I've been transferring some of my original broadcasts of SNL to DVD format, and I'm using the chance to watch some of these shows for the first time in years. I thought I'd give some of my thoughts on some of them.
- Elijah Wood / Jet: OK show, good host. This had Amy Poehler's first Hillary Clinton impression, one of Maya Rudolph's earlier Whitney Houston bits (not quite as exaggerated and mean-spirited as they would get), and Chris Kattan making his second cameo since leaving the show. Not as good as I remembered it, though.
- Jack Black / John Mayer: Better than I remembered, still Black's weakest outing (2002 was probably his best though 2005 had Lazy Sunday and Spelling Bee). It's a shame they didn't do the Adult Students after this time. Wade Robson Project was kind of odd to have so early in the show (does anyone even remember that show now?) but Black saved a lot of the weaker material. Best sketch was Cat's In The Cradle, with Jack as the singer airing out childhood issues with his father (Horatio Sanz) while on stage, as new step-mom Shelley Long (Amy Poehler) points out she was on Cheers. I heard that was actually Jason Sudeikis' first aired sketch as a writer.
- Jennifer Garner / Beck: The start of a four-show hot streak for an uneven season. Will Forte and Seth Meyers look like little kids in the monologue that Tracy Morgan steals by dressing as cupid ("You make me feel like the Lion King!"). Good early Fred Armisen stuff with the "Lights Out" sketch. Garner had good energy and presence in her sketches. Debut of Amy Poehler's cartoonish Michael Jackson impression, kind of a slap in the face for Dean Edwards who does a better job as one of the alien Michaels. Saddam and Osama was actually funnier than I remembered it. I used to be sick of Jimmy Fallon and Horatio Sanz cracking each other up but I couldn't help but laugh at this one.
- Paris Hilton / Keane: At the time I didn't think it was bad as it could be, but yeah, this was one that was even worse than I remembered. I couldn't help but think about Tina Fey referring to Hilton as "a piece of shit" on Howard Stern all through the episode. She always seemed to be doing that damn hand-on-hip pose in sketches combined with this air of doing the show a favor just by being there, which would be annoying enough without blatant gaffes (crossing between Chris Parnell and the camera during the closing of Merv The Perv, not hiding her real arm when holding a fake for a Barbie sketch). Aside from an American Idol sketch and a nerd phone-sex line, the sketches were pretty weak too. Cheapkids.net seemed to be Jim Downey's way of showing disapproval of the host (the audience seemed a little uncomfortable in those, because they veered a little close to dead baby comedy).
It's interesting to see some of these shows and then watch a new show where Seth Meyers, Fred Armisen and Kenan Thompson are still hanging around. I'm also realizing Horatio Sanz was a much better cast member than I remembered.