So, it’s been awhile since I did one of these, but I thought I’d switch it up a bit and do a special instead of an awards show. Overall, I enjoyed the SNL 40th Anniversary Show, but, you know, I calls ‘em as I sees ‘em. Thanks for reading and enjoy!

8:00pm – Fallon and Timberlake kick things off with a musical montage in which they name check a few dozen skits from the show’s history. It’s mostly ‘aight. Fun, high energy…y’know. Both of these guys are super talented, but the hammy shenanigans of their frequent collaborations are wearing a little thin on THIS podcaster. Still, it’s a decent enough way to begin. You can’t say they’re not working hard up there.

saturday_night_live_40_fallon_x_timberlake_open_t

You might say they’re working VERY hard… I’ll show myself out.

8:05pm – The credits sequence just keeps going! Holy shit…that was 50 or 60 names! How are they going to fit all of this into 2 hours? OhlordJesus, I just checked my DVR and I see that it’s going to be a 3 1/2 hour show! Dayum. 5 minutes in and I’m already starting to regret my decision to do this.

8:07pm – Steve Martin with the opening monologue. This is pretty sharp. I feel like I haven’t seen him do anything particularly funny in the last decade or so — unless you call jettisoning a legendary comedy career for a turn as some kind of banjo evangelist funny — but he still has impeccable comedic timing. He does a few minutes on the legacy of the show and its many current and former cast members before being joined on stage by the likes of Billy Crystal, Alec Baldwin, Chris Rock, Paul McCartney, and Paul Simon. Alec is catching flack from the assembled group for his many “media skirmishes”, but he’s taking it in stride. That guy is bulletproof. Seriously.

steve martin et al

8:20pm – Dan Aykroyd is re-doing the classic Bass-O-Matic bit. It’s literally the same sketch just with a few extra lines thrown in to make it feel slightly more modern. I wonder if they’re going to give the remake treatment to other classic sketches. He’s looking his age, but he seems to be in good health and he can still play the slimy, fast-talking salesman like no one else. Also, after all these years, it’s still funny to watch someone throw a bass in a blender.

Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special - Season 2015

8:29pm – A new Will Ferrell Jeopardy sketch! Nice! Darrell Hammond is there as Sean Connery, of course. Kate McKinnon is Bieber. Alec Baldwin is doing Tony Bennett… oh shit, TURD FERGUSON! Love Norm MacDonald! Jim Carrey shows up as McConaughey…Taran Killam doing his fantastic Christoph Waltz. As always, the play between Ferrell and Hammond is the star of the show. Other highlights included a video Daily Double featuring Kenan Thompson as Bill Cosby (“It was filmed last SPRING!”) and Hammond’s Connery misreading categories called “Who Reads?” (“Whore Ads”) and Let It Snow (“Le Tits Now”).

snl 40 jeopardy

8:35pm – SNL audition montage. This is interesting. I’ll tell you what though, even cooler than seeing current and former cast members nervously doing their best impressions and A material is watching the super famous people who DIDN’T ever make the cast. Kevin Hart, Jim Carrey, Zach Galifanakis…wish they’d showed a few more of those.

8:40pm – De Niro turns up to intro a New York themed clip montage. He’s doing his patented “look-uncomfortable-while-flubbing-every-joke-on-live-TV” bit. Classic De Niro. The montage turns out to be kind of stirring. Then again, the concept of New York doesn’t bother me nearly as much as it does Geej.

8:50pm – McCartney kicks off the show’s first full musical performance. I dig Sir Paul, but his choice of “Maybe I’m Amazed” is maybe a little dull for the occasion. Also, I don’t want to anger the fanatics, but his voice is getting a little weak. I don’t know what people are paying to see him these days, but I’ll just say that his best days as a performer are probably behind him. Wait…is that Gary Busey on bass?

Brian_Ray_in_Dublin_2010_(a)

9:00pm – Political humor montage. Will Ferrell was good as George W., and Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin is classic. Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton? Not so much. She had the look, but…

9:06pm – A new “Californians” sketch. Wait…is that Lorraine Newman? It is! Cool. Always dug you, sister. This sketch is one of my latter-day faves, though I daresay that this installment is running on a bit long. Then again, there’s time to fill. We still have 2 ½ hours to go! Oh, there’s Taylor Swift looking cute and OH MY…BETTY WHITE IS MAKING OUT WITH BRADLEY COOPER! They’re really going at it! No tongue, but still… Heck, I wouldn’t mind making out with Betty just for the experience. And who knows? Maybe I could somehow siphon off some of her life energy and use it to live another 20-25 years.

bradley-cooper-betty-white-article

9:20pm – Ah, they’re doing a Weekend Update. It’s Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Jane “ignorant slut” Curtain at the desk. Good to see Jane, but I wouldn’t mind seeing a little Norm Macdonald, Colin Quinn, and Dennis Miller while we’re at it. Ooooh, Emma Stone shows up doing Gilda Radner’s Rosanne Rosannadanna…oh mercy, this feels weird. I never thought that Roseanne was Gilda’s best character, and Stone is not really nailing it. Oh good, it’s over. Glad they made it quick. Ed Norton shows up and does his very funny version of Stephan. Bill Hader wheels in and advises him by saying, “You don’t cover your face, you make a teepee for your secrets!” Melissa McCarthy rounds things out with a fantastic Matt Foley. She’s really nailing it. The shouting, the physicality…great stuff. A cameo by Land Shark brings us into a Weekend Update montage. Truth be told, this segment has always been my favorite part of the show. It’s the original fake news and it doesn’t have any of the self-importance of The Daily Show.

SNL 40th Anniversary Special - 2015

9:30pm – Here’s Chevy. This should be…interesting. He delivers a fairly straightforward “thank-you-for-loving-me-for-all-these-years” kind of speech, but hey, they brought Garrett Morris back to do his “hearing impared” bit for it, so that’s cool.

9:38pm – Martin Short is out to do an intro. Damn, he’s still great. He makes a killer joke about how he’s only hosted once…the same amount of times as Robert Blake. Maya Rudolph joins as Beyonce. I have a crush on Maya Rudolph, no joke, but her Bey only sorta works. Ah, it’s kind of a musical montage. Kristin Wiig and Fred Armisen do their made-up song titles thing (meh), Will Ferrell and Ana Gasteyer do their Marty and Bobbi Culp bit (always solid), Dana Carvey does the chopping broccoli song (can’t believe the legs on that joke), Sandler does Operaman (always liked that character). Oh my, Steve Martin is doing the King Tut song. Never thought that this one was as classic as everyone else seemed to think it was, but hey, at least they kept it short. Maya slips in a good line while referencing Steve Martin’s stage prop, “I have that same sarcophagus at home.” Oh, here we go… Bill Murray is doing his lounge singer schtick and singing a love song to JAWS. Damn, this bit is still gold! The Blues Brothers with Aykroyd and Jim Belushi round it out. Those boys ‘aint moving like they used to.

Bill-Murray-SNL-jpg

9:45pm – Scratch that, turns out that the real capper is the long lost Joe Piscopo. He’s aged well into his Sinatra impersonation.

9:58pm- Chris Rock is out to introduce Eddie Murphy. Can this be good? Hmmm…. I mean, look, I still like Eddie even though we all agree he’s fallen off, but even then I wonder if the show might be a little over enthusiastic in their praise of him. Yes, he was a big part of the show during its early-80’s slump, but methinks Chris Rock doth inflate too much. Eddie turns in a good natured little speech that’s more warm and fuzzy than outright funny. I can’t help but notice that Rock’s intro was about 3 times as long as Eddie’s speech. Still, it’s a classy moment.

10:05pm – Athlete montage. Cute. “The jocks always stink at acting, but we like it when they have a sense of humor about themselves”, says Captain Obvious.

10:15pm – Miley Cyrus is the next musical performance. She’s doing a rather nice version of Paul Simon’s “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover”… Um, so where was Paul Simon? We saw him earlier. He’s IN THE BUILDING!

10:25pm – Seinfeld is out now. He drops a good line about not believing the rumors that Brian Williams was an original cast member. 2 ½ hours in and it’s one of the only topical jokes we’ve heard, which is probably a good thing. This is about SNL after all. Next, Jerry engages in a Q&A with several of the celebs in the audience. Michael Douglas pops up looking like he’s been taped together. Larry David shares a nice moment with his old friend. There’s the real Sarah Palin. Did she leave the tag on the bracelet she’s wearing? Guuurrrll…

LarryDavidSNL

Larry David and Michael Douglas

10:35pm – A little Tracy Morgan “get well” tribute. Nice, but a little weird. Sorta feels like the show thinks he’s not going to recover.

kanye

10:42pm – The “true artist” Kanye West takes the stage. Spends the first half on his back, rapping from the floor. Look, I don’t hate the guy..no wait, that’s not true, I do kind of hate Kanye. His music just does nothing for me. I mean, some of his beats are okay, but what a blowhard douche. That said, I don’t find him as difficult to ignore as many of his more vocal haters must. The singer Sia joins him. Her current marketing strategy seems to involve some kind of I’m-hiding-my-face-because-I-don’t-want-to-be-famous thing, which is lame. I mean, if you want to do that, do it from the beginning of your career, not after people have seen what you look like dozens of times. Or hey, even better, you want to avoid unwanted attention? Stop dressing like you raided Björk’s collection of costume cast-offs. You’ve got a better voice than her so why ape her look?

kanye2-

10:50pm – Louis CK intros the short film montage, but not before shutting down an overzealous fan with an enthusiastic “SHUT UP!” He’s funny. He mentions that the pre-taped shorts are some people’s favorite part of the show. I think they might be my second favorite after Weekend Update.

10:57pm – Andy Samberg and Adam Sandler do a new digital short about breaking character and laughing. Not Samberg’s sharpest, but it mostly works. Sandler really is holding it together with his boyish looks.

11:04pm – Bill Murray is back to cue up the in memoriam section. He plays it straight. It’s all feeling a little somber until they cap it with a still of John Lovitz (implying that he’s dead, duh) before cutting to him in the audience looking bewildered.

jon-lovitz-snl-40-memoriam-reaction

11:12pm – Wayne’s World top 10. This bit is dated. I still have good memories of Myers and Carvey, but it’s striking to me how lousy this bit has aged. They take a moment to roast Lorne Michaels, which is fun, but they spend a little too much time calling out Kanye. Look people, I think we’re sending the wrong message to old Yezus over here. Remember when we universally agreed that his “storming the stage” antics were shitty? I seem to remember the President calling him a “jackass” over it. All I’m saying is that if we don’t stick to our guns, we’re going to make “Kanye storming the stage” more of a thing than it already is, and I’m not sure that I want to live in that world.

waynes world

11:22pm – Here’s Paul Simon to pop a cap in this special’s ass. Watch, he’s gonna do a Miley song now. Oh shit, G.E. Smith is there. Remember that guy? He still looks like a douche. Guys who twist their faces up too much while playing guitar just kind of bother me. Paul is doing “Still Crazy After All These Years”. I don’t think this is a Miley song. Google says it’s not. Hmmm. Oh wait, it’s a Paul Simon song. That actually makes sense.

ustv-snl-40-paul-simon