Saturday Night Live “James Franco/Nicki Minaj” Live Blog and Review (40×08)

6 Dec


POLITICS NATION WITH AL SHARPTON: This is a sketch in which Kenan Thompson is simply infectiously funny, from his mispronunciations to his picture with the cop to his quick interview with Jay Pharoah’s lawyer character. I really like the joke about all recordings having to be in HD and horizontal for a “more cinematic feel”. GRADE: B+

MONOLOGUE: That’s a pretty short monologue, but pictures of Rogen and Franco in embarrassing situations is only something that can last for a bit. I do enjoy the picture of Rogen teaching Franco how to read, and at the end, Franco even addresses all that Instagram controversy. GRADE: B-

PETER PAN LIVE: I knew this was coming. James Franco as Christopher Walken’s Captain Hook is pretty entertaining, Cecily Strong is great as Allison Williams’s Peter Pan, and Aidy Bryant’s Tonkerbell makes a return, but the sketch never seems to build up to anything. A few good jokes, solid enough sketch. GRADE: B-

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS: Great idea, and there are some solid jokes in here; I especially love the old Chewbacca. However, the actual production of this sketch is not great at all, and the green screen stuff is distracting; it really looks unfinished. GRADE: B-

MTV’S JINGLE BALLERZ: As always, impression sketches are my favorite. There are a few shaky impressions here, but seeing Killam’s Eminem and McKinnon’s Bieber is always great. Not much of a concept to this sketch–and definitely not as good as the last impression sketch–but it’s still entertaining. GRADE: B-

*One of the few times where the announcer messes up. “Charli XX…XCX”.

#GROWAGUY: Okay, so I absolutely love the ending to this sketch. However, the build up to that ending is a bit too slow and awkward to work. There isn’t much funny to find for the first few minutes of the sketch. GRADE: C+

TROLL: I feel like James Franco isn’t doing anything at all in this episode, and this sketch makes it even worse. So, there’s some making out here, and stuff, and…okay. GRADE: C-

WEEKEND UPDATE: The “cookies are waiting for you in prison” joke is great, and I like that the show is finally attempting to create some sort of rapport between Jost and Che (this time through reactions to the Eric Garner case). As for Anthony Crispino, I enjoy the whole “Bing Crosby” conversation the most, especially the “I’m sure he likes to touch it”. Leslie Jones is also fun, especially when she goes on and on about Harriet Tubman, and Nicki Minaj once again shows up (this time as Kim Kardashian). I wonder what kind of host Minaj would be; I’m not sure I want to see it, but still. GRADE: B

OVERLY FULL BRAIN: “Who remembers a Billy Zane line from ‘Titanic’??” Here’s another impressions sketch, and it’s a bit better than the earlier one. Franco is good in it, Minaj shows up again, and there are more obscure impressions that are very funny. GRADE: B-

TAD RANKIN AND THE BOY MAYOR: Franco breaks character here, but how could you not with those lines? It’s a simple sketch, and although it’s far from perfect, the concept of a bitter Franco ripping into a boy mayor is funny. “BYE!” GRADE: B

NICKI MINAJ: Not a huge fan of hers, but I like it when musical guests want to get in on the fun outside of the performances. As for the performances, they’re perfectly fine; I’m happy she didn’t choose to bring out the likes of Drake and Lil’ Wayne and Chris Brown for her performance of “Only”. GRADE: B-

SUNSEEKER YACHTS: This is obviously bringing diminishing returns, but the dirty jokes never fail to amuse me. “We’re gonna need a bigger throat!” is my pick for the funniest line. GRADE: B


NEXT WEEK: Martin Freeman and Charli XCX

IN TWO WEEKS: Amy Adams (YES!) and One Direction (Meh)

Photo credit: NBC, Saturday Night Live

One Response to “Saturday Night Live “James Franco/Nicki Minaj” Live Blog and Review (40×08)”

  1. Douchebag Batman December 8, 2014 at 12:08 am #

    This was an interesting episode. When the episode worked (Grow a Guy, Overly Full Brain, Tad Rankin) worked really well for me. What didn’t work (Troll comes to mind) really didn’t work for me. Overall I’d give the episode a B-. Calling it now, Nicki getting the call for host/musical guest next year.

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