Saturday Night Live “J.K. Simmons/D’Angelo” Live Blog and Review (40×13)

31 Jan


Public Service Announcement: Whiplash was the best movie of the year, and J.K. Simmons gave the best performance of the year. Go watch it if you haven’t already.

SUPER BOWL SHUT DOWN: First of all, I urge you to read Marshawn Lynch’s reason behind not talking to the media; it’s excellent, and I respect him for it. As for this opening sketch itself, it’s not very surprising that we’d get a Super Bowl segment to begin the episode, and it’s definitely not a bad one. Pharaoh and Thompson are both very entertaining throughout, and they help move this sketch along quite well. I still prefer Key and Peele doing this, though. GRADE: B

MONOLOGUE: “All hair is ridiculous.” Well, here I was hoping for a better Whiplash segment. Maybe one will still show up at some point, but as for right now, what we get is just alright. Leslie Jones is entertaining here, although it’s really strange watching Terence Fletcher have to stand down to someone, and Fred Armisen shows up because I guess he has nothing better to do. Also, it doesn’t quite work if Simmons isn’t allowed to swear, NBC! GRADE: B-

TOTINO’S SUPER BOWL ACTIVITY PACK FOR WOMEN: Fantastic. This is a hilarious satire, and Vanessa Bayer is absolutely wonderful throughout. Her performance makes this sketch, and it’s a much better take on the Super Bowl in general than the cold open. GRADE: A-

MISS TRASH 2015: There’s not much to like about this sketch. There’s some funny physical comedy in there, but it’s a lazy, mediocre segment that doesn’t really seem like a sketch. GRADE: C-

CINEMA CLASSICS: “No….noooo…no….noooo.” Kate McKinnon is absolute gold during every second of this sketch, and she and Simmons make discussion of concentration camps and Nazis somehow funny. Great chemistry, and great sketch. GRADE: B+

TEACHERS’ SNOW DAY: Here’s another catchy, entertaining pre-recorded segment, and once Simmons sans pants arrives, the sketch revs its engine and delivers a truly awesome closing to the song. GRADE: A-

WEEKEND UPDATE: “Hey, Iggy, wake up and smell the azaleas. You’re WHITE!” “If those lyrics were any more juvenile, Michael Jackson would have taken a nap with it.” I love it. Rip Elvis and Michael Jackson all you want, Jebediah; it’s hilarious hearing the audience act all shocked and such, and it’s even better because Atkinson openly dislikes the audience. Aside from Atkinson, Cecily Strong is funny as the One-Dimensional Female Character from a Male-Driven Comedy (plus the fake baby from American Sniper!), and Che’s bit about Black History Month is great. GRADE: B+

MURDER PUSHIE: The setup for this sketch is nothing special at all, and it never really gets going aside from Moynihan’s performance. That Moynihan performance definitely is great, though, and it smoothes over some of the more ragged edges of the comedy. GRADE: C+

THE JAY Z STORY: The reveals of who’s playing who are definitely the funniest aspects of this sketch, as we get Mike O’Brien as Jay Z, Jason Sudeikis as Kanye West, and J.K. Simmons as Nas. The bits in between are fairly entertaining, but they don’t really match the comedy of the reveals; they’re still good, though. GRADE: B+

D’ANGELO: Man, this guy is smooth. His recently released album, “Black Messiah”, was extremely well received by critics, and I can see why. Both of his performances here–“Really Love” and “The Charade”–showcase that R&B excellence he’s known for.

CAREER DAY: Once again, here’s another middling sketch saved by a great performance, this time by J.K. Simmons as the Japanese messy boy. GRADE: B-

NEXT UP: The SNL 40th Anniversary Special on a Sunday, for some reason. Depending on whether I want to watch “Shameless” live or not, join me on February 15th at 8 pm Eastern for a live blog.

Photo credit: NBC, Saturday Night Live


5 Responses to “Saturday Night Live “J.K. Simmons/D’Angelo” Live Blog and Review (40×13)”

  1. Hepburn3 February 1, 2015 at 12:29 pm #

    For me this was totally hit and miss, with more misses than hits. JK Simmons is not funny off the cuff and I found him very flat through out in everything! Nothing he did made me crack a smile. That being said I do think he is a good actor loved him in Juno, Spiderman, as the Yellow M&M, but he is just not a good improv/comedy sketch actor.
    I loved Kate as always she is the best thing on the show for me, she Jay and Aidy!
    I am not usually a fan of Taran but his Jebediah was very stinging and funny this time.
    The stock female one dimensional character was also spot on. 🙂 And I loved the dig at the ‘baby/ in American Sniper. Why the baby did not get a best supporting actor nod or even better best SFX nod for the Oscars is beyond me. 😉
    I am not a fan of the NFL, to be honest I loath American Football so I do not get or care for the jokes or sketches regarding it but the Totino ad was clever.
    The Miss Trash thing was rather misogynistic and I disliked it.
    D’Angelo is/was AMAZING! My cousin saw him live recently in Manchester England and she said he was outstanding, from his SNL slot last night I can see why!
    Why the dillio was Armisien there?!!! It was so lame and desperate for attention him playing the drums, yes I know he wants be known as a bandleader musician now but egads dude! I miss him being funny.
    I would have to give this whole thing a C-.
    I am in truth stoked for Eddie Murphy coming back. It will be epic or a big letdown. 🙂

    I will check out Whiplash. 🙂

    • polarbears16 February 1, 2015 at 12:35 pm #

      I hope you enjoy it! It’s truly an amazing movie, and Simmons is fabulous in it.

      Yeah, I agree with pretty much everything you wrote. The Miss Trash sketch was really bad, D’Angelo was awesome, and I have no idea why Armisen was there. I feel like he was just there not long ago.

      New POI this Tuesday and for the next 4 weeks straight!

      • Hepburn3 February 1, 2015 at 12:40 pm #

        HUZZAH ABOUT PoI!!
        I am so STOKED!!! 🙂

  2. #peggyatthemovies February 1, 2015 at 1:08 pm #

    Good Review!!! I thought J.K. was I’ve learned after that time meeting him after Whiplash screening, that he can be quite funny..oh and he’s short..ha! I like his opening & even the Miss Trash sketch was saved a bit by him..
    Favourite sketch is either Teacher Snow Day which was just perfect..or Jebediah on weekend update- off the charts. He was soooo un-PC that I just LOVED it!! it was great and I was falling over laughing having to re-play bits because it was so damn funny!! you hit it perfectly on the rest of them also. I kinda know what the football thing is about..but considering I watch the real football aka soccer and the only one I like of the US kind is college as its more fun, I didn’t get it all. But usually that doesn’t matter if it’s funny..just didn’t think it was.
    And D’Angelo for me..who I ask, could he have ripped Prince off anymore with not only his music, performance, but even his dress.. I mean..whoa! it was like a flash-back to the 80’s there. Not that I don’t like him..but I like him mainly because it evokes so many good Prince memories.. all in all I liked it. 40th Anniv. should be a fun watch.. I mean WOW! 40 years. crazy.

  3. Douchebag Batman February 2, 2015 at 10:18 am #

    Maybe it’s just because I’m a hip hop head but I loved the Jay-Z sketch. While I agree seeing who plays who is a big part of the fun things like Nas/Jay’s beef lasting about a minute is hilarious.

    If I had to vote for a favorite sketch it’d be Cinema Classics.

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