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Saturday Night Live: Discussion Thread

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1 minute ago, Franko said:

Yup. Just having him there was pretty darn special. I'd say the night's best bits were Mister Robinson's Neighborhood and the Home for the Holidays film.

 

And, of course, there was the moment when Eddie dropped the "s"- bomb.  ;)

 

(That was probably planned, though.)

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Speaking of that, I was racking my brain trying to remember times where Eddie was the straight man in sketches from his first run. It takes a certain skill to let a demonic cake get the best lines/business.

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24 minutes ago, Franko said:

Speaking of that, I was racking my brain trying to remember times where Eddie was the straight man in sketches from his first run. It takes a certain skill to let a demonic cake get the best lines/business.

 

I think that's the difference between the Eddie Murphy of today and the Eddie Murphy of the 1980's.  Back then, he was hungry, for lack of a better word.  But now, he's older, and he's made it, so he's more willing to play straight man and let the other guy (or cake) shine.

 

Ironically, I think Eddie a better job with sketches where he didn't revive old characters.  The ones where he did...I dunno, they felt "off" to me.  (The "Black Jeopardy" sketch w/ Velvet Jones, in particular, should have KILLED but didn't.)  I dunno, maybe those sketches were written by people who weren't all familiar with them?  Or, it could be just one more sign that SNL's writing is in serious need of an overhaul and has been for the better part of the 2000's.

 

Say what you will about Dick Ebersol, but I think he knew better how to produce a SNL w/ Eddie than Lorne Michaels did.  I don't believe Lorne, who'd rather push tired people like that godawful Will Ferrell, will ever "get" someone like Eddie, not even as a guest host.

Edited by Khan

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I should note, this was my first time live-watching the show in six years. (I've seen extracted sketches, though.) The pacing seems so slack, but I don't know if it's a directorial thing or a producer thing. Low-hanging fruit, but I was concerned that the cold open was 10 bloody minutes, or that Update stretched past 12:30.

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1 hour ago, Khan said:

 

I think that's the difference between the Eddie Murphy of today and the Eddie Murphy of the 1980's.  Back then, he was hungry, for lack of a better word.  But now, he's older, and he's made it, so he's more willing to play straight man and let the other guy (or cake) shine.

 

Ironically, I think Eddie a better job with sketches where he didn't revive old characters.  The ones where he did...I dunno, they felt "off" to me.  (The "Black Jeopardy" sketch w/ Velvet Jones, in particular, should have KILLED but didn't.)  I dunno, maybe those sketches were written by people who weren't all familiar with them?  Or, it could be just one more sign that SNL's writing is in serious need of an overhaul and has been for the better part of the 2000's.

 

Say what you will about Dick Ebersol, but I think he knew better how to produce a SNL w/ Eddie than Lorne Michaels did.  I don't believe Lorne, who'd rather push tired people like that godawful Will Ferrell, will ever "get" someone like Eddie, not even as a guest host.

 

Two of his old writers came back with him (beyond SNL they also wrote Coming to America, Boomerang, and his new Dolemite movie).

 

I do think Ebersol was probably better at working with Eddie, but I think there were two problems in that most of the characters were so rooted in their era, and Eddie isn't the same as he was 35 years ago (as no one is). You could see him flubbing and being nervous throughout the night. The Velvet Jones was probably the one which suffered most from flubs - I hope we might get to see the dress rehearsal version, as I always enjoyed Velvet and I thought writing-wise the character was still on point (I laughed when he shamelessly pivoted toward faux-empowerment of women by advising them to become "Instagram hoes"). 

 

Mister Robinson (other than the end) and Buckwheat were alright, but I think his best returning character was Gumby. The showbiz trappings with Gumby could sometimes get on my nerves, so seeing him let loose on Weekend Update, making life hell for the anchors, was just absolutely a blast of fun and energy for me, just as good as the old days. 

 

I do think he was more at home in some of the new characters. He seemed to really let loose with that elf sketch at the end of the show. That reminded me a lot of how he used to be as a cast member. 

 

My favorite part of the episode, aside from Update and maybe the family film, was the goodnights, when you could see how happy he was and how much getting back into live performing had excited and exhausted him. That made the fumbles all the better because it just made for more of a journey. SNL tends to drown in its own history, but this was one night where the history helped them to soar - you have someone who saved the show, who was made into one of the biggest stars of the world by the show, coming back, so many years later, and still commanding the stage. It was a real moment, the type you can never script.

 

He made the show fun again. It was a good way for SNL to end the decade, and for their sake I hope they can keep some of the spark he left behind. 

 

(tonight was also one of the nights where I wondered why Maya Rudolph has never become a bigger star)

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1 hour ago, Franko said:

I should note, this was my first time live-watching the show in six years. (I've seen extracted sketches, though.) The pacing seems so slack, but I don't know if it's a directorial thing or a producer thing. Low-hanging fruit, but I was concerned that the cold open was 10 bloody minutes, or that Update stretched past 12:30.

 

I started back watching live late last season (damn you, John Mulaney...), and the show has a lot of issues with pacing, energy, and also sketches being put in the wrong order. Generally the cold opens are not this long (usually they're about 5-6 minutes), but some nights you have had a cold open and then a long-ass debate sketch taking up 15-20 minutes of the show. 

 

The last few episodes have had more life, and the pacing has been a little better, so maybe that will continue. Doubt it, but you never know. 

 

A ton of cast members are probably leaving after this season (I'm guessing somewhere between 6 and 8 ) so I'd think that would have to cause some sort of changing of the guard backstage as well. That and one of the headwriters (Colin Jost) is getting married to a movie star, so you'd think he would have less time for his role. 

 

Anyway, if anyone wants to see them, here are the two sketches cut from the episode. 

 

 

 

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You know what would have made the "Holiday Gig" (slightly better)?  A surprise cameo from Bill Murray's "Nick the Lounge Singer."  (I am so desperate to see Murray and Murphy together on the same project, it's pathetic.)

6 hours ago, DRW50 said:

I do think Ebersol was probably better at working with Eddie, but I think there were two problems in that most of the characters were so rooted in their era, and Eddie isn't the same as he was 35 years ago (as no one is). You could see him flubbing and being nervous throughout the night. The Velvet Jones was probably the one which suffered most from flubs - I hope we might get to see the dress rehearsal version, as I always enjoyed Velvet and I thought writing-wise the character was still on point (I laughed when he shamelessly pivoted toward faux-empowerment of women by advising them to become "Instagram hoes"). 

 

Mister Robinson (other than the end) and Buckwheat were alright, but I think his best returning character was Gumby. The showbiz trappings with Gumby could sometimes get on my nerves, so seeing him let loose on Weekend Update, making life hell for the anchors, was just absolutely a blast of fun and energy for me, just as good as the old days. 

 

I do think he was more at home in some of the new characters. He seemed to really let loose with that elf sketch at the end of the show. That reminded me a lot of how he used to be as a cast member. 

 

My favorite part of the episode, aside from Update and maybe the family film, was the goodnights, when you could see how happy he was and how much getting back into live performing had excited and exhausted him. That made the fumbles all the better because it just made for more of a journey. SNL tends to drown in its own history, but this was one night where the history helped them to soar - you have someone who saved the show, who was made into one of the biggest stars of the world by the show, coming back, so many years later, and still commanding the stage. It was a real moment, the type you can never script.

 

He made the show fun again. It was a good way for SNL to end the decade, and for their sake I hope they can keep some of the spark he left behind.

 

ICAM, @DRW50.  But, how can you watch the show again on a regular basis, knowing how they, along with "The Apprentice" and "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," normalized our current president?

Edited by Khan

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I've only seen a handful of episodes over the last, what five years?  And last night's show was one of the better paced shows (yes, it's true) and at the very least, this episode overall didn't drag like it normally has whenever I've watched it over the years.

 

I agree that Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood (and I knew that gentrification would be included but it was still funny), The Family Christmas Toast sketch were the funniest overall.  I also think the Gumby riff was pretty funny, especially when Gumby bitterly complained that he rescued the show from the gutter and didn't get thanks and then proceeded to say "Shame on you, Lorne Michaels! Shame on you!", I felt some subtext there.  I know a lot of people really liked the final sketch about global warming hitting the North Pole.  It got some chuckles from me, especially the reference to the real life incident of the man who helped rescue those young women in Cleveland.

 

I don't understand why they had Maya Rudolph with a martini glass but the bit with Kamala Harris quoting Lizzo with saying she was taking her fine aS$ self out of the presidential race and how America missed out and could've had a "bad b*tch" made me laugh.  Eddie Murphy slipped and said sh*t but I don't know if people caught that Maya Rudolph actually said what sounded like the F word, as in 'that's f*cked up'  or something to that extent.  I don't think that was in the script and people had various interpretations on what it meant but it was pretty obvious that Rudolph ad-libbed that part. 

 

Someone said the humor was milder (but still funny) than what it would've been when Murphy was in the cast in the '80s and I tend to agree.  Then again, the humor on this show was a lot sharper in the 80s overall, I think.  I bet it's been forever since SNL could be described as 'appointment viewing'. Last night was definitely one of those moments.

 

I just had a thought that the only thing that would've boosted that row of comedians during the opening monologue even more would've been to have Garrett Morris there. Hope he's alright wherever he is.

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Eddie should be back doing that oft-promised standup tour immediately. He had control of that room like nothing I've seen on SNL in a very long time. He controlled the audience too. Live suits him.

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6 hours ago, DramatistDreamer said:

I just had a thought that the only thing that would've boosted that row of comedians during the opening monologue even more would've been to have Garrett Morris there. Hope he's alright wherever he is.

 

YES!  I was thinking the EXACT SAME thing as I watched last night!

 

The humor might've been milder -- and it's true, SNL was a LOT sharper in the '80's -- but I tend to blame that on today's climate, when even left-leaning folks are complaining about political correctness "killing" our capacities to laugh and enjoy a [!@#$%^&*] joke.  Nowadays, you have to play everything safe, because anything is liable to offend someone out there.

 

There's no way that a character such as Buckwheat, or Mister Robinson, or especially Velvet Jones would work if it were introduced today.  Twitter, if it had been around in '81 or '82, would have crucified Eddie's career before it even started, lol.

 

Meanwhile, I'll bet it must KILL Lorne Michaels to know the average SNL viewer was more excited to see Eddie last night than they ever were to see Will Ferrell, Adam Sandler or any SNL alum return (original cast members notwithstanding).  Lorne has always sought to minimize Eddie's value to his show.  Last night, though, proved Eddie still has the capability, after all these years, to captivate an audience even with mediocre material -- whereas, with most others who come back, the law of diminishing returns often comes into play.

 

I just hope this wasn't the first, last and only return visit from Eddie.  I'd love to see him come back and host again; and if not host, then at least join the ranks of Alec Baldwin and John Goodman as someone who can be counted on to make surprise cameos.

 

1 hour ago, Vee said:

Eddie should be back doing that oft-promised standup tour immediately. He had control of that room like nothing I've seen on SNL in a very long time. He controlled the audience too. Live suits him.

 

I pray Eddie realizes (especially after tonight, if he hasn't already) how much we have missed him being truly, truly funny and reconnects with that part of himself that still knows how.  It's been too long since I've watched an Eddie Murphy movie and felt he was truly happy to be there.

Edited by Khan

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Eddie has always fiercely defended his, let's face it, shittier movies. They made bank, he's happy, he makes no apologies. That's his right. I do wish he'd be discerning - he sabotaged his Oscar chances with Dreamgirls, and he has finally another solid shot with Dolemite.

 

Coming 2 America could go either way, but it does have the writers he's worked with since SNL, Blaustein and Sheffield, who did the original and much of the original cast (including AMC's Shari Headley!). So there's that.

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At least he seems to have a bit of self-awareness because, the thing is, he knows they were shitty movies.  At least in interviews that I've seen lately.  His attitude these days seems to be that he's not denying it and what's done is done, lol, so why regret it? 

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16 minutes ago, Vee said:

he sabotaged his Oscar chances with Dreamgirls

 

Are you talking about "Norbit" being released during the voting period?  Because, if you are, I couldn't agree more.

 

17 minutes ago, Vee said:

Eddie has always fiercely defended his, let's face it, shittier movies. They made bank, he's happy, he makes no apologies. That's his right.

 

3 minutes ago, DramatistDreamer said:

At least he seems to have a bit of self-awareness because, the thing is, he knows they were shitty movies.  At least in interviews that I've seen lately.  His attitude these days seems to be that he's not denying it and what's done is done, lol, so why regret it? 

 

IA with both of you.  Yet, when I watched some of those movies in question, I just felt that Eddie was extremely low-energy, like a part of him never got over his post-"Harlem Nights" doldrums.

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