Saturday Night Live and Alec Baldwin: We love you, Alec, but...

Saturday Night Live last night should, in theory, have been a great one. Host: the terrific Alec Baldwin, hosting for the 14th time. Cameo appearance: SNL great Dan Aykroyd. Possible topics for satire: the stimulus package; the upcoming Oscars. So why did it stink so badly?

The cold opening with Aykroyd leading a bunch of Republicans through some cynical political maneuvers was toothless and tedious. The sketch with Baldwin as the fourth brother of musical guests the Jonas Brothers — ‘scuse me, that’s just “Jonas Brothers,” no “the” anymore, apparently — proved mostly that, as comic actors, those nice Jonas boys ain’t the Monkees.

“Weekend Update”: z-z-z-z-z…. A promising idea — a jab at a snarky online blogger featuring the talented Michaela Watkins — was all attempted-catchphrases, no real punchlines.

The Wii-as-masturbation scene? As Seth Meyers would say: Really? Baldwin, Bill Hader, and Will Forte as businessmen trying to schedule a meeting that results in a glory-hole climax, so to speak? Started out funny, dribbled into nothingness.

Really, the only time I laughed was at Baldwin’s spot-on Richard Burton impersonation during one of Bill Hader’s always-reliable Vincent Price sketches. What does it say about SNL that it got its best laughs (also liked Kristen Wiig as Carol Channing, and Fred Armison as Liberace) with subject matter that was a throwback to the early 1960s?

Was there stuff here last night that you laughed at? If not, what do you think was the problem?


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  • JB

    I can’t believe that Lorne Michaels watches this crap all week in rehearsal and thinks that other people will find it funny. I really find it hard to set through ten minutes of SNL. I actually feel embarassed for the perfomers. It’s just like going to a stand-up show and the comedian bombs and the people in the audience are uncomfortable because they feel sorry for him. The difference in the case is, the same comedian keeps trying week after week and no one is pulling them aside and saying, “by the way, you suck.”

  • Frank from

    I have been watching SNL consistently for 20 years, and generally it’s easy to know when the show needs to change. Post-election, this season is proving that theory. The current cast has too many members, and it’s time for Hammond, Forte, and Thompson to go (I wouldn’t be surprised if Samburg left either – he apparently only has a 4-year contract). While Armisen – who deserves one more year – does a fine Obama, SNL needs someone who can satirize Obama better. And the show desperately needs new and better writers, pronto.

  • dcm

    SNL seems to be plagued by both poor writing and lackluster comedic talent. And rather than having guest stars make a good show better, they’re now expected to save a bad show. Cameron Diaz being completely unfunny in her supporting role sums it up pretty well.

  • jeff

    was i watching a different show? i thought baldwin was a scream. he’s one of the few comedic actors who can safely ape gay men without being disrespectful or offensive. wiig is a genius – her cougar & carol channing were fabulous. and as for the commentary, i thought it was funny – i wouldn’t be surprised if that becomes the next “buh-bye.”
    my only complaint: why are they now re-running digital shorts like virgania orsen and “jizz in my pants?”

  • Val

    The Sir Mix a Lot big butt photo sketch was pretty funny. And the wii sketch was an attempt to recapture the magic from the classic Schwetty Balls sketch.

  • Kevco

    How can the Jonas’s be so bad at being funny?! They have their own sitcom/variety/performance show coming to Disney. Baldwin is always superb but the material just wasn’t there either. Kenan Thompson should not be on the show. Period. He is not ALL THAT! Exclamation Point! Probably the most inconsistently funny person on the show. Fred Armisen does an awful Obama> his voice is toooo high! He’s not a Jonas Brother. The best performer every week by a mile is Kristen Wiig. Known as “The Wiigle” in certain circles…she not only can play supporting roles in sketches but can also take the lead AND BE FUNNY BOTH TIMES. Andy Samberg is breathing new life into SNL with his digital shorts which i love. His stuff is young and “of the moment”. I will conclude with the personal prayer that Armisen comes back as Joy Behar from the View. His best ever!

  • ginobilifan

    New writers now! The actors would be fine if they could get new writers. Bye, bye Seth Meyers!

  • Sherine

    The writing was completely not worthy of Alec Baldwin. May be due to the fact that we are spoiled with the material that he gets to work with on 30 Rock. But it felt like they barely used his talents last night. Too much focus on JBros that went no where. Only enjoyed the Wii sketch but mostly because I was amused by the image of Jack and Floyd pseudo-jerking off.

  • MDK

    The first skit was absolutely atrocious. It’s one thing to poke fun at public figures but when we’re in the midst of a financial crisis it just wasn’t something that I find amusing or creatively engaging.

  • leflem

    Ken Tucker, you are a feeb. Last nights show was really good, save for the two recycled videos at the end.

  • Anthony

    I thought that was Abby Elliot as Carol Channing…

  • SNLStinks!!

    Terrible writers. I thought the Jonas Brothers were the most entertaining thing on there sketches and performances…they were cute!

  • OofBad

    Why is Kristen Wiig in EVERYTHING? I think she’s very unappealing. I don’t get her humor at all. CREEPY.

  • OofBad.

    Wait, what? Ain’t no Monkees?! Have you watched them lately?! I LOVE the Monkees…but they were not really “good comic actors”. Pretty weak actually. Just super charming and random. I think the Jonases actually have the advantage, here. Good grief, talk about “in my day” fetishism at its most irrational.

  • chris

    SNL (of late) has really been GREAT at
    skewering whomever. They have done so with great equanimity and elan. But last night’s opening gambit was indeed odd.
    When Reublcans held the seats of power, they were often lambasted for their (many) machinations. Now that they have been diminshed, they still
    remain the foil of SNL’s political skits. As you state, there was much to harpoon, but a fantasy about those evil Republi-tards concocting some tripe/tale about Malia & Sasha was weak & telling.
    That snippet could well serve as EXHIBIT (A) in Bernie Goldberg’s latest
    tome? NBC has devolved into XINHUA
    (an extension/mouthpiece) of the ruling class du jour. Everyone chides FOX for their partisan presentation (and it is). How come nobody rails about the VEER to the LEFT that has become NBC?

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