Steve Martin / Jason Mraz
January 31, 2009


***** = Excellent, a possible future classic

**** = Great

*** = Average

** = Meh

* = How'd this get past dress?

Cold Opening - A Message from President Obama

• An okay opening. The constant “remember when”’s at the beginning with the music playing in the background and the letter from Bush with “READ OTHER SIDE” written on both sides of the paper were pretty funny.

• Jason’s Biden always makes me laugh, especially the backwards strutting at the end as he left. But his appearance made it really obvious that SNL still hasn’t found much about Obama to make fun of. I hope they don’t end up over-relying on Biden for all the laughs.

Stars: ***

Monologue - Steve Martin

• As expected, this was great with Steve just being himself.

• The funniest lines were the “scene-behinders” comment, his line about the whole audience being in his next movie called “Everyone Painfully Dies”, and the comment about his mother predicting millions of people watching will be gay and not know it.

Stars: ****

Commercial - Chewable Pampers

• I didn’t like this too much and it felt like SNL has already done similar commercials before but better.

• I complained about this before, but I don’t know why Kristen always has to play the lead female role in, like, every commercial this season and Jason always has to play her husband and wear glasses. Couldn’t Casey, Abby, or Michaela have played Kristen’s part in this commercial instead? It wouldn’t have made the commercial any funnier, but at least it would’ve been a nice change of pace from seeing Kristen all the time.

• The “What’s that smell?”/“dinner” part gave me a good laugh, though.

Stars: **½

Sketch - Introverts

• I had forgotten all about these characters. SNL hasn’t used them in a long time, and I’m surprised it appeared as the first sketch of the night this time, since the other times these characters appeared, it was late in the show.

• I liked seeing these characters again, though, and it’s one of the rare Kristen Wiig recurring characters I can still tolerate. But this felt a little too similar to the installments with Lindsay Lohan and Annette Bening where the characters were at the same bar location they were at tonight. I wish they would have put the characters in a new setting like they did in the Rainn Wilson installment where they were at an office.

• The “Sit on my face”, ecstasy as mints, and the conversation about a construction of a 3-inch denim vagina were the best moments of the sketch.

Stars: ***½

Digital Short - Laser Cats 4

• I was disappointed when I realized this would be yet another Laser Cats. How many more times can they drag this out? Even the intentional cheesy mistakes (cameraman reflection in the mirror) felt half-assed this time. And the ending with Lorne telling everyone to get out once again was the same-old same-old. That’s not funny or surprising anymore. Couldn’t they have done something different for the ending?

• I’m also disappointed they didn’t do a digital short utilizing Steve more, like the “Close Talkers” short with him and Will last time he hosted.

• How come Andy’s character wasn’t wearing glasses like he did in all the other Laser Cats?

• Steve suddenly appearing at the end as the dad and the “Bros Foureva” medal was a pretty cool conclusion, though, I have to admit.

Stars: **½

Sketch - Issues

• There was another talk show sketch called Issues on SNL before, with Jim Breuer as a stoner. Those weren’t that great, but I’d take that over this sketch any day.

• This was absolutely weak, which I was expecting once I saw Kenan had the lead role. They better not make this recurring.

• Steve’s man-boobs was pretty funny, though, as was Kenan asking if he could touch one of them.

Stars: *½

Sketch - Bernie Madoff

• What was the point of this? Where was the punchline? This went absolutely nowhere and I kept waiting and waiting for it to get funny. No laughs at all. Just Fred as Madoff calling people on the phone for what felt like forever.

• I don’t know what made them think Fred’s Madoff impression could carry its own sketch. It could barely even carry its own Update segment in the preceding episode. Fred tried his best as always, but not even he could save the weak material in this sketch.

Stars: *

Miscellaneous - In Love with Steve

• This was great and made good use of the female castmembers. I was also surprised to see Casey given a funny big part for once.

• Steve groping Kristen’s chest and saying she doesn’t qualify for a SAG award was hilarious.

Stars: ****

Weekend Update - Seth Meyers, featuring Gov. Rod Blagojevich, Angelina Jolie, Gov. David Paterson

• Best jokes: Blagojevich, RNC New Chairman, Pot Farm, Super Bowl, Girls Next Door, CSI ShamWow

• Jason’s commentary was okay and I liked the poem he wrote, and the (intentionally) badly-written 'senate/Tony Bennett' rhyme.

• Abby’s sudden Angelina Jolie appearance literally came out nowhere. I heard Abby did an impression of her in an audition video on YouTube, but I never got to see that. Her impression was very funny here and she looked exactly like her. This is the most Abby has made me laugh on the show so far.

• I was very surprised they did another Paterson bit after all the controversy over the last one. I’m happy to see Fred’s impression again, though, because his Paterson always hilarious, especially the binoculars at the beginning. He had a lot of good lines, like the archery line, the Forest Gump bit, and the slams against New Jersey. I also always laugh at the way he stares into the camera with that sly look after a joke.

Stars: ****

Sketch - Thomas’ Wife

• Okay, this sketch confirms it: I am officially getting more and more sick of Kristen Wiig with each passing episode. It needed to be said. She’s been going downhill this season. I didn’t think they’d be able to top Gilly as most annoying new character, but they managed to do just that merely one episode later with THIS sketch. Kristen needs to give it a rest with all of these unfunny, one-note, goofy-voiced characters - it’s just stale. As someone who used to like Kristen a lot, it’s sad watching her transformation into some kind of bad Molly Shannon/Mo Collins hybrid.

Stars: *

Miscellaneous/Musical Performance - Steve Martin and his band perform “Late for School”

Sketch - Billy “The Gun” Van Goff

• This was a very good sketch, especially the story about “the incident” where he threw his gun instead of the ball.

• Why were the interview portions pre-recorded and not live? It made me realize that almost all of the castmembers who were in this didn’t appear in any live sketches at all tonight (including poor Bobby, who’s birthday was the same night).

Stars: ****


Episode Highlights:

• Monologue

• Weekend Update

• Billy “The Gun” Van Goff

• In Love with Steve

Episode Lowlights:

• Thomas’ Wife

• Bernie Madoff

• Issues

• Chewable Pampers

Best Performer of the Night:

• Steve Martin


For a Steve Martin episode, this was a letdown. Expectations were very high and the strong quality of Steve’s last episode from 2006 proved he hadn’t lost his touch with SNL after a 12-year absence from hosting, but the result tonight was underwhelming. There were a few classic Steve Martin-centric material like the monologue and backstage sketch, but there was an unusual amount of sketches that went on and on with pretty much zero laughs. The writers didn't seem to go all out on this episode like they usually do when Steve hosts. This wasn’t quite as bad as the Rosario Dawson episode, but for Steve Martin standards, this was almost down there with his episode from 94-95.

After two weak episodes in a row, I hope the show isn’t falling into some kind of mid-season slump. We had a pretty strong first half of the season, and they need to continue that.


ARMISEN: 3 sketches (President Obama, Madoff, Update)

FORTE: 3 sketches (Introverts, Digital Short, The Gun)

HADER: 3 sketches (Introverts, Digital Short, The Gun)

HAMMOND: 1 sketch (The Gun)

MEYERS: 1 sketch (Update)

SAMBERG: 2 sketches (Digital Short, The Gun)

SUDEIKIS: 4 sketches (President Obama, Chewable Pampers, Update, The Gun)

THOMPSON: 3 sketches (Introverts, Digital Short, Issues)

WIIG: 4 sketches (Chewable Pampers, Introverts, Backstage, Thomas’ Wife)

ELLIOTT: 3 sketches (Introverts, Backstage, Update)

MOYNIHAN: 1 sketch (The Gun)

WATKINS: 1 sketch (Backstage)

WILSON: 3 sketches (Issues, Backstage, Thomas’ Wife)

STEVE MARTIN: 8 sketches (Monologue, Introverts, Digital Short, Issues, Backstage, Thomas’ Wife, Late for School, The Gun)

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