It was safe to say that this episode had "disaster" written all over it. When it was announced that supposedly misogynistic comedian Andrew Dice Clay would host the penultimate episode of year fifteen, cast member Nora Dunn boycotted the show and scheduled musical guest Sinead O'Connor followed suit. The controversy made newspaper headlines, and the entire week was marred by heresy. Still, The Diceman was a decent host even if he was never invited again, though The Spanic Boys and torch singer Julee Cruise struggle to replace a pop phemomenon who would tear up a photo of the pope on this very show 2 1/2 years later.
And now, ladies and germs, a sketch-by-sketch recap:
COLD OPENING: The headlines are recreated: "Andrew Dice Clay To Host," one newspaper reads. "Nora Dunn Leaves Saturday Night Live," reads another. "Sinead O'Connor Objects To Clay, Joins Dunn In Protest," states the third headline. We now find Andrew "Dice" Clay standing on top of a bridge, mock-wishing he had never hosted. Along comes Mephistopheles, showing him that "It's a Wonderful Dice."
MONOLOGUE: Andrew Dice Clay addresses the controversy very maturely, though he loses points for calling Nora Dunn "a broad" before threatening some hecklers in the audience.
"Diceman Employment Agency": A look inside a NYC employment office as run by Mr. Clay. He offers one client (Kevin Nealon) a gig as a drug dealer's lookout, then turns a schoolteacher (Victoria Jackson) into a prostitute. At the end of the sketch, "TV Guide Cheers and Jeers" critiques the sketch for degrading women, then shows Hitler for some apparent reason. Okay sketch, but too much politically incorrect humor for my tastes.
"Cooking With The Anal-Retentive Chef": Our favorite obsessive-compulsive renaissance man is henpecked by his mother (Jan Hooks) while making a favorite dish. Obsessively preachy and compulsively unfunny.
MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: Making their network television debut, Wisconsin's very own The Spanic Boys perform "Keep On Walking." Apparently, they were an up-and-coming act in 1990, but they never reached their full potential. If you saw this goofy father and son perform, you'd understand why.
WEEKEND UPDATE: Dennis Miller jokes about the boycott, amongst other things. Meanwhile, Annoying Man (Lovitz) performs Beethoven's fifth with a fork on a chalkboard, and Michael J. Fox (David Spade) is interviewed via satellite.
"NBC Afterschool Special": A man (Clay) tries answer his son's tenacious query: "Dad, What's Sex?" As it turns out, the father has a very distorted and immature view of sex, as does a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood (Hartman). "Cheers and Jeers" returns to critique the sketch just before commercial break. By default, the best sketch of the night.
"WPLI Radio": DJ Tony Trailer (Nealon) won't shut up. Need I say more?
"Jan's Protest": Jan Hooks announces that she's protesting tonight's episode by phoning in her performace. Phil Hartman points out since she played a minor role in her two sketches tonight, nobody would've noticed anyway. I guess that would explain why "Anal-Retentive Chef" sucked.
"Cool Mite": Clay plays a ten-inch-tall hoodlum with an eye for the ladies. A silly premise wears thin easily.
MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: Julee Cruise performs "Falling." She's no Susannah McCorkle, but I guess she'll do.
"Ridiculous Bull": Jake LaMotta (Clay) asks his brother (Lovitz) to keep hitting him with kitchen appliances to show how tough (and stupid) he is. Kinda sorta funny.
"Kevin's Protest": Kevin Nealon announces he's protesting the show by appearing in no more than three sketches tonight. The joke is that he appeared in more sketches than anyone else in this episode. Funny, but Jan's protest was more than enough, thank you.
The next-to-last episode of year fifteen was, despite the bad press, a mixed bag. Nora Dunn would return to the cast for the season finale, but she was ostracized by her stressed-out castmates and left the show soon after. There was only one really funny sketch, though you could also count Weekend Update for preventing this episode to be the low point of SNL's renaissance cast. Moments and sketches that could be cut for syndication, if E! had the stones to air this episode: Spanic Boys, WPLI, and the two "protests." Give the cast credit though- they were dogged by a dissenter and a controversy, and they still put on a decent show.