Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tina Fey hosts best Saturday Night Live of the season

     In a year of mediocrity, Tina Fey (30 Rock) returned to her old stomping ground on NBC's Saturday Night Live last night and proved that the show can still deliver.  With an opening monologue that featured a brief cameo from comic legend Steve Martin, Fey knocked it out of the park from the get-go.  She also was allowed to flex her Weekend Update chops, returning to the desk alongside the man who now has her former job, both as anchor and head writer, Seth Meyers.  Of course, no Fey episode would be complete without the character that brought her back to the show a number of time in the last few years, Sarah Palin.  The Sarah Palin Network, a new station being launched, featured a number of hilarious ideas, including Palin playing a parody of Fey on 30 Main Street, and her husband Todd solving crimes in the big city while riding a snow machine.  It was funny enough, I wish it were real.

     The success can't all be credited to Fey, as talented as she is.  The opening featuring Fred Armisen as Barack Obama going over this year's Census form made me laugh harder than anything in recent memory.  Although the questions were not the same ones featured on the actual census, they played to every right wing eccentric's fears, asking where the firearms are kept and when the residents would not be home.  The SNL version also queried several sexual topics, and asked which members of the household did not support the health care overhaul, so that they would not receive care in the inevitable shortage to come.

     Also of note was Jason Sudeikis's portrayal of The Devil during Update.  It seems even the ruler of hell objects to what priests are doing to young children, and how dare they claim that He had anything to do with it.  Top tier comedy.

     The low point, unfortunately, was the musical guest.  Sudden teen sensation Justin Bieber performed his own numbers decently, but stunk up a couple of sketches.  Particularly, the one where he had a number of lines as a student that a teacher, played by Fey, was in love with.  Bieber was required to sing several parodies of his own music, which he performed not very well, and with no emotion.  He also was incredibly lame on the dialogue.  It begs to question, is his voice polished by computer and every live performance is lip synched?  Or does he just practice certain things many, many time until he finally gets them right, and did not have time to do it for SNL?  Either way, tween fans would probably object strenuously, but Bieber stunk.

     Fey will soon return as part of a 'Women of Comedy' episode on Mother's Day Weekend with Betty White and other SNL alum.  Saturday Night Live airs Saturday nights at 11:30pm on NBC.

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