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Saturday Night Live

Season 33 Episode 10

Christopher Walken/Panic at the Disco

Aired Saturday 11:30 PM Apr 05, 2008 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
53 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Live from New York, it's... Darrell Hammond and Amy Poehler! Sketches include "The Clintons' Income," "Annuale," "Grease Rehearsals," "Kevin's Farewell Party," "Laser Cats 3-D" (Digital Short), "Excited Sue," "Walken Family Reunion," "Indoor Gardening Tips," "Top Chef," and "Larry King Live." Panic at the Disco performed "Nine in the Afternoon" and "I Write Sins, Not Tragedies."moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • "In certain circles, it's filthy"

    A Review by "HelloStuart," Amateur Critic and Pregnant Man

    After a ridiculously long wait, I'm thrilled to see Christopher Walken host for the first time in five years. Simultaneously odd and charming, the Oscar-winning actor is pretty much a safe bet for a good show, much like Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin at the top of their respective games. It's hard to pinpoint what makes Walken such a great host, but it probably has something to do with his weird vocal patterns, which somehow makes everything he says sound like some abstract one-liner. The musical guest is Panic at the Disco, the emo-pop quartet led by androgynous singer-songwriter Brendon Urie.

    And now, the sketch-by-sketch analysis:

    COLD OPENING: President and Senator Clinton (DH, AP) elaborate on the revelation of their $109 million income, and then try to explain their earnings in the most faux-humble way possible. Assuming that this will snowball into yet another Clinton scandal, Hillary fakes her bow out from the presidential race and essentially tells the media to f*** themselves. Just like real life.

    MONOLOGUE: Rather than do his usual song n' dance routine, Max Zorin fields audience questions that he wrote himself; problem is, he won't answer them. This was a bizarre twist to an old recurring gag, but it worked because no other host could pull off being so daffy and indecisive.

    "Annuale": Yeah, it's that hormone-rampage ad spoof again, and it's just as funny the second time around.

    "Grease Rehearsals": A high school drama teacher (Chris) censors the living hell out of an otherwise nondescript performance of the classic sock-hop musical. The teacher dissects the lyrics of "Greased Lightning," changes them into something less offensive, then choreographs a musical number of complete nonsense. It may seem like some basic improv exercise, but my description doesn't give it justice.

    "Kevin's Farewell Party": While getting a company sendoff, a bland, middle-management type (JS) is weirded out by his colleague Eric (Chris), whose initial social awkwardness mutates into sociopathic behavior. Again, Walken plays the heavy and runs with it; there's a certain unpredictability to this one-off character, and from a comedy standpoint it pays off in spades. I'd love to have that portrait, though…

    DIGITAL SHORT: Bill and Andy interrupt Lorne's power lunch with Senator Chris Dodd to present "Laser Cats 3-D." In what I'm assuming will be the final chapter of the trilogy, our two heroes must save the cat population from Mayor Top Hat (KT), but tragedy provides a daunting obstacle. I don't know if this was the funniest of the three (I enjoyed them equally), but I did get a good chuckle out of "Laser Dog" (i.e. a puggle puppy) and Walken's odd costume.

    "Excited Sue": The name says it all- a very manic lady (KW) nearly thwarts a surprise birthday party for one of her relatives (CW). This smells like a potential recurring character, and though Kristen has her zany side, Sue veered into an annoying, Cheri Oteri-type territory that I deeply afraid of.

    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: Panic borrows Vampire Weekend's string section for their current single, the Beatle-esque "Nine in the Afternoon."

    WEEKEND UPDATE: In a segment that was heavy on the usual jokes and light on the quirks, the only guest commentary of note was by transgendered mom-to-be Tom Beatie, who invited Amy and Seth to a male-friendly baby shower. Granted, it's not really noteworthy as much as it was somewhat expected, as male pregnancies only seem to happen once every 20 years or so, but I liked that Andy didn't play him over the top.

    "Walken Family Reunion": Apparently everyone in Chris' family has the same tics and mannerisms as he does. Yes, this was a cheap excuse for the entire cast to do their best Walken impressions, but is it wrong to have a little fun every now and then?

    "Indoor Gardening Tips": A man (Chris) with a severe trepidation towards plants attempts to share his advice on raising and nurturing fauna. His coping mechanism is plastic googly eyes, which delivers an interesting metaphor for the gardener's neuroses. It's another showcase for Walken in a night dominated by his presence, but this sketch finds Walken's approach tailor-suited to some abstract, albeit clever character analysis.

    "Top Chef": On the Chicago-based reality series, one contestant (Chris) is completely flummoxed by the premise of the show and the challenge that is offered. The faux-hawk joke was cute, but Walken's presence sort of worked against him, like if he'd never seen the show and felt like going on a Woody Allen-style rant.

    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: The boys from Nevada give us a fresh interpretation of a track from their first album, "I Write Sins, Not Tragedies."

    "Larry King Live": Larry (FA) helps promote another inessential book by Jimmy Carter (DH) that will be bought by many and read by very few. Fred gives up the senile element of his King impression to play straight man to Carter's mortified stammering. In spite of that, this sketch didn't really impress me at all.

    To elaborate on something that I said before, Christopher Walken has a tendency to act on instinct and make the slightest movement seem entertaining. The producers of SNL quickly realized that if he pulls the reigns of a particular show, he will make everyone and everything around him funnier. Tonight was no exception; granted, there have been better shows hosted by Walken, but the effort and dynamic doesn't change. I've been told by my old buddy Mel that Panic is not a strong live act (especially on TV), which made tonight's performance a surprise of sorts. Maybe it was the extra rehearsal time, or perhaps a desire to prove themselves to a broader audience, but Panic's performance was driven by energy if not substance.

    Sketches/Segments That Will Probably Be Removed in Repeats: "Annuale," Weekend Update, "Top Chef," and "Larry King Live."

    Next Week: Ashton Kutcher hosts for the third time, with musical guest Gnarls Barkley.

    "HelloStuart" got on the Kansas City Royals bandwagon about twenty minutes before you did. He can be contacted at sma17kc@aim.com.moreless
  • Walken was completely unprepared, but the sketches seemed a bit underdeveloped as well. Given Walken's illustrious history with SNL, this episode can only be thought of as a disappointment.

    Bill and Hillary cold open - So the joke is that the press is stupid because they didn't know the Clintons were wealthy all along? It was executed very clumsily and they only moment that was smirk worthy was Bill's remark, "nothing more," while casting sidelong glances at Hillary. Grade: C-

    Monologue – This was the best monologue of the year IMO. The question and answer sessions have been done numerous times before, but this was the first time they have had the host submit the questions to be asked. Walken milked the pregnant pauses so that you didn't know if he was going to berate or congratulate the audience member asking the question. Perfectly suited to Walken's style. The show looks very promising at this point. Grade: A+

    Grease Rehearsal – Grease is not unique among musicals in that it features racy lyrics, but it has always struck me as a little funny that so many high schools perform a musical which is essentially about getting laid. Obviously somebody at SNL thought that was a funny too. Unfortunately, not everything in life that makes you grin will be good enough material to fashion a sketch. This is one of those ideas better left alone. Repetitive and boring, this sketch never found its groove. Grade: C-

    Farewell Party – This is the type of sketch that gets written specifically for Walken. The "creepy guy" sketch. There were some good moments, especially the bathroom remembrances and the mix CD, but Walken seemed determine to tank this sketch by never looking Sudeikis in the eyes and staring only at his cue cards. Still, Walken is the ultimate "creepy guy" so it wasn't all bad. The tongue in the ear was definitely the highlight. Grade: B-

    Laser Cats! 3D digital short – Laser Cats is probably one of those things that you either love or hate. I fall into the former camp. This one was the best installment yet. All of kinds of references to the evil James Bond villain to the Star Wars impossible shot and subsequent awards ceremony. The horrible effects, cheesy costumes, literal names, and derivative story were all perfect. Sure it looks like the work of high school students. But, that's the point. Grade: A+

    Surprise Party – A feature for Kristen's ultra-excited personality. She does a great job with this type of character, but the sketch just got old very quickly. And with this type of sketch there is no good way to end it. Jumping out of the window twice is not really a great ending. Walken was still glued to the cards. Grade: C

    Weekend Update – A much shorter and improved WU. I really like that there was no guest commentator (or two) tonight and the jokes were very crisp. The appearance by Andy was enjoyable and much better than a Kenan-in-a-dress segment. My favorite WU of the year and I hope they keep this format. It clocked in at just 7 minutes, which is about half the time of some of the longer WUs. Grade: A

    Walken Family Reunion – An excuse to have the entire ensemble show off their Walken impression. I thought Amy did the best, but I couldn't even tell what Andy and Kenan were trying to do. Since it relied solely on impressions, and most were just so-so, this did not do much for me. Grade: C

    Indoor Gardening Tips – Walken always seems to get a solo piece and this was tonight's. I get the feeling that was written just so we could hear Walken say "googly eyes" over and over again. The writers probably heard him say Google and laughed their butts off and had to find a way to get him to say google on the show. Or maybe I'm just dreaming. Original? Yes. Good? Not particularly. It was really more in line with what they great Phil Hartman used to do. Even with poor material, Hartman could have slam-dunked this one. This Grade: C-

    Top Chef – Those cooking shows like Iron Chef can be somewhat entertaining to see what they create with the specified ingredients. Unfortunately, I think they are more entertaining than this sketch. I would have rather seen Walken at least attempt to create something rather than whine to everybody that he can't cook with those ingredients. He could have whipped up something that gave the arrogant judge food poisoning. The sketch would end with Armisen curled up on the ground clutching his stomach. Now THAT would be funny. Grade: C-

    Larry King – I guess President Carter writes a bunch of books that nobody reads. Who knew? Apparently nobody, since they are not being read. An OK sketch primarily because I think Armisen does a good job portraying the buffoonery that is King. Grade: B-moreless
  • This show can use a little more cowbell.

    Cold Open: Alright, we know now that Jim Downey thinks **** Is the New Black. Someday he can go back to poking fun at the candidates instead of pulling punches.

    Monologue: Chris Walken certainly doesn't have to perform a song-and-dance monologue, and sure enough this Q-and-A bit suited his style well. That said, you can't help but wonder WHY things got changed. Perhaps his dancing shoes didn't fit his old feet anymore.

    Grease rehearsal: The Cowbell-style sketch of 2008, Walken just can't help but interrupt music rehearsals with his own input. This time, though, he's forced to carry the weight of the entire sketch. The writing was fine (a Gene Rayburn reference!), but not stellar, kinda lukewarm.

    Office stalker: An improvement, the host gets a good opportunity to interact with Sudeikis in a good setting. Liked the singing, Jason's controlled desperation, and the souvenir that will likely be displayed on the living room wall when Jason becomes a movie star and Cribs stops by.

    Digital Short: I loved the first one, and I loved the second one. Laser Cats! 3D was just too similar, with the low-budget jokes really becoming stale. The Chris Dodd cameo was nice, but Walken's appearance was obviously wasted.

    Surprise Party: Oh god. Kristen gasps louder than her Publisher's Clearing House character, and any hints at realism are almost immediately killed by the stupid plot.

    "Nine in the Afternoon": Panic at the Disco may very well see one of the great Mass Fan Exoduses (Exodi?) of 2008, but this is at least a catchy tune with appropriate Classic Pop influence. So it was fine.

    Update: Nice and short. I just wish that Andy's bit was cut out (how on earth did people think that was funny?), and that Seth could lose some of the ego. The camera posing at the end was way too much.

    Walken Family Reunion: SNL should know better than anyone that Less Is More. Trim the sketch to just Chris, Bill, Amy, and maybe one other castmember, give them each a few more lines, and the sketch turns from hollow to solid.

    Indoor Gardening Tips from a Man Who's Very Scared of Plants: Finally we come across the pure Walken sketch. This was quite funny, of course, perhaps the best of the evening overall. Proof that a good sketch can be made after a pitch of "we get Walken to say 'googley-eyes.'"

    Top Chef: Is there a clause somewhere that SNL can only parody Cable TV shows? I mean, most of the good ones are on cable, but that's no reason to avoid the broadcast networks entirely. Anyways, a solid impression from Kristen here, but nothing else works. Is that the best premise they could come up with? That a contestant was just kinda stumped?

    "I Write Sins Not Tragedies": Brendon Urie was "pitchy," to use a completely original word. And I don't think their attempt at a low-key version of the hit single completely clicked. But Fun with Censorship, as "goddamn" becomes "ahh-damn."

    Larry King Live: Darrell Hammond's 1000th-or-so solid impression, and another one that's been buried at the end of the show. Liked the idea, though, seeing as we should all be buying Carter's books, but I totally have no interest in reading them.

    Certainly the weirdest show of the season, as I kinda expected, since there were some laugh out LOUD moments just with Walken's delivery alone, despite a sea of lousy writing and some laziness from the cast.moreless
  • Walken hosts.

    Christopher Walken, one of the best character actors and comedic voices of our generation, hosted tonight. While he is essentially a parody of himself at this point, that does not mean he cannot still be funny from time to time. He brought back Laser Cats, this time in 3D and while it was far from the best of the series, it was not as bad as many trilogies out there. These googly eyes was not exactly riveting entertainment, nor was the mass impressions of him during the family reunion, but it was kind of funny in a silly way. This was a silly, but still kind of enjoyable, show.moreless
  • Whoa! That's Dirty!

    This week for SNL, we had Christopher Walken host for his 100th or so time. Oh, it's 7 times. But, anyways, musical guest this week was "Fall Out Boy" sound alike, Panic At The Disco. All SNL fans knew they were guaranteed some twisted, funny humor.

    Clinton Campaign: Another Hillary sketch. Now, everybody is saying "another pro Hillary sketch?" SNL is not pro-Clinton! We don't have much on Obama, so Hillary is much easier to impersonate. Anyways, this sketch was a dudder to the max.

    Monologue: Very creative. Questions that Chris wrote. His reactions were great.

    Annuale: repeat. But the crowd seemed to like it more. I.E: after Casey's line, "That's All I have time for."

    Greased Lightening Rehersals: Creative. At first, I thought Christopher was playing a pervert who wanted the kids to whisper dirty things in his ears.

    Office Good-byes: Another creative sketch. The ending was funny, but it was longer than it should have been.

    Laser Cats III: Okay, we've lost it with Laser Cats. It was funny the first time around, and by the second time, the saliva was coming off the envelope.

    Sue: This was hilarious! Kristen once again was great! Jumping out the window, coming back in, and jumping out again!

    Update: Consistant tonight. Andy as Thomas Bettie was funny.Best joke of the night goes to Madonna on Vanity Fair.

    Walken Get together: All the impressions were good. It was a good way to get all the repertory players (sans Seth) in. The energy really never got climatic.

    Googly Eyes: It freaked me out at times with the googly eyes, and the sketch never reached all energy.

    Top Chef: Kristen was good at impersonating the host. Walken once again was hilarious. Buut, the writing was just plain lazy.

    Larry King Live: When I saw the logo come on, I was cheerful, because of how fine the Brian Williams version did. This sketch absolutely went no where. It wasn't funny, and there was really no joke.

    Christopher Walken had his eyes glued to the cue cards, but that's his reputation, so you kinda love him for that. Panic At The Disco performed some song I have no interest for, and another song that's about 3 years old now.

    Tonight's episode was underwhelming. While a few sketches, like Sue, Grease Lightening, and Chris's monologue, were hilarious, most of them had no energy. After the wonderful February/March episodes (save for Adams/Weekend), we had a dudder.

    Next week: Ashton Kutcher returns.... April Fools...? Gnarls Barkley also makes their debut on SNL. Excited for that!

Panic! At The Disco

Panic! At The Disco


Guest Star

Christopher Dodd

Christopher Dodd


Guest Star

Christopher Walken

Christopher Walken


Recurring Role

James Downey

James Downey

Audience Member

Recurring Role

Paula Pell

Paula Pell

Audience Member

Recurring Role

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (5)

    • High School Students: (singing)
      "Go, Gene Rayburn, you're runnin' up the quarter mile!
      Gene Rayburn! Go, Gene Rayburn!
      Hubba-hubba-hubba, Hubba-hubba-hubba-hubba!
      Pistons, plugs, and shocks!
      Flocks, flocks, flocks!
      You know that I'm not braggin'
      Have you ever seen a dragon?
      Gene Rayburrrrrrrrrnnn!

    • Man who is scared of plants: Hi. These are my cactuses. I put googly eyes on them. A lot of people are putting googly eyes on their cactuses nowadays. I think it's because cactuses are dangerous. Cactuses have pricklers that can stab you in your hands, and your throat, your face. So you need to know where you stand with them all times. The only way to know where to stand with someone is to look into their eyes, right? Normally plants don't have eyes, so it's hard for me to trust them. Hence, googly eyes. Still, a good rule of thumb. Don't turn your back on a cactus.

    • Seth Meyers: According to a recent survey, the most popular name for a dog is "Max", while the least popular is "Osama bin Sniffen."

    • Seth Meyers: After Governor Bill Richardson switched his support from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama last week, an angry Bill Clinton said, "Five times to my face he said he would never do that." Wow, so he looked you right in the face and lied to you. What's that like?

    • Seth Meyers: Hillary Clinton on Tuesday said she is not a quitter, and compared herself to Rocky Balboa - the washed-up, over-the-hill, white contender, who, despite a herculean effort, is soundly beaten by the charismatic black guy.

  • NOTES (5)

    • Sketches/segments not shown in the 60 minute version: "Walken Family Reunion," "Top Chef," "Larry King Live," "Annuale" (rerun 2/23/08, "Laser Cats 3D" (Digital Short), "Eric's Farewell," and Panic at the Disco's performance of "I Write Sins, Not Tragedies."

    • The "Annuale" commercial in this episode is repeated from the episode Tina Fey hosted four weeks earlier; Fey is in the sketch.

    • During the goodnights, Jason Sudeikis is seen showing off a pair of Kansas Jayhawks basketball shorts. Earlier that day, Kansas beat North Carolina in the penultimate round of the 2008 NCAA Final Four.

    • Sketches cut after dress rehearsal: A man (Christopher Walken) entertains guests until his primate-human hybrid comes out of hiding; Hillary Clinton (Amy Poehler), Chelsea Clinton (Casey Wilson), Sinbad (Kenan Thompson) and Sheryl Crow (Kristin Wiig) are a bullet-dodging, gun-shooting quartet in 1996 Bosnia; John McCain (Darrell Hammond) gives the price of various items; An oil salesman (Fred Armisen) weeps uncontrollably when we he doesn't get his way with a perspective buyer (Jason Sudiekis); and during Weekend Update, Will Forte sings about Super-Delegates and blind comic Pep Walters (Fred Armisen) does stand-up about fashion.

    • This is the first time Christopher Walken has hosted in which there was no song-and-dance monologue or a "Continental" sketch.