Saturday Night Live

Season 34 Episode 10

John Malkovich/T.I.

1
Aired Saturday 11:30 PM Dec 06, 2008 on NBC
7.9
out of 10
User Rating
41 votes
4

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

EDIT
Live from New York, it's... Darrell Hammond and Amy Poehler!

Sketches include "Secretary Clinton," "Gas Right," "Sexy Shannon," "Obama Keeps It Cool" (film), "La Rivista Della Televisione," "Virgania Horsen's Pony Express" (Digital Short), "Calculators," "The Lost Works of Judy Blume," "Jizz In My Pants" (Digital Short), and "J'Accuzzi."

T.I. performed "Whatever You Like" and "Swing Ya Rag" (featuring Swizz Beatz).moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • "We used to suck on pennies… and it was a delight"

    6.0
    A Review by "HelloStuart," Amateur Critic and Changeling



    In the hours preceding the show, rumors were swirling that Amy Poehler would be returning from maternity leave tonight. This pretty much quashes the assumption that she would leave the show after the birth of her child, a conjecture that spread through the SNL fan communities like wildfire several weeks ago. On the other hand, at least Amy will be getting the victory lap that she deserves.



    This week's host is John Malkovich, the Oscar-nominated thespian and to date the only Illinois State University alum to host SNL; this is his third appearance on SNL and first since 1993. The musical guest is Clifford "T.I." Harris, the Grammy-nominated rapper behind the bestselling album "Paper Trail."



    And now, the sketch-by-sketch analysis:



    COLD OPENING: Don't call it a comeback- it's like she never left. Senator Hillary Clinton (AP) revels in her appointment as Secretary of State, stating that it's "almost a dream come true" and it's a better job than being Governor of Alaska. Bill (DH) drops by for moral support, than admits that living in Chappaqua for the last eight years was just a façade for higher aspirations. This unofficial retirement of Amy's most memorable impression (and I'm not saying that to be presumptuous- where can it go as this point?) is a high note, satirical closure for the handful of liberals that haven't quite warmed up to President Obama yet.



    MONOLOGUE: In a vain attempt to prove his Christmas cheer, John's reading of a certain Clement Clarke Moore story is hindered by random and inappropriate factoids about Holiday suicide rates, the physical impossibilities of Santa's sleigh flying at 6,000 MPH, and Portuguese folklore. "Gas Right": It's Breathe Right for your butt. There's a bunch of wacky farting noises. Need I say more?



    "Office Birthday Party": The manager (John) of an anonymous workspace is absolutely ga-ga over the resident sexpot (KW), who's not as enticing as her first impression makes her out to be. It's not much of a surprise to say that Kristen carries the sketch; over these last few weeks, her ability to do physical humor on top of the character-driven comedy that's normally her strong suit has made her far and away the show's most indispensable player. You almost have to wonder if John's character was sitting there clapping and leering for the role or if he really was enamored with Wiig's performance.



    "And Now… Barack Obama": The President-Elect (FA) explains how he keeps his cool while handing Senators Hillary Clinton, Joe Lieberman, and John McCain. There's no real joke to this, other than that Obama's composure does have a jazz-like rhythm. "La Rivista Della Televisione": The apparent philosophy of this sketch is that if it's not broken, don't fix it. Tonight, John is the latest celebrity to run into language barriers with the multifaceted Vinny (BH), who apparently stars in pornographic movies as a side project. We also meet Vinny's son (BM), an oversized tot with a yen for cigarettes.



    DIGITAL SHORT: Would-be entrepreneur Virgania Horsen (KW) resurfaces to promote her terrorist-proof Pony Express line. Much like her hot air balloon rides from last year, the skit works not only because of Kristen but because the chintzy green-screen and tiny budget compliment her hilariously wooden and uncomfortable portrayal of Horsen.



    "Calculators": A pair of fraternal twins (FA, John) obsess over their presumptive present –a $10 adding machine- on Christmas morning, much to the muted amusement of their family (BH, AS, CW). This left me mystified, but not in a bad way; this was a funny sketch, though I can't seem to pinpoint what made it work. I guess John and Fred make for very convincing idiot savants*.



    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: The #1 hit "Whatever You Like" has a catchy beat build on a lead synthesizer and a robotic drum pattern.



    WEEKEND UPDATE: Just as Seth was coming into his own as a solo anchor, Amy comes back and reclaims her stake in the hit-and-miss topical hilarity that is WU. This particular segment has three guest commentaries but only the last one clicked. An appearance by dunderhead New York Giant Plaxico Burress (KT) was too broad and predictable, while Boy George (FA) and his defense of his recent legal and sexual escapades were invariably boring. These two moronic newsmakers were the soup and salad for the main course, 9-year-old David Rasmussen (AS) and his book on how to communicate with women. His seemingly tame advice about befriending girls morphed into blunt pick-up tips that would make even Barney Stinson blush.



    "The Lost Works of Judy Blume": The youth fiction stalwart's 1974 novel "Gertie" finds an irregular 14-year-old girl (John) bringing down a sleepover with her general weirdness. Sending up the Blume oeuvre may seem a tad obscure, with the average-yet-pretty protagonist detailing the throes of puberty in an imaginary diary, but it was familiar enough to let John roam free and revel wherever his natural daringness takes him without alienating the audience.



    DIGITAL SHORT: Another one? That's a rarity. Andy and his "Hot Rod" co-star Jorma Taccone sing about premature ejaculation in their catchy yet unsettling dance track "J*** In My Pants." (Edit: After writing this review, I learned that is the leadoff single from The Lonely Island's debut comedy record, to be released in early 2009. I wouldn't call this a strong first impression, which doesn't bode well for their CD.)



    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: "Swing Ya Rag" (featuring Swizz Beatz) is an album cut, plain and simple. It's a shame they don't make deep tracks like they used to, though I'm sure rag-swinging will become the next big nightclub trend. "J'Accuzzi": John reprises his role from "Dangerous Liasions" on Broadway… in a hot tub… with a chamber ensemble of hack actors! It's an odd juxtaposition, one that would make "SCTV" proud, but the execution had a dire lack of energy.



    Though tonight's show had it's moments, it left me with a strange empty feeling. As a host, John Malkovich was like a diet soda version of Christopher Walken- same taste but less filling. John brought his quirky nature in spades, and though he was a competent host, it's hard to make a positive comparison to someone as delightfully polarizing as Walken. What unsettled me most about tonight's show was the reliance on filmed and pre-taped segments, a dilution of the show's live aspect that I haven't seen since Season 10. If it's cast burnout, that would be somewhat justified, but at times it seemed like the show was running on autopilot and it hindered the pace of the broadcast.



    Segments That Will Probably Be Removed in Repeats: the Plaxico and Boy George commentaries on Weekend Update, **** In My Pants," and "J'Accuzzi."



    Next Week: Just in time for Christmas, Hugh Laurie returns to host with musical guest Kanye West. Plus, my annual mid-season recap!



    "HelloStuart" has reviewed every live broadcast of SNL since the Dan Aykroyd/Beyonce broadcast in Year 28. Contact him at sma17kc@aim.com. *I realize that the politically correct terminology is autistic, but it didn't really fit the tone of the performance. I sincerely hope no one was offended by that, and if you were, I apologize profusely.moreless
  • Not a particularly bad episode, but disappointing considering that Malkovich was so exceptional in his previous two appearances. The writing was not worthy of his talent. Bring him back again sometime and don't wait 15 years to do it.moreless

    7.0
    Hillary cold open – A somewhat amusing, if predictable opening sketch with Hillary talking about her new role as Secretary of State. Could be Amy's farewell. Grade: B- Malkovich Monologue – Good to see John get into his trademark creepy persona as he reads to a group of kids. I thought his asides were good and lived up to his reputation, but at over 5 minutes, this monologue was far too long. Grade: B+



    Gas Right – Armisen's stab at potty humor is worth a few laughs, especially given Kristen's great reactions to his gastric releases. Grade: B+



    Shanna – Yet another vehicle for Kristen to display her weird characterizations. This time it is an airhead bimbo in the mold of Marilyn Monroe who manages to be as unattractive as possible when performing routine tasks. Kristen did a good job, but I was disappointed that the writers didn't give Malkovich more to do than just leer at Shanna. Not a good use of his exceptional acting abilities. Grade: B-



    Obama Keeps It Cool – A chance for SNL to remind us that Fred is still polishing his Obama impersonation without being particularly funny. Grade: C+



    Vinny Vedecci – We all know what to expect with Vinny and this segment didn't offer much new other than our chance to meet his cigarette-smoking son played by Moynihan. Again, I'm disappointed at the poor usage of Malkovich. Grade: C-



    Virgania Horsen's Pony Express –Just like that Hot Air Balloon Rides commercial, but this time Kristen is offering to deliver your mail for you via pony express. Kind of funny in a corny way. Kristen's offbeat characters are rapidly becoming the backbone of the show. Grade: C



    Calculator Twins – Armisen and Malkovich play a pair of rather unconvincing twins who only want a calculator for Christmas. It's no surprise what they get. The two play the twins for maximum nerd effect, but fail to produce a lot of laughs. Fred uses the same accent he uses for his "chandelier salesman" character. Grade: C-



    Weekend Update – The return of Amy to WU (temporarily?) is not exactly great news. Seth was actually coming into his own as a solo anchor and I think the solo anchor format usually works better than a team. Anyways, the jokes were about par, Kenan was not too bad, Fred was great as Boy George, and Andy was cute as a bawdy nine-year-old. Grade: A- Gertie – This time Malkovich plays an awkward tweener girl who isn't comfortable with her body. Although it was fun to see John in drag, the sketch did not give him much to do besides look awkward and shred a pillow. Abby finally had more than a miniscule role, but we are still left wondering if she is funny. Grade: C-



    Jiz in My Pants – Very well produced music video about a juvenile problem that apparently still afflicts Andy. I've heard all of those jokes before so there was nothing new about it. I give it good marks for production though. Grade: C+



    J'acuzzi – Dangerous Liaisons is recreated in a hot tub. Good costume drama sketch.with the Jacuzzi providing just the right amount of bizarreness. I could have used more of this style of acting from Malkovich throughout the episode. Grade: B+moreless
  • "True Or False? Suicide Attempt Rates Increase During Holidays?"

    6.5
    Wow. She's still on. Amy Poehler is still on. I always thought Lorne was just being overly positive like he did with Maya in February. But, she's still on. Obviously next week will probably be her last episode. I don't think she'll stick around until January 10.



    John Malkovich is our host this week. Exciting, eh? Malkovich is like his own little character, much like Christopher Walken. I've been looking forward for his stint since it was announced 2 weeks ago. Continuing November sweeps in December (?), T.I. is musical guest. Maybe it would have been effective to have him in October, when he was up on the charts, but "What Ever You Like" isn't exactly THE song, any more. And I'm just talking demographics. For me, personally, I'm not looking forward to T.I. at all.



    A Message From Hillary Clinton: Okay. Amy's back. I guess this sketch had it's one liners, but, really, this sketch was just like any other Hillary opening. Hillary's bitter. I really thought they'd do more than this. But, it's nice to see Amy winding down her stint on the show.



    Monologue: Malkovich reads to little children, and interrupts with startling disturbing news every few sentences. I thought this was more of a sketch than monologue, but it worked.



    Gas Right: Instead of a nose patch to stop you from snoring, you have a butt patch for making less noisy farts. I guess this was rather 4th graderish, but, it wasn't anything close to Urigro, so thumbs up.



    Shana: A new office girl, Shana, has all the boys all over her. That's what I thought this sketch was going to be all about. A one-premise sketch. But, it actually evolved into a nicely written sketch. Unfortunately, I fear recurring. This was a great one-time sketch, but, no. No, Kristen. No. Don't.



    Obama's Cool: This was indifferent. I guess the little music thing helped save this.



    Vinny Vendicci: I usually hate this recurring sketch, but, still, since the Shia LaBeouf one, it's warmed up on me. This was no different from that one. But really, they've GOT to stop doing that 'person says they can't speak Italian, Vinny yells at back stage hands, hands yell back', that's just getting tired.



    Virginia Horsen: Digital Short? Technical mistake, maybe, but who knows? This was funnier than the Tina Fey one last February. I couldn't help but notice that Kristen's secondary character played by Horsen sounded like that twin from Mirror Image sketch from the Adams broadcast in March.



    Calculator!: I know many people thought, "Lame..." when they watched this, but, come on, this is how we all acted when we got our Nintendo 64, or Gameboy Color, or Atari. It was so funny and simple, over a stupid calculator.



    Weekend Update: Wow. Update was slow tonight. I was really looking forward to returning back to the Seth/Amy combo tonight, but, really, nothing happened. Kenan's commentary was a Kenan commentary. Boy George was more unfunny than funny. I did enjoy the 9-year old commentary. That was good for a few laughs. But, hopefully, for their last episode together next week, they'll redeem themselves.



    Gertie: This was so effed up! Like, whoever wrote this had to be coked up! But, that's what made it hilarious! It was just so random, and so out of nowhere! I loved it!



    I **** My Pants: Wow. No live sketch for a second commercial break back? Were dress sketches THAT bad? But, this was funny digital short. It's one-premise, but it's above average from the rest of the digital shorts lately.



    J'acuzzi: A good 5 to one sketch... not much to say about it...



    Tonight's episode was a pretty decent broadcast. I was hoping for better, but, you know what? It was fine. Amy being back barely made a mark on the broadcast. Jason and wasn't in the live show AT ALL. Weird how that works. John was his own person, and was a good host. He's a very interesting character, if you ask me. T.I. really didn't do anything for the broadcast. His hit, "Whatever You Like", suits to millions, as we can speak up and say, we all don't like hip-hop.



    Next week: The decorations are hung, the band breaks out the music, the sketches are a little more cheery: It's our Christmas episode! Hugh Laurie hosts, with musical guest, finishing up our November Sweeps Extension, Kanye West. January's is always known for indie bands, right? Hopefully...moreless
  • Eh.

    5.0
    The Clintons opening was good, but not incredible. Not up to par with usual Poehler/Hammond political parodies. Good to see Amy guesting, as you all well know she is no longer officially a cast member and will go on to star in a show in the same vein as the office in a year or two after her maternity leave. But she might stick around for a few more episodes and we know she will guest many times. I have always liked John Malkovich, and his Christmas opening was probably the best part of the show. Weekend Update was decent but not great. Kristen Wiig was funny in the digital short, but somebody seriously needs to stop Andy Samberg from singing. First the Space Olympics thing and now Jiz In My Pants? His songs drag down the show with their rampant immaturity. Not a particularly memorable show, but not that bad either.moreless
John Malkovich

John Malkovich

Himself

Guest Star

T.I.

T.I.

Himself

Guest Star

Swizz Beatz

Swizz Beatz

Himself

Guest Star

Jorma Taccone

Jorma Taccone

Himself

Recurring Role

Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake

Himself

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Amy Poehler: O.J. Simpson was sentenced Friday to 9 to 33 years in prison for robbery and kidnapping. Prior to his sentencing, O.J. apologized and said he did not know he had broken the law, but reminded the judge that normally when he breaks the law, he gets to go home.

    • Amy Poehler: Nearly 84 million people went online on Cyber Monday to shop for Christmas presents. The Internet is a great way to shop, because there are very few real stores that will let you make your purchases, and then hang around masturbating.

    • Seth Meyers: Police in Missouri arrested a husband & wife burglary team who allegedly had robbed about 60 homes. The way they worked was: he would robbed the homes, and she would stand outside and tell him he was doing it wrong.

    • Seth Meyers: So Plaxico, how's it going?
      Plaxico Burress: Pretty good... no, wait - really bad. Remember how I used to have a job, and 35 million dollars, and I wasn't in prison, and there weren't any bullets in my leg? Well, I kinda screwed that up.

    • Bill Clinton: I just wanna say how happy we are to be back in your lives, America. You voted for change, but you ain't never gonna change this.
      Hillary Clinton: We Clintons are here to stay. You may think we're down, but like the South, vampires and Britney Spears, we will rise again.

  • NOTES (10)

    • Sketches/segments not shown in the 60 minute version: the David Rasmussen and Boy George segments on Weekend Update, TI and Swizz Beatz' performance of "Swing Ya Rag," "Gas Right," "Obama Keeps It Cool," "Virgania Horsen's Pony Express," "Twins," "The Lost Works of Judy Blume," and "J'acuzzi."

    • With this episode, John Malkovich became the host with the third-longest span between two episodes, beating out Bob Newhart. The last time he hosted was on October 23, 1993.

    • John Malkovich previously worked with Casey Wilson in the 2008 movie The Great Buck Howard.

    • Molly Sims previously worked with Darrell Hammond in the season 3 episode "Double Down, Triple Threat" of Las Vegas.

    • International airdates:
      Latin America: April 11, 2009 on Sony Entertainment Television (aka Canal Sony).

    • The day after this episode aired, The Lonely Island (Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer) announced on their website that "Jizz In My Pants" will be the first single off their upcoming debut album Incredibad.

    • This marks the first time that an SNL Digital Short ("Jizz In My Pants") featured all three members of comedy troupe The Lonely Island (Andy Samberg and Jorma Taccone on vocals, Akiva Schaffer playing the DJ).

    • Sketches cut after dress rehearsal: Two advertising execs (Fred Armisen, Will Forte) force a jingle singer (John Malkovich) to perform a song until it's perfect; a sketch revolves around top secret ideas; during the filming of movie, an actor (John Malkovich) constantly asks the director (Kenan Thompson) about money; and a high school drama teacher (John Malkovich) endures tryouts for his new play.

    • Amy Poehler returns to the show after a four-episode maternity leave.

    • Jason Sudeikis did not appear in this episode.

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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