vanessa Bayer and Kate McKinnon especially had great nights. It’s interesting how the monologue, which sets the stage for the potential energy of the night, felt so mundane and tepid; yet the rest of the show had good material and great execution from the cast. Cameron Diaz was as game always, and she was able to not only rise to the hosting occasion (as she has in the past), but she also really let the cast shine to put on a solid series of sketches. The show was so good, we even got to see the full goodnights afterwards – a rare, but grand treat.

In other news: I really need to get my behind to a Bruno Mars show. This guy was electric last night:


Next time: James Franco to start off the December Christmas shows!


Bill Hader: 6.91
Woody Harrelson: 6.80
Jim Carrey
: 6.80
Cameron Diaz: 6.78
Sarah Silverman: 6.78
Chris Pratt: 6.54
Chris Rock: 5.75

cameron diaz snl