Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special Live Blog and Review

15 Feb


All times central. Instead of going by solely sketches, I’ll go by times tonight as well.

6:59-Oh look, Kanye already being an asshole. GRADE: D-

7:02-Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon having a great time is always fantastic to watch, although the opening is certainly very awkward (especially considering they’re trying to cram in as many references as possible). So fun, though. “Dick in a Box!”

7:05-It’ll take about 5 hours to get through these credits, guys.

7:10-It’s Steve Martin, Alec Baldwin, Tom Hanks, Peyton Manning, Melissa McCarthy (why?), Miley Cyrus (why??), Billy Crystal, Chris Rock, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon…okay, if I listed every single celebrity that showed up tonight, I’d still be writing by the time we got to the next episode. One of my favorite moments of this segment was the “Louise Kay” joke, followed up by the great “I love her”. GRADE: B

7:15-Clip show time through the years, or “Let’s Watch the Degeneration of SNL”. It’s pretty great to see all those old clips, though. Looks like there are some audio issues as well.

SUPER BASS-O-MATIC 2150: An oldie and a goodie.


JEOPARDY!-This is fantastic. Nowadays, these kinds of game show sketches aren’t that funny anymore, but this is a reminder of how good these used to be. Will Ferrell can carry a sketch as Alex Trebek just based on his reactions alone, and Norm McDonald is absolutely hilarious as Burt Reynolds. Also, Sean Connery’s mispronunciations are always funny. GRADE: A-

7:40-Audition tapes! Andy Kaufman, Stephen Colbert, and more. It’s great watching all of these.

7:45- “No, I do not need to read over my lines before I attempt to speak.” -Robert DeNiro

7:48- I’ve been to New York once, and I’d like to go again. SNL is a big part of why it looks so awesome.

7:50-G.E. Smith!

7:55-Yikes. Paul McCartney is certainly a legend, but this performance of “Maybe I’m Amazed” isn’t that great. Just can’t hit those notes here.

8:00-Jack Nicholson’s out to introduce a “Political Humor” montage. I really hope we can get to more actual live sketches soon, because if I wanted to watch old clips, I’d just go online. That being said, the political humor really used to be on point.

8:05-Haha, remember when Fred Armisen played Obama?

THE CALIFORNIANS: I was never a big fan of this sketch, but I’m not surprised we get one tonight because the recent cast members love it. Like all Californians sketches, this one goes on for way too long, but Bradley Cooper’s certainly very entertaining as the pool boy; he also ends up making out with Betty White. Other guests to note: Taylor Swift, Laraine Newman, and Kerry Washington, with David Spade as a flight attendant at the end. GRADE: It’s the Californians, I guess

Screen shot 2015-02-15 at 8.41.22 PM

WEEKEND UPDATE: That was great, but it needed to be much, much longer. It was great to see Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Jane Curtin again, and the Stefon/Edward Norton/Seth Meyers/Bill Hader bit was funny, as expected. Melissa McCarthy also did a good Matt Foley impression, and Emma Stone showed up as Roseanne. GRADE: B+

8:50-Okay, that Bill Murray “Jaws” segment was comedy gold, and I loved seeing “What’s Up With That” again. Also, that was the funniest Adam Sandler’s been (Opera Man) since the last time he was funny, which was during a time I can’t remember right now.

9:00-Eddie Murphy says that he’s excited to be here. “We’re not,” says the audience.

But seriously. This crowd is dead.

9:13-So, we get an ESPN Classic bit, but it’s only, what, 30 seconds? You’d think that certain sketches or segments would get more time in a 3 1/2 hour show.

Anyway: “So when you’re munching carpet, don’t let it be shag!” Best joke they’ve gotten away with.

9:20-Last time I checked, Paul Simon was here. Why is Miley Cyrus singing that song?

9:32-The Jerry Seinfeld Q&A bit has some great moments, especially Larry David’s “No” (which was messed up by the camera work). Sarah Palin also showed up and was tolerable, and it looks like Dakota Johnson is going to be hosting the next episode.

9:38-Great Tracy Morgan bit by “Mr. and Mrs. Alec Baldwin”.

9:47-Kanye West, Vic Mensa, and Sia teamed up for a performance, and it was very strange. Kanye’s performances are always visually interesting, but I wasn’t really feeling this one much musically. Anyway, when they interview him afterward, he will undoubtedly praise his own “artistry”.

9:53-Louis CK, you make a great point. Also, I love you, Louis CK.

This is a LONG show to sit through. Next week, let’s do it all over again with the Oscars!


SNL DIGITAL SHORT: This is definitely a tribute/jab at Jimmy Fallon, and it’s a very catchy one (as to be expected from any Samberg-produced digital short). Nice to see these back, even if it’s for only one night. GRADE: B+

IN MEMORIAM: Thanks to the crowd for clapping for the behind-the-scenes folks. They’re essential. Also, that Jon Lovitz bit at the end was hilarious.

WAYNE’S WORLD: “I thought Beck was even better than Beyonce…” + Dr. Evil=Lorne Michaels impersonation. Great to see Wayne and Garth back at it here, and the multiple Kanye burns were fantastic. Kudos to Myers and Carvey for having the crew at #1 as well, and it looks like after-show orgies have been confirmed. GRADE: B+

Wasn’t Jon Hamm supposed to be here? Did I miss him?

PAUL SIMON & SNL BAND: More kudos go out to the show for acknowledging the people who spend time putting this show together, and the SNL band has truly been great throughout the years.

Well, that’s it! It was a show that went on for way too long, but it definitely had some very entertaining moments. Join me on the 28th for the next episode of season 40.

Photo credit: NBC, Saturday Night Live


8 Responses to “Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special Live Blog and Review”

  1. mymoviemoods February 15, 2015 at 10:01 pm #

    Unfortunately like so much of the show itself the commercials just overwhelm me and wear me out. I think I could enjoy it if it was commercial free. I’m gonna use your blog and try to watch the highlights on Youtube. 🙂

    • polarbears16 February 15, 2015 at 10:02 pm #

      Yeah, this is a very long show to sit through. I completely understand! And that sounds like a great idea. 🙂

  2. Anastasia Leigh February 15, 2015 at 10:49 pm #

    The first hour was OK but the rest got tedious and WTF – why in the world did you put on Kanye and Miley??? That was so awful I changed the channel. Saturday Night Dead indeed.

    • polarbears16 February 15, 2015 at 11:31 pm #

      Yeah, they really weren’t very relevant to the idea of the 40th anniversary celebration, to be honest. And although I like Kanye’s music, we didn’t really need this performance.

  3. Hepburn3 February 15, 2015 at 11:56 pm #

    I loved the opening jab/joke that Steve Martin said about this SNL 40th Anniversary show was like a high school reunion, a very white high school, and that is so sad and true.
    That is one thing about SNL that I could not abide it is too white, but hopefully it will and is changing but come on 40 years in a art form that is ‘supposed’ to be cutting edge and progressive?!
    I was so excited to see Will Ferrell, but where were Rob Schneider, Sherri Oteri and Chris Parnell?
    For me the best thing was Jeopardy! That was so funny and everyone was good in that sketch! I love ribald Sean Connery!
    Bill Murray as his cheesy lounge singer was great, as was Larry David in the audience he is just so caustic and dry, it was nifty to see What’s up with that even though Lindsey Buckingham could not get on but I LOVED seeing Jason Sudeikis in his red track suit doing his old school dance moves. I do like Fred Armistan’s Barack Obama but he was phased out of it in favour of Jay Pharoah.
    It was nifty seeing the Weekend Update ladies Amy, Tina and Jane they are and were good but I have to say that I have always loathed Colin Quinn and Kevin Neelan I never found them funny. It also shows how bad Weekend Update has been since Amy Pohler left.
    Eddie Murphy seemed very charmed to be there, but yes you are right the audience was rather stilled and lackluster. It was chock full of famous people and I think that is boring and sad.
    I love Mr. and Mrs Alec Baldwin, and I honestly hope that Tracey Morgan gets well soon so he can gets us all pregnant. 🙂
    I loved the in memory part of the show, and poor Jon Lovitz… that was funny.
    So happy and proud of all of the Canadians who make SNL an “American Institution” especially Lorne! We are everywhere and we are very funny. 😉

    What I hated was Paul Mac. I have never been a Beatles fan, in my home it was always the Rolling Stones ( my mom prefers them) and I loved that Keith Richard introduced Sir Paul but Lord LOVE A DUCK that man cannot sing anymore and it was painful to listen to and watch!
    I never found Adam Sandler funny, I have only ever like two things that he did Spanglish and Punch-Drunk Love, he was so good in both of those films and he was not funny in them, he is just so lame but this was the ONLY time his Opera man made me laugh.
    I hated seeing Rudy J and The Donald on the red carpet talk, the are the WORST.

    Miley and Kanye are what is in. I was surprised that Miley sang that Paul Simon song when he was there, I mean that was odd, but it was nice that he did sing one of his classics with the various members of the SNL band backing him up.
    Kanye does not bug me the way he seems to other people, I think of him as a cartoon to be honest, a very talented musical cartoon with a cartoon wife. I loved that he had Sia and Vic Mensa sing with him. It was very esoteric but I liked it for it did not bore me.

    It was long but hey it is a 40th year anniversary so there was a lot to honour and reflect on.
    I will not be watching the Oscars because they jam one year of banal pap and sycophancy into 4 hours or more for no good reason.

    I will NOT be watching 50 Shades of SNL with Dakota Johnson, I like myself too much for that and there is no safe word with that pap.

    Good review Polarbear! 🙂
    Sadly I missed Walking Dead but I PVRd it. 🙂

    Read you on Tuesday!

  4. Flemming Erik Carlson February 16, 2015 at 2:44 am #

    I thought it was still a fun watch overall. Not perfect, more to celebrate Lorne than the show, by throwing a TV party. I hope the 50th kicks butt!

  5. Cindy Bruchman February 16, 2015 at 7:41 am #

    I made it half the way and will watch the rest today. Loved Jeopardy and Steve Martin as the lounge lizard. Loved to see all the old-timers back and agree–the audience was the worst one ever. 40 years. Good grief.

  6. Douchebag Batman February 19, 2015 at 10:18 am #

    Thought the thing was pretty fun. SNL has a habit of self-felating itself every now and then and this was no exception. At least they do it pretty well. Personally I really dug Kanye’s performance. From going back to Jesus Walks (a song typically lost in his discography) to doing his post-Yeezus stuff I enjoyed it. As for comedy, Celebrity Jeopardy wins best skit.

    How sad is seeing Jim Belushi? Seeing him as a blues brother is just kind of depressing. At least John Goodman was in one of the movies.

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