As more and more attention paid to SNL and every nook and cranny of it, we’ve learned more this year about contracted writers brought in for a couple of weeks at a time — guesting, or is it a tryout for a full-time gig? either way, it’s a gig. many cast members have reported feeling that they often feel it’s a week-to-week gig themselves. But one of the lesser known secrets that’s not really a secret and less so now that I’m typing it is how some hosts bring in their own writers, too. Jamie Foxx brought in a couple of his own comedians — what that says about his comfort level with the show’s current stable of writers, what that may say about race and SNL, is up for me to leave you your own blanks to fill.
To the recap!
We open cold with a press conference jointly held by President Barack Obama (Pharaoh) and House Speaker John Boehner (Bill Hader) on the impending fiscal cliff. Their message: The GOP no likey Boehner, bullying him and/or ignoring him as if it were middle school (taking his lunch money, pranking him with rubber snake).
Foxx’s monologue right up front addressed his blackness, as if that were an issue to be addressed — for Jay-Z owning the Brooklyn Nets, it’s sorta topical, I guess; for Foxx’s starring as a slave in Django Unchained, I suppose “How black is that?” is a more timely question for another era. And then there are the post-election now we’ll see the real black President Obama, because it’s been four years since stand-up comedians could get that hack about black. Even if he’s half-white. Not half-right. Foxx then spin-moves over to a piano for a customized song welcoming the audience to Saturday Night Live. And there’s 2 Chainz. Just because. How black is that?
Game show without Hader as the host, because it’s “Bitch, What’s the Answer?” with Mookie Meeks (Foxx) — contestants are a middle-school teacher from Cleveland (Taran Killam), a Utah Pathmark lady (Nasim Pedrad) and a guy who we don’t get to find out about (Bobby Moynihan) because the host keeps calling them bitches and yelling at them to shut up — whenever you have your characters say aloud that they want to get out of the sketch premise, that’s a certain sign that the audience will start to think the same thing
J-Pop America Fun Time Now is back — Taran Killam and Vanessa Bayer as Michigan State students who love Japanese culture so much they think they’ve already assimilated straight from Lansing. They’re going to miss the holiday break and their faculty adviser (played by Jason Sudeikis), and they want to celebrate Japanzwaa? Their guest, a grad student and martial artist (Foxx), who explains his various tattoos are in honor of his various baby mamas. It ends with Foxx rapping.
A video about Tyler Perry following up “Alex Cross” with a sequel, “Alex Cross 2, Madea: Special Ops” with Foxx in both roles, two-face, two-costume style. At least he commits for the eye-to-eye, face-to-face confrontation. It still felt like it was missing…something.
Ladies and gentlemen, Ne-Yo. At one point, Ne-Yo was going to be the next Michael Jackson. Girl let me love you!
Holiday stress already stressing out Mrs. Claus (Aidy Bryant gets her own character on the Update desk!), who’s getting into the wine bottle and porn On Demand while Santa is away. If you think that’s TMI, just wait until she tells you everything else.
Hostess is going out of business?!? While everyone laments the Twinkie, what about the Ding Dong? The Ding Dong (Foxx) wants to know he’ll be missed, too. Does it have to be snack profiling? We get to hear where all of the snack cakes rank on the snack cake pyramid. “If I may, Ding Dong.” “Call me Dong.” “No.” Kudos for Foxx getting the audience to singalong to his Dr. Dre, and immediately following it up with a Suge Er reference.
Another game show sketch! This time Bill Hader is indeed our host. And this is a fun one in a funny because it’s true, so so true way. It’s “Dylan McDermott or Dermot Mulroney?” With Foxx joined by Kenan Thompson and Jay Pharaoh as the contestants. “We will never know this!” Proving once again, sometimes the simplest sketch can be simply funny. Derbel McDillet FTW! With an even added bonus in the flesh! And yet. But still.
Here’s a video about a pimp (Kenan Thompson) who has gone straight, and now sells Christmas Trees on the street. “Marcus Banks: Tree Pimp.” With a couple of twists that aren’t really twists.
I don’t know why the court in Bangor, Maine, is so southern, because it’s not even in southern Maine. That doesn’t stop “Maine Justice” from going there. Aidy Bryant is the prosecution, Bobby Moynihan is the defendant. Foxx is the bailiff. Sudeikis is the judge. If you giggled at the idea that up is down and down is up, then maybe you’ll play along with this. For some reason, Charlie Day (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) shows up in an even more Southern accent. Oh. Hold on now. One by one, they try to explain how all of these people from New Orleans are in Maine. “I’m so confused,” Moynihan’s character says. Again, this is a case where if you make a character feel what the audience is feeling, it doesn’t necessarily make us sympathetic. It just makes us question your confidence in the comedy.
Once again, Ne-Yo.
Five to One. Vanessa Bayer and Cecily Strong are here (back?) as former porn stars to add glamour to the sales of Swarovski Crystals.
Which reminds me, we didn’t see the ladies of SNL too much tonight, did we? Maybe next week!
Note: Additional sketches by Suli McCullough and Chris Spencer.