Saturday Night Live: Gabourey Sidibe/MGMT
B+

Saturday Night Live: Gabourey Sidibe/MGMT

B+

Saturday Night Live

Gabourey Sidibe/MGMT

Season 35, Episode 20
B+

Saturday Night Live

Gabourey Sidibe/MGMT

Season 35, Episode 20

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Last night may have been the first time I saw someone who was too excited to host SNL.  Sweet Gabby Sidibe (I haven't seen Precious but I have pretty much drank the Gabourey Kool-Aid) seemed so psyched to be there, so primed to give it her all that several times her mouth ran ahead of her brain and she stumbled over her lines.  But I'm not holding it against her: I think Sidibe deserved an A for effort last night and definitely has budding comedic chops.  Add that to an episode that was blessedly light on repeating sketches and characters and I was a pretty happy camper.  

The monologue got things off to an exuberant start as Sidibe posed like a superhero once she reached the stage and sang a song called "I'm Gabourey" to the tune of "It's in His Kiss," illustrating how she's not Precious. It had just the right amount of weirdness to it, like Bill Hader crossing the stage in a carnival barker's costume: "Balloons?" "Of every color!" I couldn't hear all the lyrics but the ones I did hear were funny like "Movies are not real life, that's something you should know."  If it wasn't hilarious it was infectious.

There were several sketches last night that went that way, maybe not comedy gold but something about them was just silly enough that I went along with them, like Kenan Thompson as Steve Harvey mispronouncing everything as he hosted Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?  I think somewhere around  Thompson's fourth big-teethed eye-bug I went "What the hell," and started laughing.  The Digital Short, "Cherry Battle," was also bizarre, as Andy Samberg and Gabby both appeared to shoot maraschino cherries into each others' mouths in slow motion.  It was gorgeously shot and I loved her facial expressions but of course the singing cherry stole the show (how often have I typed that sentence?)

Not everything was great but I'm not filled with rage about it. The address from the President might have been a cutting commentary about the government's relationship with Wall Street but it wasn't funny.  I could have lived without another installment of "The Suze Orman Show" (except the lines about her hair looking like a sleeping chicken and "Meredith Baxter Pony.")  I'm also done with sketches that involve Fred Armisen playing a Danish (or Finnish or some unspecific European nationality) person trying to appropriate American culture.  And I thought the "2010 Public Employee of the Year" awards ran on too long. Also, even though I've been aware of MGMT for a while I never heard them play: I think I like the music but wasn't so much a fan of the singing and lyrics although it was remarkable how half the band looked like Elvis Costello and "Weird Al" Yankovic.  I also liked the faces the guitarist made.

I really enjoyed the sketch with Gabourey as the crabby neighbor who keeps screaming at the guys to get off her stoop while increasingly revealing her intellectual genius.  This type of sketch felt almost old-fashioned, a basic setup with a twist, and I miss it.  I even liked the ending: "My Daddy used to sell Wikipedias. That's why we were always so poor." Sidibe clearly was putting her back into that one so that made it extra-enjoyable. I was also happy to see Jenny Slate get a funny sketch of her own last night. I thought "Alarm Clocks and More" was going to be just like the chandelier/fountain store commercials we've seen (starring Scarlett Johansson) but it had a lot of funny lines in it, like "Wake up, you got a boner about nothing," "Buzz, your body of work is a treasure" and "Buzz buzz, stop dreaming about horses, this is real life girl." "Update" was a good mix of jokes, characters and commentary too, as Seth Meyers had something to say both about the papacy and Arizona's impending immigration law.  Stefon the City Correspondent was so ridiculous it made Bill Hader (who played him) crack up and of all the recurring characters Kristen Wiig does I don't mind Judy Grimes so much. I was very excited to see writer John Mulaney make an appearance, both because I enjoyed him on Best Week Ever and also because he went to my college (Hoya Saxa!).  He delivered a cute monologue on Girl Scout Cookies. "You are not candy canes and you certainly are not the McRib."   

The last sketch was appropriately bizarre, charming, disgusting and funny for the last one of the night, with Will Forte starring as Sidibe's recovering racist boyfriend. 

As I've said I'm a sucker for any SNL episode where we see new material, and if that's combined with an enthusiastic host and a good dose of weirdness, I'm in. I laughed last night but I also thought it was a very good-natured, charming episode, if you can say that about a show where you heard a line about a man tracing lines from Robert Ludlum novels into Gabourey Sidibe's back with his penis. 

--Has Kenan Thompson been losing weight?

-- Welcome to Jurassic Park. Beard.

--High-waisted midgets. 

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