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Date Posted: 04:38:04 10/05/17 Thu
Author: Stooge
Subject: Russell Brand / Chris Brown - February 12, 2011 (S36 E15)
In reply to: Stooge 's message, "Retro Reviews - October 2017" on 04:11:01 10/05/17 Thu

Here's the original review I posted back when this episode first aired.

---------------------------------------

RATINGS SYSTEM
***** = Excellent, a possible future classic
**** = Great
*** = Average
** = Meh
* = How'd this get past dress?

Cold Opening - The O’Reilly Factor
• Well, I’m happy that Jason gets to start this episode off after practically being a no-show last week, but wow... this has got to be the WORST Bill O’Reilly impression of all-time. Jeff Richards and Darrell Hammond are rolling in their non-existent graves.
• That being said, Jason was still funny in his O’Reilly portrayal and that’s all that matters. Loved his stretched-out delivery of “WEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLL…” and him angrily saying “Sit down!”
• This started out decently, but the whole Culture Quiz and Viewer Mail segments went nowhere and the jabs at O’Reilly felt too light overall.
• I have no complaints about Fred’s Obama this time because this was the right way to use it: playing the straight man and barely having any lines at all.
Stars: **½

Monologue - Russell Brand
• I should’ve expected Brand to have a monologue like this. Very, very talky, rambly, and loose... almost too loose. This just endlessly kept jumping from one random topic to another for what felt like 12 minutes. If I didn’t know any better, I’d assume this whole thing was improvised as everything Brand said here was obviously all from him with none of the SNL writers’ influence.
• I wasn’t quite sure what to think of this overall, which is basically the same reaction I have whenever I see any interview with Russell Brand. I’m honestly not the biggest fan of this guy’s humor and I didn’t laugh too much here, but at least this was a REAL monologue in the true traditional sense of the word and this had a loose, fun vibe.
Stars: **

Commercial - Gublin and Green
• Not much to say about this, but a decent commercial. The scrolling list of injury cases was my favorite part, especially the one about seeing Green Goblin’s package.
Stars: ***

Sketch - Sweepstakes Giveaway Lady
• No, just... no.
Stars: *½ (the ½ is for the funny reaction shot of Taran wetting his pants)

Commercial - Don’ You Go Rounin’ Roun to Re Ro
• A very funny fake movie trailer. While the premise was thin and simple, the execution definitely worked. Bill and Fred were particularly hilarious with their mumbling accents, and Nasim’s “What???” at the end was also funny.
• Loved the critic reviews such as “Is there a way to turn on subtitles for a movie in English?”
• Much like the “Unstoppable” parody from earlier this season, the nice production values and attention to detail helped give this the feel of a genuine movie trailer.
Stars: ****

Sketch - Royal Taster
• The whole premise was very predictable, but the hilarious over-the-top acting from Bill and a funny straight man performance from Taran made this. And you could tell Hader and Brand were having a lot of fun in their interaction with each other.
• I usually hate story-scroll endings, but this sketch’s completely random King’s Speech/“now you can say you saw it!” ending didn’t bother me too much. I actually chuckled at it simply because of how out-of-nowhere and silly it was. It was really the only thing in the script that you couldn’t see coming from a mile away.
Stars: ***

Weekend Update - Seth Meyers, featuring Hosni Mubarak, Eminem and Lil’ Wayne, Stefon
• Best jokes: Superbowl/Christina Aguilera, Diego DVD
• Please tell me that Seth’s AOL joke was an old leftover written 12 years ago for Colin Quinn, because they couldn’t possibly have come up with that joke this week thinking it would still be relevant in 2011.
• The Egyptian president commentary didn’t feel necessary, especially after we just HAD one two weeks ago. Fred’s high-pitched “You know what I mean?”s still crack me up, but there wasn’t much else to laugh at here.
• The Eminem and Lil’ Wayne commentary was pretty good. Taran stole the whole thing with his priceless dead-on imitation of Eminem’s loud angsty rapping. Taran had me laughing my ass off, especially when he exclaimed “IN A COFFIN!” and him randomly just saying “knife” at the end of the song.
• The Stefon commentary was the usual, but I did laugh at him saying the Japanese name of the club and his classic impression of Gizmo from Gremlins. Also, it was more obvious than ever this time that they really DO change Stefon’s lines between dress rehearsal and the live show, which explains why Bill always loses his shit during these. This time, you could tell Bill was reading his lines cold, judging by how he was blatantly reciting off the cue cards very slowly and how he kept tripping over his words throughout.
Stars: **½

Sketch - Livin’ Single
• Decent sketch. Vanessa did a fine job as usual and it was nice to see her starring in a sketch. But it was Taran who really made this sketch for me. The cutaways to his subtly-frustrated reactions and bratty tantrums were all great. I’m noticing more and more as this season goes on that I’m becoming a pretty big fan of Taran Killam and he’s slowly moving his way up to being one of my favorites in the cast. He’s having a particularly fantastic night in this episode and most of the funniest moments of the night all seem to belong to him.
Stars: ***

Sketch - A Spot of Tea
• Uh... what. the. hell? That’s all I could say after this sketch ended. There hasn’t been a sketch that left me this speechless and confused since “Les Jeunes de Paris” from the Emma Stone episode (BTW, that sketch has definitely grown on me after repeated viewings, especially with my newfound appreciation for Taran Killam).
• I certainly don’t mind a good silly/mindless sketch every now and then (and we know that out of this current cast, Andy Samberg has the market cornered on that type of humor), but to say this sketch was stupid and one-joke would be an understatement. I just didn’t get this sketch at all and I kept waiting for an unexpected punchline that never came. They just kept repeating the same thing over and over. How was that funny? Maybe this sketch will grow on me over time like Les Jeunes de Paris, but for now, I don’t know what the hell to make of it.
Stars: **

[2017 UPDATE: Well, 6 years later, I can say that this sketch hasn't really grown on me all that much, but I can kinda appreciate the intentionally-silly nature of the whole thing. On the other hand, the sketch co-stars Russell Brand, which alone makes it hard to sit through. BTW, in that video I linked, I love how the sketch description they wrote billed Andy as "Adam Samberg"... and keep in mind, this is SNL's official NBC site that made that mistake.]

Sketch - Pentagon Time Machine
• Another very, very random bizarre sketch tonight, but the humor here was thankfully more coherent than “A Spot of Tea” and I liked this a little more. Nothing great overall, but this was acceptable for the 10-to-1 slot and any sketch with Kristen as Nancy Pelosi has gotta be good.
• The shot of Taran sobbing exaggeratedly after Pelosi killed Washington was very funny, ending what was overall a great night for Taran. I also always enjoy Bill’s Cowardly Lion-esque crying as John Boehner.
• Very abrupt weak ending, however. I don’t get why Jason said “Uh-oh, that’s not good”.
Stars: ***

_________________________________________________________

Episode Highlights:
• Don’ You Go Rounin’ Roun to Re Ro
• Taran Killam’s Eminem impression

Episode Lowlights:
• Sweepstakes Giveaway Lady
• A Spot of Tea

Best Performer of the Night:
• Taran Killam

CASTMEMBER / HOST COUNT DOWN
ARMISEN: 4 sketches (O’Reilly Factor, Gublin and Green, Roun to Re Ro, Update)
ELLIOTT: 2 sketches (Sweepstakes Giveaway, Livin’ Single)
HADER: 5 sketches (Roun to Re Ro, Royal Taster, Update, Spot of Tea, Time Machine)
MEYERS: 1 sketch (Update)
MOYNIHAN: 2 sketches (Gublin and Green, Sweepstakes Giveaway)
SAMBERG: 2 sketches (Gublin and Green, Spot of Tea)
SUDEIKIS: 2 sketches (O’Reilly Factor, Time Machine)
THOMPSON: 1 sketch (Sweepstakes Giveaway)
WIIG: 4 sketches (Sweepstakes Giveaway, Roun to Re Ro, Livin’ Single, Time Machine)

BAYER: 2 sketches (Gublin and Green, Livin’ Single)
BRITTAIN: 2 sketches (Gublin and Green, Spot of Tea)
KILLAM: 6 sketches (Gublin and Green, Sweepstakes Giveaway, Royal Taster, Update, Livin’ Single, Time Machine)
PEDRAD: 3 sketches (O’Reilly Factor, Gublin and Green, Roun to Re Ro)
PHAROAH: 2 sketches (Gublin and Green, Update)

RUSSELL BRAND: 7 sketches (Monologue, Sweepstakes Giveaway, Roun to Re Ro, Royal Taster, Livin’ Single, Spot of Tea, Time Machine)

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