Summer Song Monologue Monologue
Maya and Marty get right into things with their opening monologue this week posing that age old question, what will be the song of the summer? Well, they have their own idea with a song consisting of just a random string of words associated with summer called “Summer 16.” Kenan also joins in, but Marty’s verse takes a detour into not-so-good summertime memories. I’ve heard some songs recently that do sound like random words strung together so this one gave me a few chuckles.
Comedians In Cars
We all know Jerry Seinfeld from his classic sitcom, and many more people know him now from his Crackle online series Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, where he drives around with a famous friend to chat and … have coffee. This bit is a compilation of “lost episodes” featuring guests Larry David, Khloe Kardashian, Neill DeGrasse Tyson and … some random woman Jerry picked up behind a dumpster. Maya plays a very tall Kardashian who can’t fit in the car and gets hit in the face with tree limbs, and Amy Poehler is the random woman with her own punchline. The biggest laughs come from Kenan’s socially awkward Tyson and Marty’s uncanny portrayal of David. He and the makeup are so good it took a minute to realize it wasn’t Larry David. And he made Seinfeld laugh, so you can’t not help but laugh too. The best sketch of the night.
A faux trailer held over from the previous show (which got bumped in favor of the Broadway stars tribute to Orlando), this features Ana Gasteyer and Kevin Kline in the movie adaptation of the classic children’s book Everyone Poops, but reimagined as an epic political thriller. Gasateyer really gives an earnest performance here, really taking the subject seriously, and the production values are off the charts. Unfortunately, it’s so earnest and dramatic that it forgets to actually be funny.
Team USA Gymnastics
The girls’ USA gymnastics teams faces some big questions when it’s reported that some of the teens may be juicing. Two of the 14-year-olds, played by Maya and Amy, do look a little suspect and even though they try to point the finger at the other girls, their roid rage kind of gives them away. It’s a mildly humorous sketch with the ladies in some heavily padded outfits, but the biggest laugh probably comes from Amy punching a locker.
Time Traveling Narcissist
Will Forte plays a scientists who has discovered a way to implant a brain into a robot. His future self, played by Marty, comes back to warn him not to do it or he’ll start the robot uprising. But apparently there’s another uprising as the future doc gets a good look at his younger self, realizing what a hottie he used to be. And it just gets weirder and more uncomfortable from there, using some awkward same sex kissing to elicit horrified laughter.
Kenan and Marty play anchors on a sports network show covering The American Open tennis tournament, but the laughs come from the tape of Maya’s tennis pro constantly hitting the same ball boy (Mikey Day) in the face and various other places with the tennis ball. It was hilarious the first couple of times, but the sketch goes on way past its expiration date (they say comedy is funny in threes, but not the same gag over and over again).
Will Forte stars as a puppeteer who works with marionettes. Except he’s had a terrible accident with a car window that broke seven of his fingers, making his arts council presentation a bit of a mess. Maya, Marty, Mikey and Amy play the marionettes, trying to be limp while connected to straps that may have been manipulated by the off-stage crew. It was hard to tell if the actors were actually making the movements or if they were totally at the mercy of the crew, so it was funny-ish but still couldn’t quite hit that home run as it also went on a bit too long.
Jiminy Glick and Jerry Seinfeld
Jiminy Glick has a sit down with Seinfeld, their first face-to-face in fifteen years. It goes just about as well this time with Glick still not a fan of Jerry’s blank expression and attention to minutiae. But he does crack Jerry up a few times, especially when he starts praising Veep. These bits are always good for a few laughs as the guest tries not to break down. Not the funniest of the bunch this season, but not bad either.
Red Light District
Kenan and Mikey play two college students hitting the Red Light District of Amsterdam, a little put off (really) by the prostitutes dancing in windows. Then they come across Kathy, a loud Midwestern housewife taking part in a “Say Yes” seminar, which is how she ended up (with her equally loud friend Bev) as a prostitute in Amsterdam (one of the many bizarre tasks they’ve taken on). It’s a funny set-up that only pays off when Amy’s Bev presses her butt against the window to entice the boys. The rest of it is just meh. Maya and Amy should have revived their “Bronx Talk” gals for this situation, and it would have been a lot funnier.
Barnes & Son 2
Another awkward commercial for the father-son law firm that ended with a punchline that made the audience gasp, groan and chuckle at the same time (and I’m not sure if Marty’s reaction at the end was part of the bit or a break in character to acknowledge the audience reaction).
Maya, Marty and Kenan take the stage once again to serenade us out until next week. They closed the third episode with this same tune, but have different lyrics this week that go from touching to comedic, showcasing the trio’s lovely harmonies.
Five episodes in — and only one to go for the season — the show still has some very uneven writing with more hits than misses. Once in a while there is a comedy gem, but as with SNL, sometimes the writers just don’t know when to quit. I love Maya Rudolph and Martin Short, and I grew up on the variety shows of the 1970s, so I really, really want to like this show more. I keep tuning in hoping that things will improve, so they’ve got one more shot to get this right. Unfortunately, the ratings have dropped by about 2 million viewers since the premiere (6.2 million) with the John Cena third episode hitting 5.1 million. This week’s show did see a 7.5% uptick from the June 21 episode, so the show’s fate rests with the finale’s ratings and writing. Perhaps NBC, and Lorne Michaels, will see some value in beefing up the writing staff and maybe retooling the show to give it that classic variety feel — more sketches, more music, more laughs!