We’ve only seen Gabourey Sidibe in one movie — which was anything but funny. So we were definitely curious as to how the Oscar-nominated actress would fare in her comedic debut on “Saturday Night Live.”
Sidibe’s monologue played off the fact that people think she’s actually like the depressing character she plays in “Precious.” She explains how her real-life upbringing was quite the contrary to her fictional role: “I grew up with dreams of getting a degree in psychology, which i don’t have to do anymore because I’m famous!” Sidibe breaks into song about her oh-so-wonderful life, belting out lines like, “I’m not feeling blue, I’ve been on ‘The View.'” The jokes in her “I’m Gabourey” tune never really quite work (see above) — but her energy is contagious. You can tells she’s a little (understandably) nervous, but we give her props for a pretty good job on the vocals and shaking her groove thing.
Sidibe’s nerves definitely get the best of her in her first skit. She plays the author of a book called “I’m the Nurse in Your Purse” who makes a guest appearance on “The Suze Orman Show” — and she definitely stumbles over a few of her lines with an inconsistent Jamaican accent. But Sidibe skillfully delivers perhaps the funniest bit of the skit: “You can diagnose yourself for free on the Internet. One time I was feeling real weird. My face was hot, I was dizzy, I had slurred speech. So I typed my symptoms into WebMD, and it turns out I was only drunk.”
Next was a skit about Steve Harvey hosting “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” Harvey repeatedly flubs the pronunciations of every answer choice, but the kicker is when he gets to a question about the Icelandic volcano and the impossible-to-pronounce town options. Sidibe plays the final contestant who gets Harvey attempting the impossible, and ends up attacking Harvey in frustration. She didn’t have all that much to say in this skit — but thumbs up for a great neck-wringing job.
Up next, Sidibe plays “Crazy Mrs. Johnson,” where she gets a lot more lines — and does a lot more stumbling. Poor Gabourey. She essentially plays an angry Wikipedia knowledge-filled neighbor. Most of the time she sounds like the random fact-spouting folks in the Bing ads. So I guess if you find that funny, this skit was made for you.
The “SNL” digital short had Andy Samberg (Samberg’s only appearance during the night — which is not nearly enough) and Sidibe spitting cherries back and forth and catching them in their mouths in “Cherry Battle.” A singing cherry throws Sidibe off her game, so the cherry spitting championship title goes to Sandberg. An odd but interesting little bit. Kind of makes you wonder what the “SNL” writers were doing when they came up with this concept … deep thoughts.
A Danish theater company doing an uninformed take on the life of Frank Sinatra — the concept is pretty amusing in and of itself. The Danish Repertory Theater puts little to no research into their stage production of Frank Sinatra’s life: “I Did it in My Style: The Story of Frank Sinatra.” Sidibe plays a singer who introduces Sinatra to jazz. Again, props on the vocals.
Weekend Update was hilarious (as usual). The three Weekend guests were great: travel writer Judy Grimes (Kristen Wiig), gay club scene guru Stefon (Bill Hader), and “SNL” writer John Mulaney, who did a pretty funny (although perhaps a little out of place for a Weekend Update?) bit on girl scout cookies. “How come I have to know a child in a beret to get them?” Good question, John. (Btw, Mulaney, who’s also a stand-up comic, seems to have an affinity for food-related comedy. Google his “The Best Meal Ever” if you want to laugh out loud.)
The 2010 Public Employee of the Year Awards had a pretty slow start. Our highlight for this sketch happens towards the end when Sidibe does her dramatic monologue on the Department of Motor Vehicles and utters a line about how the DMV prohibits dreaming in line about the better times in your life.
Not much to say about the alarm clocks bit. Alarm clocks aren’t funny, and this sketch didn’t do much to change that. There were admittedly a few well-written lines about specific alarm clocks, but on the whole, perhaps it’s about time “SNL” stops recycling this sketch (someone set the alarm clock)?
SNL wraps up with a skit reminiscent of the press conference scene from “Knotting Hill” — except the Hugh Grant character is played by
creepy reformed racist, Hamilton Whiteman (Will Forte), who’s
trying to win back his African American lover, Sidible. Eh? At a press
conference for “Precious,” Whiteman pleads for Sidibe to take him back
by explaining how he’s changed: “I’m different now, with the changing
of the guard in the White House, or should I say Black House.” Awkward
and uncomfortable are a couple words that come to mind for this sketch.
The musical guest for the night was MGMT — and those hoping to hear radio-friendly hits like “Time to Pretend” and “Kids” were out of luck. The band performed two songs from their new album, “Congratulations” (“Flash Delirium” and “Brian Eno”).
Photo credit: NBC