'Saturday Night Live' recap with host Gabourey Sidibe: Funny, not precious

Gabourey Sidibe commenced her Saturday Night Live hosting job with a musical number about how she’s not the character she played in Precious, set to the tune of “The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s In His Kiss).” It was cute, if not particularly funny, but things improved from there.

An early amusement was Sidibe as Mrs. Johnson, a cranky elderly woman yelling out her apartment window at two guys (Kenan Thompson and Fred Armisen) sitting on her stoop. It gradually became clear that Mrs. Johnson wasn’t a crank, but more of a savant — a genius, perhaps. The premise was refreshingly free of the reflexive ridicule such a character would usually provoke.

Going for what must be a fraction of its viewership, SNL parodied Steve Harvey’s recent guest hosting of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. The one joke? Harvey (Kenan Thompson) mispronounces all the clues. Ha.

Andy Samberg’s Digital Short was “Cherry Battle”: Samberg and Sidibe blowing cherries into each other’s mouths, filmed in slow motion. It was funny, a little hypnotic, and kind of beautiful.

“Weekend Update” was stronger than it’s been in a while, with Seth Meyers coming up with a good Nadya Suleman joke and a good Pope joke. Bill Hader put in a fine appearance as “city correspondent” Stefon, a fey eccentric offering weird/lewd/absurd tips for tourist activities. Midway through, Hader cracked himself up, but so what?  His performance and his material were so funny, breaking character didn’t dissolve into self-congratulation — if anything, it seemed to make the studio audience enjoy him all the more.

Musical guest MGMT? Clever, peppy, light-hearted, and dexterous.

The show almost came crashing to a halt during the final half-hour with an endlessly tedious “2010 Public Employee of the Year Awards” show, and another sketch with Jenny Slate as Tina Tina Shanooz, selling “Alarm Clocks and More.” I said almost… because the final sketch of the night was one of those oddball winners. It was a “New York Times Conversation With Gabourey Sidibe,” featuring Will Forte’s creepy lothario Hamilton (blond shag wig, growled murmuring) as Sidibe’s former boyfriend, trying to win her heart once again. Haven’t we all been to public events at which people as peculiar as Hamilton have commandeered the microphone?

In general, this was one of SNL‘s better weeks: Less reliance on too-familiar recurring characters, some notably adventurous writing (the sheer volume of intricate verbiage was impressive — I’ll bet if you looked at a transcript, there were more words spoken this week than any edition this season), and more emphasis on trying out new things, such as SNL writer and comedian John Mulaney’s rumination on the Girl Scout cookie-sale business model.

Agree? Disagree? What did you think were the high and low points this week?

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Comments (405 total) Add your comment
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  • Chris

    Sorry, this was one of the worst of the year. the only real laughs came from weekend update. GS kept flubbing her lines and her carribean accent in the first sketch was atrocious. Nope, not a good episode.

    • Chris

      oh man!!! i was first!! why didnt i just post “first” omg lol rofl wtf ftw!!!!!!

      • Chris

        Man I’m a douche

      • Joe

        dude you are a loser… Anyways, SNL was horrible last night. The opening act? Claiming she ditched college because she’s famous now? Sounds a bit cocky/conceded considering the fact she got LUCKY with role and she ain’t rich, she probably only got a few hundred grand off the movie seeing how it was her first. She can’t act, choked on her lines over and over on SNL, her skits in SNL weren’t very convincing, IMO she isn’t a talented actress and last night proved it. The cherry battle was cool though!

      • Joe

        By the way, I’m a total prick.

      • Chris

        not sure if anyone could tell, but that second post was sarcasm.

      • Jeff

        I think it’s safe to say she is the biggest thing on TV.

      • GiveMeSomeLovin

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      • Cassia

        Fake spam FTW.

    • Mel

      I gotta agree…I was really looking forward to this episode too. She’s really likable, but couldn’t quite pull it off. There’s always a silver lining though – the commercial for Betty White was awesome!

    • Eugene

      I agree completely, she flubbed her lines, had bad accents, and couldn’t even get through the monologue without looking like she was gonna pass out. I’m not one to tell people how to live their life, but Gaby seriously needs to lose some weight. She is a great actress but isn’t going to get any parts because of the weight issues. As far as a high point, for me I really liked the “new Alarm Clock” sketch. Maybe it’s just because I’m a big fan of Jenny Slate (Next Kristen Wiig anyone) but that Tina Tina cracks me up. Especially the “Oh My God!” part. This episode sucked and I can’t wait for Betty. Hopefully she’ll get a few laughs.

      • Ron

        Um, she already has another job on a Showtime series with Laura Linney…

      • Margo

        The alarm clock sketch was tired. She’s done that same sketch many times, just changing the product.

    • Billy

      WHAT!!?? This episode SUCKED!!! She definitely flubbed more than enough lines and clearly showed comedy and live performances are not her strong suits. If it wasnt for some ok sketches and the music of MGMT, she would have been exposed more of how horrible she truly was. Shame she wont be around long since Hollywood shuns most Fat actors, regardless of how talented they are

    • Lauren

      Sorry Ken, usually I agree with you but I think you’re way off base here. Gabourey was a TERRIBLE host. She may be charming in interviews, but if she flubbed another line, looked at the camera, started the line over, and giggled again I was going to throw something at my television.

      • Tookie

        Lauren, couldn’t agree more. It was painful to watch Gabby, although I did enjoy Mrs. Johnson (or at least what I could make out; needed subtitles).

    • Jeff

      I wonder when she is going to explode?

      • Hosuewife in the Desert

        Jeff, how’s things up on your Perch of Perfection, you judgmental jerk? Making fun of people because of how they look should stop in grade school, moron…go look in the mirror, Shallow Hal, and see REAL imperfection…

      • Jeff

        I bet she sweats alot!

        Speaking of mirrors, I bet she does not have one in her house.

      • James

        When you have to use a mirror, do you have your own, Jeff, or do you have to go upstairs and use your mom’s?

      • Jeff

        How you like being gay James?

        Oh, you have something on your lips!

      • Mike

        Soon Jeff. She is an unhealthy fatso.

    • etm

      Ken, WTF are you talking about? This episode sucked. I did like the Mrs. Johnson sketch, though. Tina Fey’s episode was the best in weeks – not this one.

      • Ronnie D.

        Tina Fey one sucked; the brownie man was so unfunny. From the few sketches I see here, this one looks like it was one of the funnier ones. Anyway, the Sigourney Weaver episode was by far the least funny SNL I’ve ever seen, and she was a terrible, terrible host.

    • D

      The short film with the cherries was DISGUSTING!!! YUCK! And that musical group was HORRIBLE. I could barely hear the vocals because the guitars were so over the top. And what little I did hear was off key! And the “I’m Kidding” bit is old and not funny. I’m NOT kidding!

      • Jeff

        D – Since you are referring to MGMT (who are pretty famous not to mention critical darlings) as “that musical group,” clearly you aren’t the demographic they were worrying about. ;-)

      • bill hater

        the problem is, mgmt could take a dump on a plate and the demographic they ARE worrying about would eat it up (along with those darling critics) and beg for a second helping. kind of like ken tucker and this snl episode.

    • TheObserver

      Sidibe is from New York. She was born and raised in New York. Her Mother is American and her Father is from Senegal…she does not have a ‘Carribean’ accent, she has a New York accent.

      • Tookie

        She was putting on a Carribean accent.

    • Moops

      I don’t know what you guys were watching, but this week was definitely better than SNL has been in a WHILE… The Cherry Battle was AMAZING, SNL Digital Shorts deserve more play. But Gabby did a great job in her sketches… You guys are being too hard on her. MGMT was awesome as well, especially during their second song, “Brian Eno”.

    • tbaby

      I’ve got to agree with you, Chris. Sidibe WAS NOT FUNNY. The whole show – with the exception of Weekend Update – was HORRIBLE.

    • Ken

      Ken Tucker, PLEASE give up the SNL recaps. You are so off-base in your critiques that they are no longer plausible. Perhaps you are influenced by Sidibe’s performance in Precious that you saw quality in this week’s SNL that simply wasn’t there. Opener – weak. Digital Short – one of the worst I’ve ever seen. I can’t think of a single laugh-out-loud sketch, though the final sketch was adventurous and interesting. Weekend Update was the ONLY bright spot. So if you discount the final half-hour (which you did) and you remove Weeked Update, which is always good, how was the preceding 45 minutes of garbage “one of SNL’s better weeks”?

      • Gabii

        When you do my wedding, it bteetr be this beautiful!!! I LOVE how you capture the images and make the person look beautiful and NATURAL!!!

  • Fan

    Sidibe was very watchable and funny. I also liked the writer who came on and did the bit about Girl Scout cookies.

    • Jim

      That’s John Mulaney. He used to do “Best Week Ever” and recently had a stand up special on Comedy Central. The stand up was hilarious, definitely try to check it out.

      • Vee

        John should know that they sell mint thin ice cream all year around. It’s to die for.

      • Joe

        Caught his stand-up on Comedy Central one night and you’re right, it was hilarious. In fact most of it was significantly better than the Girl Scout monologue.

      • beelkay

        I want a little John Mulaney for my very own! How cute is he?

      • Ronald

        I want you to take some photos of our agdren. There won’t be any wedding but we could always throw out a party lol

    • LOL

      This episode was very hit and miss (like many others). Gabby did mess up some of her lines, but she tried and seemed to enjoy herself. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t as bad as the complainers on this board would have you believe.

  • James

    Wow, you found it a lot more enjoyable than I did for sure. I hate being one of those annoying disagreeing commenters that seems to hate whatever the writer has jsut reviewed, but last night’s show was almost all awful. The Betty White preview lasted 15 seconds and was far funnier than anything that aired during the show.

    • Rich

      Gabby seems like a great person… but she’s NOT a live performer. One of the worst shows of the year. Flubbed lines, very little humor… AND we got MGMT playing songs from their “Sophomore Slump” record. Nothing redeeming, sadly.

      • Brian

        Hardly a sophomore slump.

      • Rich

        They had some great pop songs on the first record. Nothing close on this one. And I know they’re trying to do the “weird left field art” thing now, and kudos to them. But they won’t see the same kind of numbers anymore.

        SNL booked them off the success of the first album, and wound up getting the weirdness of this one.

    • iheartpoco

      I agree! I actually usually like SNL, and I was thinking, ‘OOOO, Ken’s gonna be hating all over this one, and for once I’ll agree!’ What gives? This is probably the only episode all year where I didn’t even laugh once (not counting Weekend Update). GS has a pleasant persona, but she is NOT engaging to watch in comedy. Really disappointed.

      • Yes

        I thought she was just too nervous. The sketch about her being the know it all lady who yells was good though because it did play a different way than you would expect.
        But hey, she was still better than January Jones!

      • Frank Anderson

        Ken is always prone to wanting to love SNL. I can’t say I blame him since it is one of my faves when it is on point, but this episode and most of this season are just not good.

        There were a few bright moments, but they were just slightly OK still.

        I hated Weekend Update other than the Girl Scout Cookie part, and thought Wiigs overplayed “Just kidding” spewing, rapid speech character was just the same old crap this horribly unfunny lady does for every character.

        Gab tried hard, but flubbed her lines a good bit. It was nerves, but her panic was a bit uncomfortable to watch.

        I really liked Cherry Battle and Mrs. Johnson, though.

        I think Ken must have been way into his peppermint schnapps to this this episode was strong, though.

      • Frank Anderson

        PS- The clock lady sketch needs to die. It is not funny. Not funny at all.

      • Livan

        Totally agree with you. The clock lady sketch is atrocious. I cannot it’s garnered more than one appearance.

      • jan

        thought gab and show was fun and loopy.

  • Aileen

    John Mulaney was hands-down the funniest point of the night. Loved him.

    • Hrfe

      Can he be a cast member?

      • whatevs

        I think to be a real cast member, there’s a rule that you’re not allowed to be funny.

    • ger

      Yeah, Girl Scout Cookies are only sold once a year is cutting edge humour. At least he didn’t break into “what’s the deal with airplane food”.

      • Chaz Winterbottom

        Airplane food? You have to be high to eat it!

      • Jaded1

        ger, exactly what I thought. And everyone knows Girl Scout cookies are only sold in February…so unfunny, and untimely!

    • Dana

      I agree he was great! Kristen Wigg, not so much. I find her irritating most of the time

  • Casey

    I really enjoyed Sidibe’s enthusiasm, she seemed very game. I loved the old lady on the stoop sketch and the digital short and Update was funny too. Good episode I say.

    • Hiro

      Ken Tucker is on crack. Precious could barely read her lines and she cannot do comedy. It was PAINFUL!

      • mel

        Her monologue was written especially for you Hiro.

    • MB

      I thought she was great!

      • Miss Talk

        I thought too but GS haters won’t let it go.

      • Jam

        hold the phone…I’m an easy grader- but even I have to admit – this was not too funny..kind of amateurish if you ask me for someone who was just nominated for Best Actess ..could have done much better — besides this was her chance to breakout and show she can do other roles and characters and she blew it wow she really blew it…I think Monique would have been funnier ..and if you are going to flub your lines ..be a pro and make the scene funny..nervously giggling to oneself is not funny ..its painful for the audience ..think Ken is trying to soft soap us with low expectations for when he hosts SNL..

    • Margo

      I agree Casey. The best episodes are when the host is game for anything. It was a good episode, but did have some weak parts – the alarm clock lady, the public employees sketch, and the Obama cold opening were bad.

  • scott

    I thought it was a terrible show. Posters were saying how Tucker would praise Sidibe no matter what she did and sure enough he did just that. She was constantly fumbling her lines. And the sketches she was in just weren’t very funny. She is a one hit wonder with Precious (which i thought was great) but the girl has no future in acting.

    • pop

      i agree with scott. tucker would praise her no matter what. the writing wasn’t great and she was definitely not great. best part of the show was stefon.

    • Margo

      Scott, Gabby has a new series on Showtime.

      • bran

        @ margo, you do know that tv series get cancelled after their first 6 or 7 showings are not successful right? so let us wait and see.

      • Terrah

        Ho ho, who woudla thunk it, right?

  • WhatUpWithThat?

    It really was an average show…..no laughs at the SNL staff. The only laugh came from the Brenden Fraser clap thrown in the Lazy Government worker skitch.
    They obviously were trying to make her jovial, light and funny…but there is nothing funny about an obese woman out of breath after dancing/singing for a few moments during the monologue. It was also horrible that she said “suck it college” after thinking that being famous means, dropping out. Sadder yet, we are encouraging bad behavior….obesity does not happen overnight.

    • Levente

      Well, I don’t want to seem like i’m just hating on the girl, but after the opening monologue, I thought, “Wow. She’s sweating a lot already and can barely say her lines. She has no endurance.” She doesn’t need to be stick thin, but she does need to get healthy.

      • Housewife in the Desert

        IF she was John Belushi or Horatio Sanz, it would be OK? Tracey Morgan, even Keenan…not tiny men…but, its OK for men to be large and on TV? Hypocrite…

      • Terry

        Belushi is dead and I’ve heard that Sanz has lost weight. So… next defensez?

      • WhatUpWithThat?

        John Belushi=dead, John Candy =dead, Chris Farley=dead, Horatio Sanz =lost 70 lbs…..what were you saying? obesity kills.

      • CleverShrew

        Umm to WhatUpWithThat:
        John Belushi = drugs, John Candy = Drugs, Chris Farley = drugs, horatio sands = no drugs.
        I think the Coke had more to do with the death than the cheeseburger.

    • Cole

      Wow, really? You are commenting on her weight issues? What is the matter with you? She clearly doesnt seem it as obstacle to overcome and if you look at the Oscar pictures she has clearly watched her weight and you can be big and healthy.

      • Mark

        Cole are you ok? you can not be “big” (a euphemism for OBESE) and healthy at the same time. And just because she doesn’t see it as an obstacle doesn’t mean it’s a major issue in her life…it’s her own ignorance if she doesn’t see it as an issue and society shouldn’t be condoning it.

      • Anon

        HER ARMS ARE LIKE BELUGA WHALES

      • katatak

        Wow. What haters people can be. I don’t think she was out of breath, and, as for the sweat, MANY performers sweat onstage (see Whitney Houston or even some preachers). You know, let’s not judge someone’s performance on their body size – because you know, as well as I do, that many female SNL hosts have been scarily underweight.

      • Mike

        All the hate in these comments is disturbing. And yeah calling someone out for sweating right after performing a musical number live just shows a complete ignorance of show business. You have *no* *idea* how hot those lights are.

      • Antwuan E,

        As for the sweating, watch Jason Sudeikis (and this is no criticism of him) following his non-stop dancing during the “What Up With That?” sketches. SNL once put him in another sketch immediately following one of these skits and he was absolutely soaked! There is definitely an undercurrent of weight discrimination and bigotry in these comments.

      • Porkula

        Her triceps were like the KFC “Double Down” sandwich.

    • tony

      All the people who think you can be fat and healthy are out of their minds!!! I mean you can be a little overweight and considered relatively healthy,but as big as Precious??!! All this enabling is definitely going to create a trainwreck of her very soon, if she doesnt do something!! Hollywood doesnt like FAT! Its not an ignorant comment, its the TRUTH!! There’s very few exceptions, find the statistics and see for yourself!

      • Antwuan E,

        Wow, Tony. Your medical expertise is absolutely riveting. Please send me a PM so that I may learn more from your fascinating, enlightening, devastatingly accurate wisdom. But before you get around to that, post another one of your vids to YouTube accidentally kicking yourself in the n**ts while practicing nunchucks. Those are my faves.

      • Lele

        Stay informtavie, San Diego, yeah boy!

    • Tajah

      I love how you are spewing prejudice and nastiness in the name of caring about the health of others.

      • Taufik

        You are commenting using your Facebook aocnuct. ( ) Connecting to %s Notify me of follow-up comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email.jQuery( function( $ ) {$( ‘#hiab-script-1′ ).parents( ‘form’ ).append( ” );} ); My poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Best New Poets 2011, Gettysburg Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Indiana Review, The Journal,

  • Levente

    Agreed, Chris. Ken said this SNL was wordy (implying a good thing), but its wordy-ness threw the host off multiple times and she had a hard time delivering the lines. I almost expect the reviews to be great because people want to love Gab. (she does have a great attitude), but she fell flat to me.

  • Jeffrey Katzenberg

    I’m very pleased they let Shrek host this thing. Should be good 4 business…

    • RJ

      THIS!!! LMMFAO. ;)

    • bringbackrocky

      You’re an idiot.

    • anna

      you’re not funny

    • Jordan

      Took me a sec to get that. Awesome, LOL!!!

      • Jordan

        Oops, I meant the name thing (Jeff K), not the Shrek thing! Heh.

    • Cole

      Wow, you are an a$$h0le

    • Leshawna

      LOL “Jeffrey Katzenberg”. You just made my day!!! HAHAHA

  • Molly

    As much as I would love to support Gabbey, she was just unfunny. I was thoroughly disappointed. Some of the skits made me cringe.

  • deedee

    she was awful, writing was awful

    • Sara

      I agree. Last night I thought, “Wow. SNL is the most unfunny show on TV right now.” It was horrible. How can Lorne not SEE it!?
      Although yes, Weekend Update was better than usual.

      • Rufus X

        I’m a very old SNL viewer who has seen almost every show since its debut in 1975. At age 54 think I know when this show hits its mark (read: is actually funny) and when it doesn’t. What did I love about Saturday’s show? The opening musical number. The lyrics were actually smart and Gabby looked like she was having a blast. What didn’t I like? The fact that despite becoming an instant “actress” she was ill-prepared for a live TV broadcast. And note I didn’t join the mean-spirited group who want to throw her physical appearance into the mix. She and the show just weren’t that funny.

  • Michael S

    Hands down the WORST episode of the season. Why did they use her? It just proves the point that just because u have a bubbly personality doesn’t mean u can act. Geez.

    • J

      Yeah, because being nominated for an Academy Award definitely means you can’t act.

      • PsychicSecretary

        If you look at the history of Academy Awards, you’ll see that most of the time, great acting is not what is being rewarded. And lots of great actors and directors never got an award. “Precious” affected a lot of people very deeply, and that’s what Sidibe’s nomination was all about. I don’t have a problem with that. But she is not a great actress.

  • SF

    The Girl Scout cookie rant was hysterical.

    • cooki

      It really wasn’t.

  • Lisa

    I had to fast forward through most of it – it was THAT bad. (I didn’t even do that with January Jones.) They couldn’t get Jane Lynch or Leah Michelle or anyone else from Glee? There’s only like one more episode left this season. What a waste!

    • April

      No…that January Jones episode was horrific.

      • Will

        that was the worst by far

      • Margo

        Yeah, JJ was the worst episode this year. Truly awful!

      • Hannah

        The worst episode was Ryan Phillipe.

    • IdiotsWalkAmongstUs

      Believe it or not Lisa, the entire country is not obsessed with Glee (despite what your eighth grade homeroom tells you).

    • Laura

      WHOOOOA January Jones was way worse! As was Charles Barkley. I thought Gabourey was great!

  • RJ

    UGH. Gabor-however u spell her name was one the THE WORST HOSTS I have ever seen on the show. Overweight or not, she was TERRIBLE!!! What a disaster…

    • mel

      Honestly, what does her weight have to do with anything?

      • Leshawna

        Absolutely nothing. She’s just a horrible actress. What’s with the “my first SNL” thing? They’re never gonna have her back. She needs to get a clue.

      • whatevs

        RJ made that comment because obviously a bunch of people are going to say that he’s a hater and that he’s only saying that because she’s fat.

      • Joe

        Sadly, everything… We watch TV to be entertained, and when a girl is hosting something I (personally) would rather watch someone physically attractive than a morbidly obese girl. Gabby was great in precious, but her size fit the character requirements. She’s not a good hostess to watch. You can’t tell me you didn’t catch yourself at least once staring at her arms and how deformed they appeared (especially in some skits)?! It’s just sad how everyone is accepting this as “normal”…

      • sv

        what does her weight have to do with it? it is a SHOW, where you WATCH it. it’s supposed to be pleasant and funny. January Jones, while equally horrible – was much easier on the eyes, and there was little risk she would have a heart attack while they are doing a live show.

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