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Saturday Night Live Gets It Right | Honoring the Lives Lost at Sandy Hook Elementary School

Categories: Comedy Shows,Latest News
Posted: December 17, 2012
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Comedy can help us get through the worst of times and heal. Friday afternoon’s school shooting in Newtown, CT has left our whole country and the world reeling with the news of such innocent lives lost and the heroism of many teachers. It’s hard to know exactly how to respond to such a tragic event, but kudos to Saturday Night Live for its sensitive and moving tribute to the 27 victims. The New York City Children’s Chorus opened the show with a tender, somber rendition of “Silent Night” (you may see it below) and then returned later in the show to perform with musical guest Paul McCartney. What a perfect way to honor the lost lives and offer a chance for healing.
 

 
Thinking of everyone in Connecticut and wishing for peace.



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Comedian Rates Eli Manning on Saturday Night Live

Categories: Comedy Shows
Posted: May 7, 2012
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May 5th was a robust day in New York City. Many New Yorkers found ways to celebrate The Kentucky Derby, Cinco de Mayo and New York Giants’ two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Eli Manning hosting Saturday Night Live. Known for his quiet, reserved Southern charm, Manning, at first blush, doesn’t seem like the idea captain for the long-running late night comedy show. While he didn’t crack my top five all-time SNL hosts, he did receive some favorable feedback.
 
Eli Manning on Saturday Night Live
 
The reviews are in, and most critics give Eli a very good passing grade. The New York Times football blog, The Fifth Down, gave him props for giving it his all. Dan Good of the New York Post praised him for “a clean showing, solid highlights, no major fumbles.” Entertainment Weekly PopWatch Mark Snetiker raved that “the man [Eli] showed he had courage.”
 
Eli is known for his late game heroics — fourth down touchdowns and improbably leading the Giants to victory. It’s happened in both Super Bowls and throughout the 2011 – 2012 season. His SNL appearance was exactly the opposite. He started out stronger – with the monologue ranking the hosting gig as the third best night of his life and a commercial about little brothers.
 
Once he veered into the Scandinavian spoof of Chelsea Lately – ‘Helga Lately’ – the show had turned into a one-note joke. Eli gave it a game try, but asking a man known for his physical, not verbal, prowess to play along and speak ‘gibberish-sounding’ Swedish in his Southern drawl is perhaps asking too much. And for what effect? The skit just didn’t have anything funny to say. Yes, Chelsea Handler, star of Chelsea Lately, loves vodka and is very open about her sex life, particularly in her books. But, there’s not more much to work with other than Fred Armisen playing the Swedish version of Chuy, Chelsea’s small assistant.
 
And, there’s one thing I can live without seeing again: Eli in drag (see why below). Not a pretty sight, and the skit fell flat. While his cue card reading skills are not top notch and occasionally he seemed nervous, Eli, like any self respecting Giants fan would expect, gave it the old college try, and poured his heart into the episode. Unfortunately, it seems like the writers of Saturday Night Live didn’t know quite what to do with him.
 
Eli Manning in drag on Saturday Night Live



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The Top Five Saturday Night Live Hosts

Categories: Comedy Shows
Posted: April 30, 2012
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Last week, I wrote about the top late night talk and variety comedy shows filmed in New York. It’s no surprise that Saturday Night Live, now celebrating its 37th season, sat atop my list. The long-running show has launched many comedy careers (hello Chevy Chase, Mike Myers, Adam Sandler, and the list goes on and on) and at various points in its nearly four-decade history, the show has created many water cooler moments.
 
Today, I take a look at the best SNL hosts of all-time. Now, it’s universally acknowledged that Steve Martin, who has fronted the show 15 times, was instrumental in the early days of the show. His outrageous characters helped to set the standard for hosts for years to come. So, I’m leaving him off this list and ranking five other people who have left an indelible mark on the show.
 
5. Christopher Walken — The Continental sketch has proved so popular that he’s performed it on more than one episode. Possibly one of the most off-kilter hosts, Walken is known for his off-center line delivery, which he attributes to being a dancer. His musical warble of a voice comes from the fact that he talks like a hoofer. And, this works perfectly for a show like SNL.
 
The Continental sketch
 

4. Justin Timberlake
— What a surprise. The Sexy Back singer is a natural fit for Saturday Night Live. He’s been a host and musical guest. But, few hosts have created as much buzz as Timberlake, particularly in his never-forget-them musical ditties with Andy Samberg. The song’s videos went viral within hours, and everyone knew about Dick in a Box and MotherLover. Here’s the NSFW video for MotherLover, featuring Susan Sarandon and Patricia Clarkson as the moms who need some loving.
 

 
3. Betty White — Who was hotter than this octogenarian (she’s now 90!)
when she hosted the show two years ago? No one. And the ratings proved it — spiking for the first time in 18 months. No surprise since a massive Facebook campaign led to her appearance on the show. There’s a reason White has been on some of the most important comedy TV shows of all time — The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Golden Girls — and that her career has spanned 60 years. She’s hilarious. And, her high octane approach to SNL proved to be a real winner.
 
Betty White on Saturday Night Live
 

2. Alec Baldwin
— Few people are as comfortable at 30 Rock as Alec Baldwin. It’s no wonder that he’s now the all-time host leader with 16 appearances. Equally facile with comedy and drama, Baldwin is particularly attuned at playing boisterous, larger than life characters, and his deadpan delivery sets him apart from his peers. His stunning turns as SNL host led to one of the greatest comic parts — Jack — on the TV show 30 Rock.
 
Alec Baldwin on Saturday Night Live
 
1. John Goodman – Goodman had tried out for the show in the 1980s, but didn’t make the cut as a cast member. That’s great news for American comedy because he rocked it out as the doting dad on Roseanne, which was the no. 1 comedy TV show in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He’s hosted the show 12 times — only behind Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin in appearances. And, there’s a great reason why. He’s hilarious and great at playing diverse characters.
 
John Goodman on Saturday Night Live



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