Saturday Night Live

Season 32 Episode 4

Hugh Laurie/Beck

0
Aired Saturday 11:30 PM Oct 28, 2006 on NBC
8.2
out of 10
User Rating
89 votes
19

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

EDIT
Live from New York, "Home of the Jew," it's... Borat! Sketches include "Kazakhstan Ministry of Information," "Most Haunted," "Republican Attack Ads" (cartoon), "2006 World Series," "The Queen's Visit," "Hardball," "Hugh's Protest Song," "Broken Leg," "The Curse of Frankenstein," and "Job Interview." Beck performed "Nausea" and "Clap Hands."moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • "Home of the Jew," Land of the B-R-A-V-E

    7.5
    A Review by "HelloStuart," Amateur Critic and Curmudgeonly Medical Genius



    As I start this review, I’m openly wondering "what the hell is happening here?" I certainly don’t want to panic myself, but when was the last time a season of SNL started this slowly? I can probably count the number of purely funny sketches on one hand. So far, the writing has been mediocre but not from the same ailment of years past; where the last few seasons were dogged by repetition and a stream of forgettable, grating recurring characters, the first three episodes of the post-Fey era has been hounded by a heap of unfinished ideas and too many simplistic premises. Amusing? Intermittently. Funny? Hardly. The level of dryness I’ve seen this season could be likened to the concept-heavy sketches of the Murphy-Piscopo-Ebersol era. Maybe I’m nitpicking too soon in the season, but when TV Guide and Time magazine both use the word “moribund” to describe SNL’s current condition, ears tend to perk up.



    This week’s host is Hugh Laurie, the respected British improvisational actor and star of the popular medical series “House.” The musical guest is Beck, who is making his sixth appearance on SNL. Combined, they make for the most intriguing match-up for a live broadcast in quite some time; being a fan of both Laurie and Beck will make this hard for me to critique the show in a fair manner (a situation my fellow amateur critics have had to deal with many times before), but at least there’s the hope that this might spice things up.



    And now, the sketch-by-sketch analysis:



    COLD OPENING: Lorne addresses the ongoing network budget cuts, chugs down a little brandy, and then introduces a “campaign commercial” from the Kazakhstan Ministry of Information. It turns out to be a shameless (though very funny) plug for that Borat movie that’s coming out next weekend. Has enough time gone by now that repeatedly saying “Schwing!” has made the transition from cliché to ironic? I’d argue for it.



    MONOLOGUE: The man formerly known as Wooster calls the audience “Sweet Cheeks,” recites a poem that successfully proves he’s a nice guy, and briefly explains the key points of British comedy. When you think about it, his charisma alone made this the best monologue so far this season.



    “Most Haunted”: A spoof of the popular Travel Channel documentary series finds a team of paranormal experts (FA, BH, AP) analyzing and obsessing over the sound of their superior (Hugh) farting. This sketch comes to prove that if executed properly, even the most sophomoric of premises can work.



    SMIGELTOON: President Bush addresses the ongoing onslaught of attack ads that all prominently feature Osama Bin Laden, and then use crude tactics that express the homophobic, obsolescent Republican agenda. Granted, this was mean-spirited, but I’m sad to say that this didn’t exactly exaggerate from how localized smear campaigns function.



    “2006 World Series”: Joe Buck (JS) and Tim McCarver (BH) introduce the winner of a local anthem-singing contest (MR), who turns out to be a complete poseur. Another one-joke sketch, though points to Maya for belting it out.



    “The Queen’s Visit”: An assistant for Queen Elizabeth II (Hugh) makes a list of strange demands for the Waldorf-Astoria concierge (KW) for her pending visit to NYC, complete with rubber sheets, miniature furniture, and hooks in the ceiling. Well, at least we have that British humor Hugh promised. Moving on…



    “Hardball”: Tonight on Chris Matthews’ (DH) cable shout-fest, GOP party gadfly Ken Mehlman (AS) denies his friendship with a congressman that turned out to be the “TCBY Killer” (don’t ask), then plugs his replacement on the ballot, John Wayne Gacy Jr. Later on, DNC chairman Howard Dean (JS) belittles Mehlman and mouths off like the stereotypical crazed left-winger that Republicans loathe. In 20-odd appearances on the show, “Hardball” has made a decent effort to never do the same thing twice; this time, however, the output seemed very blah, as if it denied itself some way to lure the audience in.



    “Hugh’s Protest Song”: Key social and political aspects are mumbled as Hugh rambles though a Dylan-esque folk number. I took pleasure in this bit for several reasons; for one, it’s been ages since there’s been a standup performance outside of the monologue; secondly, it reminded me of Hugh’s various musical interludes on “A Bit of Fry and Laurie”; and most importantly, his comic timing was astonishingly proficient.



    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: Percussion runs rampant in the groovy single “Nausea.” Dig those crazy marionettes!



    WEEKEND UPDATE: I’m probably not the first to say that Amy and Seth are finally gelling, but compared to past segments this was the least awkward one yet. Tim Calhoun’s (WF) stump speech was another ace-in-the-hole from one of SNL’s few consistently funny characters, but a commentary from a same-sex couple from Jersey (FA, BH) served only to enforce the same tired Italian-American stereotypes that people stopped laughing at years ago.



    “Broken Leg”: Another sketch with an epilogue? That’s the type of repetition that bugs the living hell out of me. This sort of laziness ruins even middling sketches like this, which features Kenan as a paranoid hospital patient and Hugh as his trans-gendered wife.



    “The Curse of Frankenstein”: A certain monster (BH) nearly fools a mob of angry villagers into thinking he’s not the object of their fear and hatred. A rare moment in the spotlight for Bill proved to be quite heady; his banter with the fire-obsessed horde (led by Hugh) may or may not have had several parallels to the Middle-American value system, but the pending election has obviously made me way too burnt out on the subject.



    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: I haven’t a clue what that song was called, but hot damn, that was funky! It’s a shame that turkey went to waste, though.



    “Job Interview”: Two Connecticut-based lawyers (Hugh, FA) keep incorporating “woo!” sounds into their banter while sizing up a potential paralegal (AP) in a typical one-joke sketch that ran longer than it had to.



    I don’t know why this keeps happening- every time it seems like I doubt myself, the show roars back with an above-average broadcast. Given how the first hour normally outweighs the last thirty minutes, this was with little doubt in my mind the strongest broadcast thus far this season. I wanted to demonstrate parity, but I couldn’t get past the fact that I really enjoyed some of the sketches, especially the Borat cold opening, "The Queen’s Visit," and the protest song. Heck, for once even the political satire clicked. I’ve come to the conclusion that SNL isn’t in a slump, it’s just very bipolar.



    Sketches/segments that will probably be removed in repeats: the gay marriage commentary on WU, “Hardball,” “Broken Leg,” and “Job Interview.”



    In two weeks: Super-host Alec Baldwin makes it a baker’s dozen, with musical guest Christina Aguilera making her fourth appearance on the show.



    Contact "HelloStuart" at sma17kc@netscape.net. He appreciates all feedback.moreless
  • A shout out to Borat, Hugh Laurie, Amy Poehler and Will Forte!

    9.0
    Borat opened. I love this character, laughed hard as hell! The show would be worth watching just cause of this sketch, I'd say.



    Hugh Laurie is brilliant as usual. He was particurlarly hilarious in a bit where he played the guitar and sang. A lot of times he sang "all we need to do..." and then mumbled something you couldn't hear.

    The bit where Hugh plays an extremely ugly lady in the hospital was hysterical!



    In the office sketch at the end, both Hugh and Fred were really good, and Amy Poehler was terrific.



    Will Forte was AWESOME as Tim Calhoun. Just really, really funny.



    Musical guest Beck was actually pretty entertaining too.moreless
  • All we need to do is... mmmmmmmm...

    6.5
    Welcome to the third stop in my SNL summer reviews! This week is Hugh Laurie. Hugh is from the famous television show, House M.D. Beck is musical guest.



    Okay, here we go!



    Borat: Lorne opens the show saying that in conclusion to the NBC budget cuts, SNL has to donate the first 5 minutes to the Kazachstan Ministry. So, Borat comes on. I didn't enjoy this compared to others.



    Monologue: After many tries of trying to formerly introduce himself, Hugh Laurie just sticks to the stereotypical English facts. Enjoyable, I guess.



    Most Haunted: As 4 freaks try to go discover ghosts, the freak leader cuts a fart, and the other are totally oblivious to the fact that it's a fart. As much as I hate the "farting is funny" thing, thisi cracked me up.



    Cartoon: 2006 Mid-Elections Promos: Bush tells us that he will produce less serious promos, and have Halloween festival commercials, but he ends up being scared.



    National Anthem: Yes, another Maya singing sketch. But, this time around, it's a good Maya singing sketch. She absolutely butchers the National Anthem. I loved it. I couldn't stop laughing! Many didn't like this, while I favored this.



    The Advance Man: The Queen of England's advance man tells a hotel manager what to have prepared for her visit. Some requests are beyond ridiculous. This sketch was one of the favorable sketches of the night.



    Hardball: Obnoxious Chris Matthews talks about the mid elections. This was one of the unfavorable sketches of the night.



    Protest Song: Hugh Laurie sings about how we can stop all the trouble in the world, but when he gets to the War In Iraq, he just mumbles, since he doesn't know the problem. This was one of the best host performances I've seen.



    Weekend Update: Jokes were consistant tonight. The Gay Guys were okay, and Tim Calhoun was enjoyable.



    Trust Your Physician: As a man breaks his leg, he does not trust the doctor, while his girlfriend stand up for him. The girlfriend suddenly gets an English accent and tells us to trust our physician. Laurie as a girl was funny.



    Late Night Scary Movies: As a crowd of angry people want to lynch Frankenstein, the real Frankenstein tries tricking them into going to Dracula. I enjoyed this sketch.



    Ohhhhh!: As a women is applying for a job, two men yell out "ohhhh!" every time they see something good. She tries going along, but they turn her down in offense. Good last sketch.



    Music was good, host was good, show was okay. As most sketches were high lights, we had some low lights such as the cold open, and Hardball.



    My next summer review will be Jack Black/Neil Young. See ya then!moreless
  • A great combination of Host and musical guest Beck

    9.0
    I am not an avid SNL watcher. Now and then I will turn it on. This episode reminded me of when the scripts where witty, shameless and there was actual impromtu acting.



    I hate Most Haunted, and when I saw him doing this spoof, my girlfriend and I just about died laughing so hard. The writers hit it on the head with how the actual TV show investigates the paranormal.



    Huge did was absolutely superb in the "Queens Visit" when the glasses were not folding correctly, and he just moved along. Because of this episode, I have now started watching House.moreless
  • A great on point combination of guest star and musical guest that just doesnt often happen anymore

    9.0
    AS i said in the summary this is not a very frequent thing for SNL these days to have the guest host and musical guest do so well, but in this case when they do it really does make it a special standout episode.



    Hugh Laurie as usual is excellent and his brand of comedy fit well and differently in the sketches. The writing itself, as usual, was a bit bland but you can tell at least having Hugh Laurie perhaps made them be able to write some interesting stuff for him specifically, and with a little bit of luck (as after all thed cutting you're still not going to have an episode "chock full" of funny sketches).



    That simply made it an ok show though, but Hugh Lauries odd single, which was more interesting than funny, but in the end turned out to be rather cool. Coupled this with Becks brilliant music performance though, and thats what made it good.



    granted, i dont often pay much mind to the SNL musical acts these days. They still net in some cool artists but they really got to do something that is pretty interesting or perform their face off, and Beck did that, with a truly unique "dinner table percussion" scene that really grabbed me.



    So yes, "lucky" writing, Hugh Laurie and Beck really made this as fine episode.....for once.moreless
Hugh Laurie

Hugh Laurie

Himself

Guest Star

Sacha Baron Cohen

Sacha Baron Cohen

Borat

Guest Star

Kenneth Davitian

Kenneth Davitian

Azamat

Guest Star

Beck

Beck

Himself

Recurring Role

Lorne Michaels

Lorne Michaels

Himself

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (5)

    • During the cold opening, the audience cheers prematurely, as the adjacent stage lights go up early and reveal the special guest star. As a result, TV viewers watched the audience clap enthusiastically as Lorne Michaels receives a turkey club sandwich from an unknown NBC employee.

    • During the "Queen's Visit" sketch, Hugh Laurie has difficulty getting his reading glasses on with one hand, and thus ad-libs to bypass the need for them.

    • At the beginning of the monologue, the canned applause track keeps going after Hugh Laurie starts talking.

    • At the end of the Ghost Hunters sketch, the FOX logo from the World Series sketch appears onscreen for about five seconds.

    • After the "2006 World Series" sketch, Don Pardo announces the next live broadcast as "Monday" November 11.

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Hugh Laurie: Medicine is a noble science, yet every year thousands of people deny themselves proper medical care because they don't trust doctors. Maybe they're crazy, maybe they're ignorant. Or maybe their actual doctors just don't measure up to the brilliant and devastatingly handsome doctors they see on television. Whatever the reason, please trust your physician. Thank you.

    • Hugh Laurie: So what can you expect from an Englishman hosting an American comedy show? Well, firstly... humour! With a "u" because... that's how we spell it over there. Uh, and when I say "humour", I mean overly elaborate puns that may take you days to understand, with very little payoff.

    • Amy Poehler: Federal agents broke up a Colorado drug ring this week that shipped methamphetamine hidden inside Elmo dolls. Police were alerted when someone tried to tickle Elmo and he shot them 36 times.

    • Borat: ...we laugh on your Coneheads. My brother has a head like a cone. He is retard! We like to laugh on him, too. Why not? He have a brain like a chicken.

    • Hugh Laurie: (standing alongside a map of the United States) So England would be about where my right nipple is... if I had one.

    • Hugh Laurie: In real life I am daffodils...

    • Borat: We also admires your leader George Walter Bush, and his father Barbara.

    • Borat: (talking about his grandchild) We are hoping to sell it to your pop star Madonna.

  • NOTES (5)

    • Sketches cut in the 60 minute version: the Tim Calhoun segment on Weekend Update, "TV Funhouse: Republican Attack Ads," "American Medical Association," "The Curse of Frankenstein," "Linder and Bowles," and Beck's performance of "Clap Hands."

    • Sketches cut after dress rehearsal include: Speedreader, in which a man (Will Forte) with exceptional reading abilities tries to seduce women; a commercial spoof where clothing inappropriate for working women is advertised (note: reworked into "Booty Bidness" in next month's Ludacris episode); a sketch where Vincent Price (Bill Hader) hosts a Halloween special; "E-Zdate.com"; a sketch where extras (Hugh Laurie, Amy Poehler, Kristin Wiig) on the set of 'Lost' are constantly ignored; a Digital Short where two men (Andy Samberg, Fred Armisen) wander throughout New York in hope of being noticed by celebrity magazines; and a drunken young man (Andy Samberg) annoys bar patrons in search of a one-night stand.

    • A second appearance of a sketch called "Speedreader", a character (played by Will Forte) that first appeared in the Halle Berry/Britney Spears episode from 2003, about a man who uses his fast reading abilities to seduce women, was cut after dress rehearsal. This sketch would also be cut after the Alec Baldwin/Christina Aguilera dress rehearsal the following week.

    • Hugh Laurie is thus far the only cast member from House to host SNL.

    • The "Republican Attack Ads" TV Funhouse cartoon was co-written by Al Franken.

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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