Day: September 14, 2008

SNL Season 34 debut, with host Michael Phelps and Tina Fey as Sarah Palin

Having an athlete host a live televised sketch comedy show is a bit of a hit-or-miss, win-or-lose proposition. If the star athlete already has shown a knack for comedy in his or her previous TV commercial endorsements (see: last year’s SNL debut host LeBron James, or Peyton Manning), then you can expect the athlete to cross the finish line with easy laughs. However, if the athlete swims like a fish out of water, then you’re about to endure the hype machine of swimmer Michael Phelps doggy paddle its way through 90 minutes of your 34th season debut of Saturday Night Live. Not that Phelps was horrible. But there’s nothing he did that’s worth even talking about, is there? Especially, particularly, definitely when Tina Fey provided all the buzz in the "cold open" as Republican VP wannabe Sarah Palin, appearing alongside longtime comedy friend Amy Poehler (about to give birth any day now, it seems) as Hillary Clinton for a joint statement. SNL head honcho Lorne Michaels said earlier in the week he was going after Fey to play Palin, since so many people had pointed out their similiar looks in the past couple of weeks of hubbub and hullaballoo, and they even gave Poehler a line to mock Palin for "her Tina Fey glasses." Fey had the voice pretty spot-on. The point of the sketch, though, as with most...

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MADtv Season 14 debut, with Jerry O’Connell

The 14th season of MADtv began on Saturday night, not quite live and about a half-hour before that other, longer-running, better-known sketch show. But these kids have spunk. And they certainly tackle current pop culture landmarks more frequently than their live competitors. The show opened before a live audience, at least, with an otherwise lackluster entrance by Obama (Keegan-Michael Key) and McCain (Bobby Lee). That’s right. Bobby Lee as McCain! Media critics went all a-Twitter last year debating whether a black comic had to play Obama, but will they bother to critique FOX’s choice of an Asian comedian to play the former Vietnam War POW? Just wondering. In the hair and makeup, Lee does more than a passable job at playing the old coot. The duo then introduced the new cast members. Sort of. We met Erica Ash. This intro did prove, at least, that this first hour of the season would be the Key and Lee hour. First sketch had Lee as a Thailand cable access host named Johnny Gan showing us his audition tape to take over for Jay Leno. It had an amateurish Tim-and-Eric vibe to it, albeit with a bad Asian humor accent. Three separate bits poked fun at The Hills, with Nicole Parker as Lauren Conrad and that gal who couldn’t cut it as Don Draper’s secretary (Crista Flanagan) as Lo, interviewing prospective new...

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September 2008
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