Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Leonard Pinth-Garnell presents: Bad SNL

I was talking with someone about this on Sunday, but Bill Simmons nicely sums up my feelings on the Tom Brady hosted episode of SNL:

THUMBS UP: For the great Tom Brady, who gamely hosted SNL on Saturday night and didn't do half-bad.

THUMBS DOWN: For the actual show, which could have been the worst SNL episode since the Janeane Garofalo Era. You know it's a crummy season when they can't even win with Tom Brady.

It's hard to determine what's the worst part about SNL these days -- the lack of star power, the lack of comedy, or Tina Fey and Amy Poehler giggling their way through Weekend Update like two teenagers who just did a round of Whip-Its -- but it's almost impossible to believe what's happened to this show since Will Ferrell left. I know SNL has always been cyclical (good for a couple of years, bad for a year or two, then good again), but the weird thing about this season is that they have some talented people in the cast (Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Kenan Thompson, even Fred Armisen). The biggest thing they're missing is a No. 1 starter (like Will Ferrell or Phil Hartman); there isn't one person on this cast who could ever headline his or her own movie someday. Still, the show shouldn't be this egregiously bad. Even 20 years ago with the Short-Guest-Crystal cast, the show was taking more chances than it does now (especially with taped pieces). How does that make sense? This never, never would have happened if Lorne Michaels was still alive.

I couldn't agree more...I thought Brady did a great job with terrible material. The writers really let him down, and it was sad to see so many cast members phoning it in while Brady was giving it his all (looking at you, Horatio Sanz, who couldn't even get through "Tom Brady's Falafel City" without flubbing lines, cracking himself up and derailing the sketch, unintentionally making Brady look like an improv master). Robert Smigel's "sexual harassment" video was the one saving grace, but it's too bad that my hometown sports hero didn't have the type of writers who worked on the show when such sports stars as Michael Jordan, Joe Montana, or Wayne Gretzky hosted. If only they had more cowbell...