Monday, May 18, 2009

SNL: Will Ferrell's greatest hits

No time to do proper justice to the Will Ferrell-hosted "Saturday Night Live" finale, except to say three things: 1)It's a pleasure to watch Ferrell as either the comic center or straight man in a sketch, and you can tell how much the others enjoy playing off him; 2)The latest installment of Celebrity Jeopardy may be my favorite version of that ever, possibly surpassed only by the one that previously featured Norm MacDonald's Burt Reynolds (or, rather, "Turd Ferguson"); and 3)The closing sketch (not online for some reason, possibly owing to music rights) was another winner in the "let's try whatever weird idea we have" at 12:55 a.m." category.

Also, if this really was Darrell Hammond's last episode, as the hugs over the closing credits implied, which impression of his will you miss the most?

38 comments:

Myles said...

Hammond has had so little to do as of late that I've always wondered why he didn't just leave the show. I guess he was sticking around to play Cheney, but even then it probably wasn't worth him remaining a full time cast member.

This felt like the right sendoff for him, though, especially getting to do his Sean Connery one last time. I think that's probably my favourite impression he's done, just for the dynamic it created between him and Ferrell.

The question now is whether or not they will try to hire someone else who can play (not to put it too bluntly) old men. They've got some women who are able to jump around the age range pretty well, but it seems as if the men all skew fairly young.

Crystal said...

Darrell Hammond leaving? Whaaaaaaaa?

How can I choose? He blends so seamlessly from character to character. For years and years...

Fun last sketch, great Jeopardy. SNL has been pretty fun this year.

Bianca said...

I didn't know Hammond was leaving. He'll be missed.

As for the finale, it was great to see Amy Poehler back. And the Paul Rudd cameo at the end was great too.

Mike F said...

nice to see old faces back, but pretty much a yawner for me

I can only pray that this was the last episode for the painful-to-watch Keenan

Undercover Black Man said...

I'll miss Hammond's Chris Matthews (even though he hasn't done it in a while). He was ahead of the curve with that one.

jim treacher said...

Yeah, without Hammond to make fun of him, now there's no reason for anybody to even remember Chris Matthews exists.

Andrew said...

Rumor has it that this was Don Pardo's last show as well:

http://www.ntsmediaonline.com/?p=5703

If so, I'm secretly hoping that they'll keep Hammond on as announcer. He'd be free to work other gigs, but he'd also be available whenever they needed a Clinton, Cheney, Regis, Chris Matthews, or anyone else that Hammond has claimed as his own. It'd be like the deal Andy Richter has with the new Tonight Show.

FYI, the sketch you linked to wasn't the first Burt Reynolds appearance. In fact, until this show it was the last since that sketch was from when Norm returned to host. Also, not sure if you noticed this, but in last night's Celebrity Jeopary if you looked closely during a wide shot, Reynold's podium still read "Turd Ferguson." I think this might be my favorite of the CJs. Between having Hanks play himself and Norm's Burt randomly show up with a podium and everything halfway through the sketch, it was simply made of win.

It was one of the better shows of the season overall. Although I must admit that I'm inclined to like any episode that brings Norm back because to this day I'm still pissed over how he got fired.

Question Mark said...

Darrell Hammond has basically been a part-timer for the last three years, so this won't be a huge change. The guy has averaged roughly one sketch per show for a long while. That said, back in his prime, he was an excellent cast member and still quite underrated.

Celebrity Jeopardy --- best recurring skit in SNL history? It has to be at or near the top of the list.

Blair Waldorf said...

Tom Hanks struggling to free himself from a dry cleaning bag was the funniest thing all night. Hilarious. Also,

Hanks: "But I want a pickle."
Trebek: "We can't keep playing unless you let go of the pickle."
Connery: "That's what your mother said last night!"

Celebrity jeopardy was slso the best use they've ever found for Kathie Lee.

That last sketch struck me oddly. I didn't laugh but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

The Lawrence Welk rehash was weak. The joke was exactly the same as when Anne Hathaway hosted only not as good and it included Will Farrell.

Blair Waldorf said...

Oh, and did anyone catch Elizabeth Moss during the "Goodnight Saigon" sketch, in the back, holding hands with with Fred Armisen? So cute.

Mike F said...

Hanks was funny...very under-rated physical comedian...has mad chops from his days as primarily a comedy actor

And I take exception to the Chris Matthews shots...I'm a big Hardball fan...I've watched it just about every night for the last 10 years and the man has some serious intellectual integrity...he may not always be right, and he may not be perfect, but I trust him as a serious newsman and political analyst

Nicole said...

I enjoyed most of the skits this week, and while the last one wasn't "funny" per se, I still liked it, mostly because I knew all the words to "goodnight saigon" and the cameos were cute.

Tom Hanks was funny in Celebrity Jeopardy and perhaps he can host (again) one of these days.

Tyroc said...

Up there with the Hathaway and Jon Hamm episode for best of the year.

Anonymous said...

My favorite Hammond impression was his Phil Donahue .. ".. when all OF A SUDDEN.."

Bobman said...

Yeah, the last sketch just seemed like an excuse to bring in as many cameos as possible (and I spent most of it going "hey, Anne Hathaway! Hey, Paul Rudd!" etc.

Great episode though. Any ep of SNL that brings back Celebrity Jeopardy, complete with Sean Connery AND Turd Furgeson, is good in my book.

Karen said...

I thought it was odd that they recycled an old "commercial" (the dog litigator) in a season finale.

It did feel like a lot of recycled material to me, but Celebrity Jeopardy was as brilliant as ever, and constantly having old friends show up throughout the evening was quite nice.

The "Goodbye Saigon" sketch was nonpareil, though, as far as I was concerned. That sort of profoundly surreal sketch comedy is what I have always loved about SNL from its earliest days and which they have had a more and more difficult time producing of late. But that was just stone genius.

I caught Elizabeth Moss, but didn't make the connection to Armisen--very nice.

Adam said...

Well, the last sketch was a nice meta way to get everyone on stage (including Artie Lange?) and say farewell to the season.

Per the statisticians at New York Magazine, Hammond was basically a part-timer this year. His record of 14 seasons may never be challenged, and the one word answer for what I'll miss? "Lockbox."

Anonymous said...

The Lawrence Welk Show skit was hysterical. I'm way too young to really appreciate it, but Kristen Wiig makes me laugh with just her crazy eyes. Priceles.

Ben said...

Wow, I guess I'm in the minority on this last episode, though maybe I didn't enjoy it as much in comparison to the great JT show the week prior.

I would have loved the "Jeopardy" sketch a lot more if Burt Reynolds had been on the panel over Kathie Lee. Also the Ferrell as "W" bit is tired and feels like piling at this moment, just months after the election (and this is not a political issue, trust me).

As for Hammond, he was always solid, but it probably is time for new blood. Of course, I wish they would find a replacement for Kenan Thompson and about half the cast. Keep Hader (who I fear could be gone any day as his street cred rises) and Samberg for sure, I guess Wiig (who really was more annoying/creepy than funny this season) and Armisen. I'm ok with the two new ladies, but eh on Casey Wilson. Get some good comedic actors Lorne!

Andrew said...

It's hard to choose between Hammond's Bill Clinton, Dick Cheney, Chris Matthews and Sean Connery. But his performance in the Gore "Lockbox" sketch was perhaps SNL's most influential during that election.

The Celebrity Jeopardy sketch was definitely the highlight of this one. It's one of those recurring sketches that has been funnier more often than not, mainly because Ferrell's Trebek is the center of the sketch and the straight man to Hammond's Connery. And Tom Hanks can still be funny.

Unfortunately for Weekend Update, The Daily Show's piece on Obama vs. the Honorary Degree was far funnier.

dez said...

It was one of the better shows of the season overall. Although I must admit that I'm inclined to like any episode that brings Norm back because to this day I'm still pissed over how he got fired.I thought he quit? What happened?

I found the finale surprisingly enjoyable, considering how much I loathe Will Ferrell. The Celebrity Jeopardy sketches are among my favorites because Hammond's Connery kills me every time (can't believe I didn't see his mangling of "Catch These Men" coming, so to speak). I'll miss his Connery and his Clinton the most.

Oaktown Girl said...

Unfortunately, I didn't get to see anything after the Jeopardy sketch. If this was Hammond's last show, did they at least give him a nice send off, like something good to do on Weekend Update?

I'm bummed if Hammond's going, but I'm also glad he stayed as long as he did. Without a doubt, I'll miss his Bill Clinton the most. Just too funny.

Adam said...

MacDonald was fired by Don Ohlmeyer for refusing to lay off the jokes about his friend OJ.

Oaktown Girl said...

Almost forgot, I'll also really miss Hammond's Connery impression. Kills me everytime. I start smiling before he even opens his mouth.

The Jeopardy "pickle" joke - I think it would have been funnier if the punchline had been, "That's what I told your mother last night", instead of "that's what your mother said".

MickeyRibs said...

The best part of Celebrity Jeopardy had to be Tom Hanks saying "Sibilance. Sibilance." into his "microphone". That had me on the floor for minutes. A fantastic call back from Hanks.

JoeE said...

It's largely forgotten, but my favorite Darrell Hammond bit has to be his Bill Clinton reviewing Independence Day in a 1996 episode (hosted by Lisa Kudrow), I think, where he gave it two thumbs up because the President's wife died. I'm sure I saw it at least a half dozen times on Comedy Central reruns, but it always had me rolling.

SteveW said...

The last sketch was simply dreadful. I'm all for good satire, but using a song about Vietnam in this way...it just struck me us utterly callous.

That, and the overload of cameos simply illustrated how this show relies too much on stunt casting to get any notice.

Tom Hanks acted circles out of everyone in the (very funny) Jeopardy sketch. He's a real pro.

Anonymous said...

"I thought he quit? What happened?"

Well, Norm wanted to keep his job. And uhh, NBC, NBC felt the opposite way.

Adam said...

Mickey: Oh, my. I didn't catch that. WW/Aerosmith skit, right?

JoeE: It was a review of The American President, and it's well-loved. Transcript here, David Alan Grier hosted.

tomok97 said...

Was Artie Lange's appearance the first time a Mad TV cast member has appeard on SNL?

Garrett said...

JoeE: It's even funnier in hindsight, considering that aired the month after the Monica Lewinsky affair started.

Adam said...

@tomoko: Jeff Richards was a cast member of both, MadTV first.

Jeff said...

I don't think I've seen anyone look happier than Artie Lange did, standing on that stage, and I'm not sure why he was.

I will say he's looking better than in recent memory, and it was nice of his friend Norm to drag him along into the sketch and into the good nights.

Show was fine -- I am hating with every passing episode the political cold opens; I suppose that's what happens when you have the Colberts and Stewarts of the world commenting faster on these events than you can. I guess they need to pray for something to happen on a Saturday afternoon to get it into the show by nightfall and beat everyone else to the punch.

Hanks in the dry cleaning bag was easily the standout, and he managed to handily cover the bag ripping by subtly spinning it around -- just great work... but it was great to have Norm back, too, and while I thought it might be a nice "finale" moment for Connery/Trebek to share a moment and have Trebek "win one" finally -- the steaming pile on his grave was a much better payoff.

Liked the commentary, but less the jokes, on the lower third bug/synergy on NotSportscenter

Thought Green Day sounded good.

I fell asleep during the intial broadcast and woke during "Goodnight Saigon" and couldn't possibly figure out the context for it... in a way, after watching it twice, I still can't...

Sure felt like Hammond's last show judging from the bows, but not much else past the killer Connery, and it feels like he really hasn't done much this year. I like the idea of having him be the announcer -- hasn't he been subbing for Pardo (as Pardo) over the past few years, anyway?

Hyde said...

Another vote for Al Gore being Hammond's greatest impersonation. Aside from the arguable importance of those debate sketches, no one even knew it was possible to do Gore before Hammond showed up and totally nailed him.

David said...

I liked Hammond when he first started, but to me he was always a soloist and not an ensemble player, and I stopped looking forward to his impressions because the JOKES were so predictable and recycled. "Bill Clinton Is A Horndog." Ho-hum. "Donald Trump Is A Gasbag." Got it. "Dick Cheney Snarls." Next. I can't think of the last new character he nailed. Hader and Armisen, on the other hand, keep coming up with new impressions, while melding into the cast as a whole.

An exceptional episode, though -- and the thought I had after "Goodnight Saigon" was "how in the world did anybody come UP with that?"

Anonymous said...

wow, in the minority again. I thought this episode blended right in with all the other bad ones this season. I have always loved the jeopardy sketches but i thought this was a pretty weak one. And Tom Hanks? Everyone thought he was "hysterical" Seriously? I thought he was awkwardly un-funny. didn't laugh once.
I think everyone has lowered the bar for SNL so much that this is considered funny in comparison. And cast is now pretty weak.

pgillan said...

According to Artie on Stern this week, he was hanging out at the after-party, and someone came in and gathered up "anyone famous" for the "Goodbye Saigon" sketch. He said they had no idea what it was about, they were just directed to go on stage on sing, and then leave when they got the signal. (If you go back to the clip, you can see someone waiving them off in the lower right corner of the screen).

I never heard that song before, so I checked out the original, and I think I prefer Ferrell's version.

Also, was Tom Hanks the first celebrity to play themselves as a moron on the Jeopardy sketch? I know a few guests have done it, but they were always playing someone else- Sean Penn and Wynonna Ryder spring to mind, but I can't remember who they played.

The CineManiac said...

Loved the episode. My main problem with the Lawrence Welk Sketch was that clearly both Anne Hathaway and Amy Poeler were there that night, but they didn't reprise their roles as the sisters. That and it was a pretty weak rip-off of one of this seasons best sketches.