Monday, November 17, 2008

Now for the controversial stuff

I really don't mean to offend anyone. But the most overrated people on Saturday Night Live over the years:

Dan Akroyd: I'm sorry but he has never made me laugh. Not as Elwood Blues. Not as Jimmy Carter.
Dana Carvey: "Well isn't that special" is not a funny punchline and neither is "Satan!?" Chopping Broccoli was a high point. But not enough to justify the legend.
Adam Sandler: C'mon. Are you really going to defend his sketches?
Darrell Hammond: I know. He isn't that highly rated. But his impressions are. And they're really not that good. His McCain is quite bad. His Clinton was good but Clinton's so easy to do. His Regis is passable. His Sean Connery: meh. His Geraldo: surprisingly good actually.

The Most Underrated:
Rachel Dratch: her characters were consistently very funny. But even just her Debbie Downer character is enough for me.
Joe Piscopo: A journeyman not a genius. But he doesn't deserve the ridicule he gets. His Sinatra was really good.

Most Deserving of The Adulation:
Gilda Radner: You'll burn in hell if you disagree.
Bill Murray: His lounge singer made me who I am.
Tina Fey: One of the best writers the show has ever had. And she saved Weekend Update.

Most overrated hosts:
John Goodman
Tom Hanks: looks too much like he's playing a comedian for the night. He hams it up. If you ever saw Bosom Buddies you've seen all the goofy faces and voices he relies on.

Best Host:
Alec Baldwin: His timing is perfect. He never looks like he's trying to be funny so he plays straight well. But he can broaden his performances. He plays the melodramatic comedy easily. He makes fun of himself. He can carry a scene.

Most Surprisingly Good Host:
Justin Timberlake (Almost a tie: Donald Trump isn't as good, but he's more of a surprise.)


Casey said...

Are you familiar with the phrase "Whole nother level?"

I think that's the deal with Adam Sandler -- one of the current SNL cast members is similarly absurd: that tall skinny drink of water who does those ridiculous "SNL digital shorts."

I'm not going to "defend" Sandler's skits, because they couldn't be defended that way -- but I will say I don't know if I've ever laughed as hard as I laughed on my way to Iowa in my uncle's RV with my dad, brother, and cousins, when we heard "Toll Booth Willy" on Sandler's CD in about 1995.

If laughter be the measure of humor, Sandler on...

Then again, I was 17 in 1995, so...

Daniel said...

I'm with you on a lot, especially Justin Timberlake. I don't know if you saw his Weekend Update bit this past SNL because he had to cancel his Thankgiving host appearance. I was very impressed.

What about Hammond's Chris Matthews?

Where do you rank Christopher Walken?

fenhopper said...

casey: i should have been clear that this is about their roles as cast members on snl. sandler has done other things that are funny and occasionally wonderful.

but his skits were really bad.

daniel: walken is up there. i was going to put him alongside baldwin but my regard for baldwin is so far ahead of other hosts, even very good hosts, that he needed solo mention.

Casey said...

The Hannukah song? The "crazy-plunger-guy" Halloween costume? Okay... yeah I guess those sucked.

Remember "Massive Head Wound Harry," by Dana Carvey!?

fenhopper said...

his songs were good. some of them. but crazy plunger guy is pretty much my point.

daniel: his chris matthews is good. it's probably his best one.

The Ridger, FCD said...

No comment since I haven't watched SNL in decades ... when I never even chuckled during the whole 90 minutes, it was time to quit. I gather it's better, and worse, and better, and worse, and better again. But I just don't know after Radner and Murray.

Casey said...

No mention of Chris Farley anywhere? That seems a little unjust to me...

Chris B. said...

Two words: Phil Hartman.

Most versatile, most excellent. And his Sinatra is the best.

Without him, your assessment is a sham.

fenhopper said...

a sham you say.

first: he was talented. i absolutely loved him in talk radio.

he was important to the show yes.

his impressions were passable. his clinton about as good as hammond's. and he did an OK sinatra but it was just a rehash of piscopo's. his ted kennedy was pretty bad. ed mcmahon was bad. his burt reynolds was good. his andy griffith was one of his best.

and i will certainly do myself no favor in your eyes by saying that i left him off precisely because he wasn't very versatile. most of his characters were a mere variation on one of two themes -- the smooth well-spoken man or a country bumpkin. and about 85% of his characters were the former. the anal retentive chef was the same as the acting coach, jesus was the same as the unfrozen caveman lawyer. johnny o'connor was his standard 50s actor character.

he was important to the show because he was able to fill these roles well. but he wasn't a pioneer who changed the show or added something never seen before.