Last night, I watched the Weekend Update Thursday edition of Saturday Night Live, immediately after watching The Office (on DVD) and The Daily Show (on Tivo). Woo boy, was that a mistake. I have come to realize the main advantage of putting Saturday Night Live on Saturday night: it does not have to come on the air immediately after something much, much funnier. Unless you count the waterskiing-squirrel segment on your local NBC news.
It began with a debate skit that managed to be, despite a Bill Murray cameo, even more boring than the actual debate. The main running joke: Tom Brokaw was a hardass about the time limits! Oh, snap! Dangerous political satire is back!
[Update: Seriously, if you have a little time on your hands, compare the sketch with the Wednesday-night post-debate riff on The Daily Show. Just for one example, where SNL got in a decent sight gag about McCain’s weird wandering about the stage, TDS asked what McCain was up to, giving him a bizarrely hilarious monologue about looking for his tiny dog, “Mr. Puddles.”]
The rest of the half hour was filled with Amy Poehler and Seth Myers at the Weekend Update desk. I felt more sorry for them than anything. NBC announced these Thursday specials back at the upfronts, as a way of wringing a little more money out of a show whose budget it had already throttled, and the way they settled on doing it was to do an extra, extended Weekend Update with a skit in front of it. Several of the bits—the news commentary “Oh, Really!?!”, Kenan Thompson as an economist who kept yelling “FIX IT!” and an excruciating Hall and Oates duet with Fred Armisen and
Bill Hader Will Forte—were more like watching an intentionally bad skit from 30 Rock, or an unintentionally bad one from Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.
It’s a shame, because it’s not like SNL lacks for on-air talent, but given what they had to work with, I am confirmed in my decision to watch SNL only in YouTube form. FIX IT!