Saturday Night Live

Season 33 Episode 10

Christopher Walken/Panic at the Disco

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Aired Saturday 11:30 PM Apr 05, 2008 on NBC
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Episode Fan Reviews (8)

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  • "In certain circles, it's filthy"

    7.0
    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.
  • 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.

    6.0
    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-
  • This show can use a little more cowbell.

    5.0
    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.
  • Walken hosts.

    7.0
    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.
  • Whoa! That's Dirty!

    5.5
    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!
  • Sketch by Sketch Review

    8.3
    Pre-show: I'm really excited for this one. We haven't had Walken host in I don't know how long, but I'm glad to have him back after a series of unimpressive hosts. He has been the staple of SNL classics like The Continental & More Cowbell so tonight I'm not expecting any less. It should be a major relief from the last three unimpressive episodes. As for Panic at the Disco, I haven't heard any of their latest stuff but their first album was pretty good so I'm interested to see them live.

    Cold Opening: Yet another Clinton opening. They really need to change this up a little. The first couple Democratic Debate sketches were great, but they started to fall flat from the 3AM phone call from the Amy Adam's episode and tonight. I just don't thing Poeler is that great as Hillary. The only saving grace for this is Darrell's Bill. The emphasis on his "speaking engagements" had me laughing. I also chuckled at Hillary's "psych" about her dropping out of the race. But as for next week, I hope they get some new material for the Clinton's.

    Monologue: Well this is an interesting move. I was almost positive that there would be the usual Walken song/dance monologue, but instead he ditched it to take questions from the audience. Usually, this move is pretty lame, but I liked it this time. I got really into it once he admitted he had written them himself. His answers were hilarious, especially the flight/invisibility question, and him refusing to answer what he does when he's not on camera. I didn't mind the change in monologue format since it was equally funny as his previous ones.

    "Grease" Rehearsal: What a great start to the episode. Walken was great in this, especially with his "That's dirty" lines. I was cracking up the whole sketch. The editing was hilarious also especially Gene Rayburn & "flocks, flocks, flocks." Amy's frozen looks as Mrs. Hash and Walken telling the student to shut up were also highlights. I've heard people are comparing this to the Cowbell sketch, and I don't think it's quite to that level but it's easily the best sketch we've had in a while.

    Eric's Goodbye Party: It's the second sketch of the night and I've already determined that this is one of the best shows of the season. This is genius, and it was interesting to see Walken play this kind of role. I loved the portrait and him stating he did it from memory. The writing was great, and Walken was the icing on the cake. Sudekis was also at the top of his game on this. I loved seeing Walken as the stalker, and the whole thing had me falling out of my seat.

    Laser Cats! 3D: I've never really gotten into these, and tonight wasn't any different. It's the first sketch of the night that was a snoozer for me. If they had a little more Walken it might have brightened the horizons for me, but this didn't impress me much. Seeing Dodd cameo was cool though.



    Sue & the Surprise Party: Sounds like SNL is setting up another recurring character for Wiig. And just like the others, it's funny enough, but it just really gets old fast, and before you know it you cringe seeing it because it has gotten so annoying. Hopefully they won't overuse this because even just seeing this once, I can tell that it would fade out quick. But for a one-time character Kristen did alright, and she had me laughing a few times. I liked Sue jumping out of the window and breaking the glass against her head to shut herself up. Walken didn't bring in any laughs as the straight man, which was a shame. Overall it was nothing special, but it could turn into a real catastrophe if we start seeing this on a regular basis.




    "Nine in the Afternoon"-Musical Performance



    Weekend Update: With how good the show was so far, I really expected more from Update. Most of the jokes just didn't click with me and I wasn't laughing nearly as hard as some other Update's this season. Andy as the pregnant transvestite was not funny at all, and wasn't needed. I had a feeling they would do something about this story but I thought it would be more clever than this. I only smirked at the baby kick/dong part. But I won't leave out the good things about Update. I really liked the Madonna & homeless men joke, but that was about it.



    Walken Family Reunion: This was great. The different impressions really did it for me. It was fun seeing all the cast member's interpretations. It was really a one-joke thing, but it worked. I also like sketches that utilize the talents of every cast member, so this was really fun to see.




    Indoor Gardening Tips: This was brilliant. Walken had me laughing the entire time. This is exactly the kind of sketch I like to see him in. I also liked seeing the googly eyes on the plants, and Walken's bit about not trusting the grass because he couldn't put the eyes on it. I really enjoyed seeing Walken playing a character that fits his personality best.



    Top Chef: This was very weak. This opinion may be due, in part, to the fact that I don't watch the show, so some of the impressions or atmosphere may be over my head. That being said, I still think they could've done more with the premise. The only saving grace is anything Christopher Walken says has me cracking up, just with his unique rhythm of voice, so this wasn't entirely laugh-less. I do think this is one of the show's low points though.



    "I Write Sins, Not Tragedies"- Musical Performance



    Larry King Live: I know alot of people didn't like this, but I thought it was pretty good. I don't think it was the best sketch of the night, but it wasn't bad. I like Armisen's Larry King, and Hammond's impressions are always great, so that is probably one of the reasons why it clicked with me. It was kind of short though, so it didn't have time to go very far. I liked all the gags with Hammond admitting that probably no one has read his books. Overall, for the last sketch of the night, this was pretty good.



    _____________________________________________________________



    Host: Walken is by far, the best host of the season. His roles made the entire show hilarious and his mere presence brought light to the darkest sketches of the night. He did an amazing job as always. I wouldn't say it was his best episode, but its right up there with his other appearances. It was great to have an SNL vet back since lately, the hosts haven't been anything special.



    Musical Guest: Panic did much better than expected. I heard they weren't much live, but they proved me wrong. I digged the acoustic performances and the throwback to their freshman album. I also hadn't heard "Nine in the Afternoon" before, but I really liked that, and it showed a new side tot heir music.

    Best Sketch of the Night: "Grease" Rehearsal or Office Stalker


    Worst Sketch of the Night: Top Chef
  • Chris Walken, Panic at the disco. Great Host, awful musical act, decent skits

    6.5
    Chris Walken is like a car accident, you almost feel dirty for watching, but you can't help yourself. The only thing that bothers me is the almost robotic gaze that Walken has when reading his teleprompter. I don't think the guy blinked more than twice the entire episode. It almost does add to his "mystique" though, because he cranks the creepiness up to "11". The episode started off 1/2 way decent. The monologue was entertaining with audience members reading questions off Walken-prepared Q cards. The episode then segways into the "Annual, once a year. Period." commercial...Hillarious.
    The weekend update piece is still the crown jewel of the show, however Seth Myers is beginning to go Jimmy Fallon-esque with his own amusement of his material. Also, do you remember when Andy Sandberg used to be funny? Now he just tries to slide by acting "cute". Amy Poehler is by far the biggest talent on the show, and she consistently proves it by stealing every scene she's in. The Walken family reunion was the best, and most uncomfortable skit, with Poehler shining, and Darrell Hammond making his 1 appearance for the episode. Why is this guy still on the show? His impressions were never that good, and Bill Hader has way more curent impressions (I drink your milkshake....).
    Overall the episode was subpar, but as with Fireworks, no matter how many times you watch them, there's still a little piece of you that wants to see someone get their fingers blown off. Christopher Walken is an M-80, and an unstable one at that. I would have watched on the off chance he blew up..
  • Well that sucked

    2.5
    Saturday Night Live,
    With Christopher Walken & Panic at the Disco.
    Well i could not wait to see this episode. I mean Christopher Walken the cowbell guy he is a great host. Well this episode killed it. Panic at the Disco werent good at all. They were inaudible. I could barley even hear them sing. Lets go threw the show the opening had the clintons talking about there income over the last 7 years. Moslty saing half of it is from Bill talking to people. I thought this sketch went on for to long and would have been better if it was just a WU joke and instead of a full long sketch. O wait it was. I give it no stars. The monolgue had chris getting the "audience" to ask question. That chris wrote up for himself. I thought this was funny ***. A a repeat of Annuale follows. Songs of Grease that had to be changed do do word problems. The only funny thing about this sketch was amy doing nothing. OMG *. Farewell Party was next. It had Jason character in his final day of work. Chris' characters shows his true stalkeris love for him. Before the end of the sketch he leaves to go kill and make love with his dead body. **1/2. Laser Cats was fat out horrible maybe they shouldnt do another one of these. With the same plan of andy and bill showing a vid to lorne who in turns hates it in the end. 1/20. Kristin's Sue was probably one of the best sketchs of the night. It has kristin as as in over excited person. Who messes up everything because of her excitment. Best part when she jump out the window. ***. Walken Family Reunion was the best sketch of the night. Having the cast has chris' family acting just like him voice and all.***1/2. Gardening Tips sketch was probably just put in to waste time. Kinda interesting to see a person glue eyes to plants because they are afrauid of plants. Sure this a bit funny but went no were in the end *1/2. Top Chef sketch was the worst sketch of the night infact worst of the season. And thats hard to say. Has chris as a person who cant cook with stuff he has.Thats it no stars. The night ended with a Larry King Live sketch. With fred as a larry and darrell as jimmy carter. Larry keeps asking why jimmy must write more books when probably nobody reads them. weird and to shiort *. Weekend Update was probably the shortest one of the season. Had a feeling they would do that man having a baby. Yet nothing about kenans drug run in :( . Over all i was 100% disappointed with this episode. On the bright side its not as bad as Amy Adams episode. With this episode i dont really want to see chris host for a while. His cue card reading in every sketch is annoying. Overall i give this episde a 1/2
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