Alec Baldwin knew he had a lot to live up to after Betty White‘s big “Saturday Night Live” debut last week.
A promo for “SNL’s” 35th season finale had Baldwin promising, “It will make you forget about old whats-her-name.” Musical guest Tom Petty refreshes his memory.
But Baldwin’s opening monologue referenced the octogenarian right off the bat, and then a special “satellite” (a.k.a. taped) appearance by Steve Martin did it again. “I’d like to thank all my friends at Facebook Mexico,” says Martin, in reference to the Facebook (U.S.) campaign that started the movement to get White on “SNL.”
As for why Martin had a (very brief) appearance? In addition to co-hosting the Oscars and sharing screen time in “It’s Complicated,” the two actors are also now tied for the title of “Most ‘SNL’ Hosting Gigs” with 15 apiece.
As for the rest of the skits, as usual some were funnier than others. Our personal favorites were all pre-Weekend Update (where we’re treated to Bill Hader‘s hilarious Stefon character).
Among the skits that had us chuckling more than not were Baldwin as an angry swim coach in the “Hudson Valley Swim Team” skit, a creative love-making instructor in “Grady Wilson’s Intimate and International” skit, and a soap actor in “Arizona Evening” — although the latter’s laughs must be credited to Kristen Wiig‘s impeccable comedic timing.
Here’s a breakdown of all the skits:
Baldwin tries to get through two lines on the set of a soap opera called “Arizona Evening,” but a buck-toothed substitute script supervisor (Kristen Wiig) isn’t making it easy. She calls herself Starfish and explains that she’s filling in for the regular script supervisor, Elaine, who we learn was hit by a Fritto Lay truck and died … or did she? The running joke is that a script supervisor ironically can’t seem to get her facts straight and continually corrects herself — and the actors. She also seems oblivious to the camera, as she and her big teeth continue to walk into frame. The concept seems a bit random, but Wiig’s great comedic timing and delivery elicit pretty big laughs.
Swim Team Awards
This one was definitely one of the funnier skits of the night — and it was all due to Baldwin. He plays the very disgruntled Coach Rooney, who seems to hate his job only slightly less than he hates his team. He’s a swim coach for the not-so-good Hudson Valley Swim Team, and he has to present awards to a team that didn’t win a single race all season. In a haircut left over from the ’90s and an accent you might hear on “Jersey Shore,” Baldwin presents the Participation Awards, Most Improved Awards and MVP Awards with a snide comment for each recipient. Participation Award winners (“aka the losers,” grumbles Baldwin) were presented trophies with remarks like “this kid couldn’t float in space” and “I told him to pee in the pool because it would help propel him forward.”
Birthday BBQ with Bedilia
Baldwin sports an apron dress and shorts in this skit centered around his 14-year-old daughter, Bedilia, who thinks her dad is the coolest guy in the world. It’s Bedilia’s birthday, and he has to do what most parents would only dream possible — tell her to stop hanging around him and go talk to her friends. Parts of the skit are funny, but Baldwin plays it pretty straight as a regular dad (with an odd kid) — and we like to seem him do bits with a little more flavor.
Grady Wilson’s Intimate and International
Here we see Baldwin in a curly wig and mustache and with a heavy Greek accent attempting to teach us various love-making techniques from around the world … now we’re talkin’. Along with his business partner Grady Wilson (Kenan Thompson), who has packaged these unusual moves in an instructional “Intimate and International” video, he demos his very –er, unique — techniques such as the “Facebook,” (I “poke you”), the “Naughty Donkey,” the “Panini” and more. We couldn’t do these moves justice by describing them — you have to see Baldwin in action. You know it’s good when he can barely stop cracking up himself during most of the skit.
Seth Meyer’s Weekend Update is always solid, and this week was no different. However, we have to give special props to the return of Bill Hader’s Stefon, the City Correspondent (we last saw him when Gabby Sidibe hosted), who kept us laughing throughout. Instead of discussing the requested family-friendly New York destinations, Stefon relentlessly promotes super trendy ficticious NYC night clubs where one gets to see oddball sights like “Germfs” (German smurfs), bear traps, a black George Washington, men in wedding dresses and a party room filled with human bath mats (a.k.a. midgets with dreadlocks who lay face-down on the floor). Hader is hilarious and even cracks himself up more than a couple times.
The skits start to lose a little luster at this point. Here Baldwin and the two-time Miss Indiana runner-up try to sell us on “the only microwave equip with time travel capabilities.” The joke is that when the food is sent back in time, potential side effects can include everything from gender and racial swapping to large giant cats appearing outside your window.
TCM’s ‘Whistle if You Can’
This skit gets off to a very slow start and doesn’t really get any laughs until the end. It’s introduced as a 1952 classic movie brought to you by TCM where Baldwin plays a businessman who encourages a hooker, Candy, to call home and reconnect with her mom. You’re led to believe he’s a true gentleman right up until she’s feeling great after talking to her mom and confesses that her name is Gertrude — at which point Baldwin gets the first laughs of the skit with the line, “Getrude, give me a hand job.” The rest of the skit is mildy amusing, but it took way too long to get to the joke.
‘Tay the shaw!’
Ok, so at least the humor picks up a little again in the final skit of the night. Baldwin commands two military snipers, but they can’t understand his orders. The two snipers spend the entire skit trying to figure out if his repeated orders of “Tay the shaw!” in fact mean “Take the shot!” Confusion sets in further when Baldwin starts giving conflicting orders back-to-back: “Tay the shaw! Hold your fire!” Just as funny is Baldwin rolling back and forth between the snipers in an effort to understand why neither will follow his orders.
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