– watching this special you’d never know exactly how rebellious “Saturday Night Live” was at its inception or various other points in history; every clip package was a parade of smash cuts set to a steady beat, like a home run highlight reel, which robbed many classic moments of the comedic tension that made them so memorable in the first place; three and a half hours and they didn’t even show the very first “SNL” sketch in its entirety (“I would like to feed your fingertips to the wolverines”), the program’s mission statement, still one of the weirdest things that’s ever been on television
– there was so much hoo-ha about Eddie Murphy making an appearance, finally burying whatever cold hatchet he had with “SNL”/his “SNL” legacy, but he didn’t do anything, he just came out and expressed some gratitude while making very awkward clapping gestures; maybe Eddie does have a disease that prevents him from being funny these days
– Joe Piscopo seemed as stiff and unhappy as the real elderly Sinatra; I’m sure he was hoping for a tearful on camera reunion with Murphy; I’m sure he burst a blood vessel during Chris Rock’s monologue about Murphy being “SNL’s” Superman (Rock wasn’t wrong, though)
– Wayne’s World remains the most profitable “SNL” spin-off so we’re going to have to endure Wayne and Garth reunion sketches (no matter how pointless or meandering) until Mike Myers and Dana Carvey are both dead (if Carvey dies first I’d put major cash on Myers replacing him with Bill Hader); I wish they’d let the characters age, I’m far more interested to see Wayne at fifty
– Kanye seemed pretty excited to be caught in Wayne’s World
– the best part of “SNL 40” was of course an unscripted moment: Norm Macdonald trying to swerve the Chevy Chase introduction into the nearest ditch, a fine reminder of how brutally unsentimental the show can be (times like that are when “SNL” is tops) and how you can always rely on Norm
– related to that last point: it was wild to see the varying levels of talent on display, in the sense that you have to give Fred Armisen some kind of prop or character but Norm or Bill Murray can just come out and be themselves and everyone’s delighted
– it was cool to see Jane Curtain Weekend Updating with Tina and Amy
– it was cool to see Ellen Cleghorne
– it was not cool to see famous people “covering” their favorite characters
– I don’t know how to feel about Miley Cyrus as an entertainer or a human but she clearly has talent, by which I mean she made me give a shit about a Paul Simon song; I’d buy that rendition on vinyl
– the audience kept the applause at fair levels throughout the dead person montage; doesn’t feel like anyone was slighted, and they chose really wonderful/wonderfully evocative photos of each figure
– all those fucking montages and not one devoted entirely to the rich history of musical performance on “SNL”; sorry, legendary artists who so often were the only bits of the program worth watching, this “Californians” sketch has to be eight decades long
– ego probably prevented a lot of great comedy from happening
– “SNL” has constructed a successful enough business model that it may never go off the air; I’d like it to, only to see if another comedic incubator of its caliber would ever come along
– what a shame [obscure cast member] didn’t get any shoutouts
A: I’m a little embarrassed by my previous investment in the Late Night Wars™. Part of that involves my favorite guys not fulfilling whatever weird prophecies I envisioned. More of it has to do with talk show fatigue. The format has become so devalued, and yet at the same time remains so oppressive. Anyone can get a talk show, but anyone who tries to de or reconstruct what we believe a talk show should be (Jeselnik, Kamau Bell) ends up with a pink slip. In that sense, Jimmy Fallon is the perfect choice to host “The Tonight Show.” He’s never been trouble.
To paraphrase Howard Cosell, Jimmy Fallon rhapsodizes about everything, I’m sure he’ll have a fine career.
Seth Meyers on “Late Night” I have a harder time understanding. Did that guy really spend fourteen years on “Saturday Night Live” with the end goal of hosting a twelve-thirty weeknight show? Granted, it’s a spot that once belonged to Letterman and Conan, but neither of those guys did any one job for fourteen years before “Late Night.” That is to say, Letterman and Conan were not defined by anything before their “Late Night” stints. Does NBC really think a guy who spent fourteen years on “Saturday Night Live” is the right kind of person to be hosting “Late Night?” Jimmy Fallon was only on “SNL” for six! Fourteen years is even longer than Tim Meadows’ oft-joked about stint. I guess NBC’s impressed by Seth’s loyalty.
Personally, I’d love to see Tim Meadows host “Late Night.” “Late Night w/ Tim Meadows” is definitely some shit I’d watch. Shout out to all my Lionel Osbourne fans (Lionel Osbourne is a talk show character Tim Meadows used to play in ancient times, long before any of us were ever born).
Earlier this week former Misfits guitarist Doyle “Wolfgang Von Frankenstein” Caiafa (né Paul) announced that he (and ostensibly the world) is ready for a touring / album reunion of “the original [Misfits] lineup” and that he is in fact the “only one” capable of brokering such an auspicious event. Quoth Doyle:
You know what? I’ve just decided this week that I am going to make an attempt, and I wanna do it. I’ll put what I’m doing right on the fucking side. I’ll go do it tomorrow.”
Great, I say with one hundred percent earnest, even though by “original” I’m sure Doyle means his early ’80s era of the band, which if we’re being polite was at least the fourth Misfits iteration. I am coming at you honest and true from my heart of hearts when I say it would really be something special to see founder Glenn Danzig, founding bassist Jerry Only, Doyle, and drummer Arthur Googy doing anything together, even if it was just twenty minutes on the side stage of some bullshit-ass festival. If you pressed me I might even use the term “magical.”
I am burying the lede, though. Scroll through the many comments on the aforelinked article and you’ll find a couple accounts from singers who tried out for the Misfits reformation that began in 1995 (and continues to this day with Only as the sole original member). I’m sure it will surprise absolutely no one familiar with the muscle-bound punk band to learn there was, allegedly, a weight lifting requirement.
“I was trying to get an audition with the Misfits back when they were looking for a replacement for Danzig,” writes Paul LaPlaca. “I answered an ad in the [Village] Voice…[and] I was given a machine gun series of questions on everything from my influences to how much I could bench press. I blew the interview when I asked who I was talking to. He said, ‘Jerry.’ As I took it down with pen and paper I asked, ‘And your last name?’ ‘Jerry ONLY. The BASS player.’ click.'”
“I also remember being asked how much I could bench press,” replied Edward Martin.
Disclaimer: LaPlaca and Martin might be trolling us fiends, feeding into the meathead Jersey Boy stereotype some people like to believe the Misfits embodied / still embody, but I don’t think their claims are too far-fetched. Physical stature has long been a key component of the Misfit image, and it’s not like they’re saying Jerry asked them to name their favorite New York Giants place kicker. If this bench pressing thing is true, one must wonder the exact number for entry into this legendary band (250? 300? A Buick?). Also, how much could Michale Graves bench in 1995? He clinched that open vocal spot despite looking no stronger than any given Baldwin.
Oh, and since I’m sure everyone reading this remembers the “Saturday Night Live” skit the the top image is taken from there is absolutely no need to discuss it beyond this sentence.
My buddy Rollie H. describes himself as someone who’s into “television history, famous failures, and not laughing.” As such, Rollie recently waded into the dark territory that is “Saturday Night Live’s” sixth season to review and analyze what countless historians have tagged as the absolute nadir of sketch comedy. Please, do yourself a favor right now and read my friend’s hilarious, insightful recap of his experience wherein at the very least you’ll pick up the hot fashion term “heino rippin’.” You’ll also see photographic evidence of Eddie Murphy eating dog food.
When reached for comment on Fallon’s rumored promotion, Greene remarked, “You know, this is all Jean Doumanian’s fault. If her version of ‘Saturday Night Live’ had been a success in 1980, Lorne Michaels wouldn’t be “LORNE MICHAELS” inasmuch as NBC probably would have ignored his suggestion to replace Letterman with Conan in ’93.
“Look, I love Conan, but it’s obvious NBC only went with him because he had the ultimate reference. Coco’s not a rabble rouser in the style of the guy he replaced but he’s still not as ‘company’ as Leno. They needed a Leno Junior in there. Instead, they got a Lorne-endorsed headache, one that plagued them through an entire second Bush presidency.
“It’s all ‘SNL 80.’ If Jean Doumanian had made that shit work, check the alternate timeline: Lorne Michaels spends the majority of the 1980s turning Three Amigos! into a trilogy, we get ‘Late Night with Greg Kinnear’ once Letterman bounces, Jay Leno hosts ‘Tonight’ until he drops dead in 2023, and Charles Rocket lives to appear in another Dumb & Dumber movie. It’s sick, it’s twisted, but it’s also probably fact.”
Color Me Obsessed
Starring: a bunch of Replacements fans
Directed by Gorman Bechard
Julien Temple’s year 2000 Sex Pistols documentary The Filth & The Fury is artistically notable in that it refuses to show the band members in present day, cloaking their physical wear and tear in literal shadows and only allowing the Pistols to be seen via 1970s news footage and home movies. Gorman Bechard goes a few steps further with his Replacements narrative Color Me Obsessed—the old bird doesn’t show any photos or movies of the band at all (save the final frames of the movie). Bechard also doesn’t use any of the Replacements’ music, instead allowing the entire story of these ramshackle indie rock pioneers to be told via the talking heads of fans and friends. It’s an odd gambit but one fitting of the Mats who are, in fact, one of the last rock groups to have a legend cushioned by endless too-good-to-be-true second hand anecdotes that remain unverifiable thanks to their existence in a pre-Internet age.
Yes, upon the release of their landmark third album Let It Be, the Replacements attempted to erase their first two albums from history by throwing what they thought were the master tapes of those records into the Mississippi River. No, humble guitarist Bob Stinson did not tell his future wife Carleen about his successful underground rock group, introducing himself to her as a mere pizza cook. Yes, Tupac Shakur was horrified when Tom Arnold told him the Replacements had been banned from “Saturday Night Live” for defecating in a cooler backstage and sending it to the first floor of 30 Rockefeller Center. No, no one can agree which Replacements album sucks more, Don’t Tell a Soul or All Shook Down. Yes, Matt Pinfield is as annoying as you remember him.
It’s hard to say how effective or captivating Color Me Obsessed would be to the strange alien who’d never heard a lick of Replacements music. There is certainly a linear tale here, no different than if a group of bar flies were piecing together a tall tale for you, and the emotion behind the testimonials will surely pique some virgin’s interest in tracking down a worn vinyl copy of Hootenanny. For those of us already enraptured by the tough but tender “aw shucks” songwriting of Westerberg and Co. this doc is required viewing, if only for reassurance that their are plenty of other schlubby white folks out there still gritting their teeth to “Hayday” and “Bastards of Young.”
FINAL SCORE: Three raspy former MTV veejays (out of four).
Makin’ Copies: The Richmeister climbs the corporate ladder thanks to his amazing networking skills but falters in his role as CFO when it’s discovered he can literally only say cute variations on other people’s names.
You May Not Touch The Mango: Everyone’s favorite temperamental exotic dancer develops leprosy and struggles with the forced solitude.
Hollywood Minute: The Movie: David Spade spends ninety minutes riffing on Tinseltown’s rich hundred year plus history, zinging a wide range of targets including Fatty Arbuckle, the Spice Girls, and Russ Meyer.
Get Off The Damn Shed: Will Ferrell spends ninety minutes screaming at off-screen children who refuse to climb down from his tool hutch.
Dominican Lou Meets Woodrow: Travy Morgan’s handyman character encounters Tracy Morgan’s homeless character out in the street somewhere and the two have a discussion about a mutual friend (Brian Fellows, Tracy Morgan’s zookeeper character).
Debbie Downer Does Dallas: Sad sack has tons of graphic sex, complains the entire time about unrelated issues.