Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Saturday Night Live: Zach Galifianakis/Vampire Weekend

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When I read Nathan's recap of last week's SNL I noted his observation that maybe this show shouldn't be covered every week anymore. "Oh, but that was for the Jennifer Lopez episode," I thought optimistically. "I've got Zach Galifianakis!"  I think it was the high hopes I had for the episode that made my disappointment that much worse.  Way to take one of the funnier, odder guests the show has had in a while and almost completely squander him.

Following a more-sad-than-funny cold opener (once again, SNL can't find the sweet spot in skewering the Obama administration. Repeating the fact that the health care bill is unpopular didn't make me laugh either the first or fifth time Fred Armisen said it), my hopes were raised dramatically by Galifianakis' monologue, which he started off by ordering the audience sternly to "STOP CLAPPING" and then observing that it was "great to be back."  I was laughing during his Brooklyn, "Hey everybody, here comes the choo-choo!" jokes and enjoyed as always his piano routine. 

But then.

I had such a bad taste in my mouth resulting from the funny/strange monologue being followed by that goddamned kissing-family sketch (nothing like knowing the next two and a half minutes of your life are going to be wasted once you hear the words "I have to warn you: my family is pretty close") that I was just spoiled on the entire episode.  It was like I had been offered a piece of humor pie and before I could have taken a bite it was thrown into the toilet. Between the kissing family and the Today show, I just wasn't even up for giving the rest episode the benefit of the doubt.  I didn't want to laugh because I was so annoyed.  That's how much I hate those sketches. Tonguing dogs, kissing dead people, tasering Kathy Lee Gifford's tits—lazy, uninspired, juvenile-in-a-bad-way slapstick really isn’t what I hope to see when I watch this show.  

There were a few sketches where the show actually played to Galifiankis' strengths, like "Zach Drops By the Set" and "Pageant Talk" (I liked Kristen Wiig's use of her cigarette) but I couldn't recover after the writers decided to frontload the show with crap, so I also couldn't get into the bidet sketch or the Situation Room or Weekend Update.

On Friday, Kyle Ryan asked on Twitter, "So here's the question: Will SNL rise to the occasion for Zach Galifianakis, or just bring him down to their level?"  I wouldn't go so far as to say Galifianakis was dragged down to anyone's level but there was certainly no occasion-rising here.

Stray observations:

—So Zach's beard is fake?  I just realized that it was gone during "Pageant Talk" but returned for the closing credits. 

—God help me, I still can't hate "What Up With That" despite the fact that it's been so overused. There is always one stupid new thing, like the show choir kids or the guys on stilts that makes me smile despite myself.

—Kenan Thompson looked very pretty as Mo'Nique.