If you had told me that the opening sketch would last nine minutes and 30 seconds, feature all nine regular cast members, and the premise would be Gen. Petraeus testifying before Congress in deadpan, I’d say, "Really?" And I’d mean it in the way Seth Meyers (the other cast member/head writer/Weekend Updater) and Amy Poehler say it in their recurring sketch. Really? Obviously, last week’s Christopher Walken family reunion sketch had an impact on the writing process this week. Let’s try that again, shall we? That’s what she said, and he said, and they said! All three presidential contenders were on display, with Darrell Hammond as John McCain, Poehler as Hillary Clinton and Fred Armisen bringing his meh Barack Obama out of the cupboard. Here it is.
Ashton Kutcher’s monologue stressed how he’s a producer (forget about his acting, won’t you please?). Speaking of which, who produced that scarf?! His wife, Demi Moore, makes a cameo.
Ads, ads, wait a second, this is an ad for Kutcher’s upcoming movie, What Happens in Vegas, and his co-star is Cameron Diaz. I smell foreshadowing. And look, it’s fictional TV show, The Cougar Den, with co-hosts Poehler, Kristen Wiig and Casey Wilson. This is my early vote for best sketch of the night that’s also not on SNL’s video site (maybe it’ll turn up later on Hulu? or YouTube?). Kenan Thompson plays the hopeless assistant. And looky here, it’s Cameron Diaz making a "surprise" appearance (foreshadowing shadowed!) as a cougar doing a Charo impersonation. Plenty of big laugh lines abound. "Blowjoy?" "Well, it’s certainly not a job." Ironic laugh lines, too, with Diaz saying how she likes to love the younger mens (Justin Timberlake, anyone) and bringing her tennis coach (Kutcher) onstage to reveal that his lovers’ ex-husbands are generally cool (that’d be Bruce Willis, in case you didn’t catch the hint-wink). Diaz steals this scene. (Updated: you can now see some, if not all of the video for this sketch, and I’ve embedded it here)
By the way, we’re already 26 minutes in on this commercial break, and we’ve had two, count them, two sketches in the books. Both sketches have gone long and featured multiple characters. Trendspotting? Ads, ads, another Kutcher ad for a Nikon camera. Mine’s a Canon.
And we’re back. A fairly forgettable sketch outside a club on the bouncer’s velvet rope, and it’s all about how Kutcher cannot get in while just about anyone else (oddballs played by Hader, Armisen, Samberg, Sudeikis, Poehler and Forte) pass muster. Yet another big casted sketch, though! Trends!
SNL Digital Short is a music video for "Daiquiri Girl" sung by Samberg and, well, ugh. Just, ugh. They scroll narration apologizing for it all, but why bother?
And now Kutcher and Poehler are producing a promo for Activia yogurt with newly AARP spokesmodel Jamie Lee Curtis (Wiig). Hader appears and disappears quickly. The joke is the ad goes wrong. "I just pooped in my pants!" And so did a nation. So, too, did a nation.
Ads, ads, here’s a McDonald’s breakfast ad that features NYC comics Matt McCarthy and Brad Aldous, among others. So that’s worth pausing and refreshing.
Gnarls Barkley plays its first song, with retro regalia. High-energy. Not "Crazy" at all.
And we’re back. It’s Weekend Update. Wiig appears as travel writer Judy Grimes, who, it appears, is nothing more than an anti-Penelope if you really take a close, hard look at her and her recurring line after every hyperbole, "Just kidding!" You watch and judge. Armisen also brought his "political comedian" character Nicholas Fein back for another go at the headlines.
Guys at the bar reminisce as the jukebox plays "Amy" with them singing the chorus between multiple jokes by each participant (Hader, Forte, Sudeikis and Kutcher). "Know what this song reminds me of?" Another sketch, but I cannot quite place it. It’s OK.
The next video is better. It’s first in a three-part mini-saga in which Kutcher plays a giant chocolate bar that kills. "Death by Chocolate!" Enjoy.
Ads, ads, ads. And we’re back. "The Mellow Show" hosted by Jack Johnson (Samberg) with guests Dave Matthews (Hader) and John Mayer (Kutcher). With Kenan Thompson playing Matthews’ violinist. If NYC comedian Greg Johnson had his say, this would be renamed, "It’s Chill(er) Time." (Updated: I’ve posted a full recap of this sketch here)
Second Death by Chocolate video!
Gnarls Barkley musical number #2. Not poo. But not anything to get me writing in my notepad.
It’s getting late, so time for Casey Wilson to get her sketch, if memory and trends serve me right. And yes, we’re at the Rusty Pony strip club, and patrons played by Sudeikis, Forte, Samberg and Hader are ready for some fun. Kutcher plays the club host. And here comes Wilson as Dusty Velvet, paralyzed stripper! This is a well-executed play on well-known improv games in which an audience member has to make all of the body movements for the cast member. Still good fun, though! Is there a video to share with you? Of course not. Yet. (Updated: I’ve posted video here)
Third Death by Chocolate video, then Kutcher wishes birthday greetings to his mom (or Demi? ooh, cheap shot!) and roll the credits. Interestingly, aside from "Death by Chocolate," the best videos aren’t shared here yet. Is that by design, NBC? We’ll give you a little bit, but leave you wanting more and make you watch the actual broadcast? Ah, I see how you are. You can’t sneak anything past me.