Saturday Night Live

Season 31 Episode 18

Julia Louis-Dreyfus/Paul Simon

Aired Saturday 11:30 PM May 13, 2006 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
53 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Live from New York, its... Al Gore! Sketches include "Parallel Universe Address from President Gore", "Techpack," "Horny Homeless Guy," "The Morning Show," "MySpace", "Charades," "Unsolved Mysteries: The Sandy Patterson Story," and "Peyote" (film). Paul Simon performed "How Can You Live In the Northeast?" and "Outrageous."

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  • Paul and Julia Down by the Schoolyard

    A Review by “HelloStuart,” Amateur Critic and Strident Divorcee

    Saturday Night Live has never been known for producing breakout female stars. Of all the actors that have been in the cast in its thirty-plus years of existence, the greatest success stories have all been male. Though the show in itself has produced memorable female cast members (Gilda Radner, Jane Curtin, Nora Dunn) and even put its XX-chromosome talent at front and center for much of the last decade, the show has never found a womanly equivalent to Adam Sandler or Will Ferrell.

    I want to keep this in mind with Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ hosting stint tonight. Until now, a former cast member of the fairer sex has never hosted, though a handful have remained tied to the show and popped up in cameos and special guest appearances. (Most SNL diehards know that Radner was invited to host in 1988 before being diagnosed with the cancer that ultimately took her life.) Choosing Mrs. Brad Hall was almost a no-brainer; though her three-year SNL stint was hardly anything to brag about, she’s had quite arguably more success that any of her counterparts, first as the star of “Seinfeld” and more recently with the CBS sitcom “The New Adventures of Old Christine.”

    Tonight’s musical guest has a far less brusque connotation with the show –Paul Simon. It appears that since the show’s beginnings with a brief break in the early 80’s, Simon has appeared on the show whenever he’s had a new project to promote. In this case, it’s “Surprise,” a surprisingly potent collaboration with legendary “atmospheric” producer Brian Eno. This is also the third studio album Simon’s produced since his 1986 masterpiece “Graceland,” which proves that if not for his latest comeback he’d still be writing forgettable Broadway musicals and dragging out his former singing partner/occasional adversary Art Garfunkel for another reunion tour.

    And now, the sketch-by-sketch analysis:

    COLD OPENING: A dry, lengthy intro about the concept of parallel universes leads into an address to the nation by President Al Gore (the Real McCoy, not DH). Despite the enthusiastic reception from the crowd, Big Al more or less reads off a tepid commentary about global warming that’s heavy on irony yet very slight on laughs.

    MONOLOGUE: Julia addresses the alleged “Seinfeld Curse,” with Jason Alexander begging for work, Jerry Seinfeld trying to kill Julia, and Michael Richards surprisingly AWOL. In other words, everyone’s living the lush life.

    “Techpack”: Another great idea- it’s an airport carrying case that resembles a bomb! (Hey, it beats having to see “Mom Jeans” for the fourth year in a row.)

    “Horny Homeless Guy”: At first I was afraid this was going to be another “Merv the Perv” sketch, but instead this sketch took a different, more boring tangent. A shy, needy single girl (JLD) seems to be repulsive to a vulgar street person (BH) who’s more interested in coming onto her three girlfriends (RD, AP, MR).

    “The Morning Show”: Remember that one sketch from the Britney Spears show in Year 27 with Will Ferrell and Ana Gastayer as the hosts of a morning show that are forced to put up with an inebriated backstage crew? Well, this is essentially the same sketch, only except it’s a straight-up talk show rather than a news program. Strangely, as preheated as the idea might be it’s still quite amusing.

    “MySpace”: Down at the Adult Learning Annex, a soccer mom (JLD) legitimately tries to connect with her kids in a classroom of perverts and pedophiles, all of whom are learning how to make and build accounts on the popular social networking site. This was probably my favorite sketch of the night; though the writing wasn’t there, the performances were as funny as heck.

    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: Rhymin’ Simon waxes poetic in the spacey yet unexpectedly rockin’ “How Can You Live in the Northeast?”

    WEEKEND UPDATE: Gore’s pro-environmental agenda is dragged out again during an awkward point-counterpoint with Amy, who clearly doesn’t know jack about global warming but does her best to salvage another lame attempt at topical satire. Elsewhere, Tina and Amy try to help Grandpa Wolfgang Fey (FA) with his Medicare information in a blatant jab at the elderly; Finesse discusses prom wear, and David Blaine (AS) tries to hold his breath for nine minutes but falls 8 ½ short. Granted, tonight’s segment was a bit overlong, but I’m so used to it that it has only a faint numbing effect.

    “Charades”: A game show from the 1970’s finds a California homemaker (JLD) struggling to describe clues with sexual undertones to a panel of celebrities. This was an example of being entertaining in individual servings; Rich Little’s (DH) impressions annoying the host of the show (CP), who was much more interested in the clichéd wisdom of Nipsey Russell (KT), was a droll subplot that kept this sketch from being just a bunch of stupid sex jokes. I also wanted to take a moment to observe Charo’s cleavage; it wasn’t necessarily comic fodder, nor was it a deliberately sexual, but it does show how much full-figured she’s become since her maternity leave.

    “Unsolved Mysteries”: This is an odd choice for a sketch- hasn’t Robert Stack been dead for about three years now? Nonetheless, the filming of a reenactment of a frantic woman’s (KW) alien abduction features E.T., ghosts, Dracula, and the furry little creatures from “Gremlins.”

    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: In his self-doubting second single “Outrageous,” Paul asks “Who’s going to love you when your looks are gone?” Uh, hello, ever heard of “Celebrity Fit Club”?

    FILM: A man with a bullhorn (WF) tries to convince a suicidal scorned lover (AS) to not jump off a pedestal 18 inches off the ground in a PSA for peyote. Though I’m by no means a show insider, I am aware of the fact that this piece has been cut at several dress rehearsals, and though the idea was cute, its diminutive length (a minute or so) made this feel like overly convenient time filler.

    After last week’s surprisingly tepid Tom Hanks broadcast, SNL comes back reenergized for May sweeps. There seemed to be a recurring theme of perversion in the show, but it was a red herring to a show that could be described as another peak in yet another uneven season of SNL. Though former cast members tend to make strong hosts, it might be best to see Mrs. Hall as just another celebrity host; after all, most of the general public hardly even remembers Julia on SNL. In that case, she was pretty solid, though you couldn’t help but notice how every character she played in the show was an interchangeable mix of mousy, naïve, and perplexed. Paul Simon, as he usually is, was an affable musical guest even if his new material has a more hard-charging sound than we’re accustomed to. The political aspect of the show fell flat, but it’s refreshing to know that the former vice president still has a sense of humor.

    Sketches/Segments That Will Probably Be Removed in Repeats: the David Blaine bit on Weekend Update, “Unsolved Mysteries,” “Outrageous,” and “Peyote.”

    Next Week: the end of SNL’s somewhat abbreviated 31st season is nigh, with Kevin Spacey hosting for the first time in nearly a decade with musical guest Nelly Furtado.

    “HelloStuart” is a junior at Illinois State University. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to send him a Private Message or e-mail him at
  • Happy birthday, Stan! 72 years young!

    By the time season 31 was at a close, fans were bummed out by the two 4-week hiatuses in less than 2 months, and the lower quality episodes that SNL had to offer. Even Tom Hanks's episode was mediocre.

    So all we could do was hope. This week's host was Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the former Ebersol cast member, and mostly known as Elaine from Seinfeld. Paul Simon also returns as musical guest, which was probably the reason for the huge ratings.

    Al Gore Message: Al Gore, in a totally different opposite universe, addresses us as president. I thought he had some funny lines, but the whole thing was kind of mechanical. His delivery was wooden.

    Monologue: Julia tells us about how the New Adventures of Old Christine opposite titles tested through the roof. That was okay. But then, we get to see her bump into Jason Alexander, and he asks to host. Of course, he gets ran over, after an agreement. Jerry Seinfeld also tries to get Julia cursed by killing her. Michael Richards is no where. Still, a very funny monologue, especially "Well, that's a shame".

    Tech-Pack: No jokes in this commercial, but the ending was funny (which actually was the joke). Jason looks like he's carrying a bomb.

    Bum Attraction: One woman wants a bum to notice her, but she comes off desperate to him. I thought this was funny at a nice capacity.

    The Morning Show: Okay, I'll say it, even though this idea has been used before, I found this hilarious. The homage to the grabbing the boobs fall was great, and everything was just hilarious. The "Stan" gag was hilarious, also.

    Myspace Seminar: I thought the performances in this sketch were hilarious. Even Horatio was funny. The ending was also perfect.

    Weekend Update: Most of the jokes were passable, and commentaries were also funny.

    Charades: It made me laugh a little, but I thought that the sketch never hit a climatic point.

    Unsolved Mysteries: This was also a pretty funny sketch. The ending was somewhat ironic, but energy never really got there.

    Peyote: One thing I didn't like about season 31 was how they ended the night with a digital short with out a live sketch being before it. This made me laugh at the end though.

    Julia Louis-Dreyfus was a great host, as Paul Simon was an enjoyable musical guest. The episode all around was a good one. It was a breath of fresh air after the last 5 episodes that aired before it.moreless
  • Al Gore is BACK!

    Al Gore MADE this episode in the first 3 minutes! His opening monlogue literally paved the way for a bid for the White House in 2008. It was pointed, relevant and DAMN FUNNY! If the election were tomorrow, I'd vote for him in a heartbeat! Welcome back, Al! Al Gore for President in 2008.                                              moreless
  • Definitley one of the best of the season

    Okay I am so glad that SNL is geting back on its feet after last season which sucked in my opinion. Julia Louis Dreyfus ex cast member from when Eddie Murphy was on and first Female SNL Alumni to host did a great job. Also the stuff about the Seinfeld curse was kinda funny but Jerry wasnt acting very good when he tried to kill Elaine. The Myspace skit cracked me up since I know there are a lot of perverts on there. Paul Simon kicked ass during the music part and I enjoyed it. Great episode and I hope SNL keeps it up.moreless
  • Down to the second to last episode of the season. Today's episode has Julia Louis-Dreyfus hosting and musical guest Paul Simon.

    Cold Opening: Wow. Who would have thought we would have saw a sketch featuring the real VP Al Gore, and not Darrell Hammond?!? This sketch was hilarious and had me rolling on the floor laughing.

    Monologue: Julia Louis-Dreyfus hosts and talks about how her show's title came to be. Yes, it was almost named CSI: Christine. The Seinfeld curse is brought up and we see a partial reunion as Michael Richards is not there.

    Commercial - Techpack: I really didn't remember this one when reviewing it.

    Horny Homeless Guy: JLD is upset that the homeless guy (Hader) wouldn't talk to her so her friends (Dratch, Rudolph, Poehler) pay him to speak to her.

    The Morning Show: I love these sort of sketches parodying when news shows go wrong. JLD is the guest. Sanz is one of the show's hosts.

    MySpace: So true :( . JLD plays a mother in a room full of, well, sickos.

    Paul Simon: "How Can You Live in the Northeast?"

    Weekend Update: Point/Counterpoint with VP Gore (Real) and Amy Poehler. Also featured are David Blaine (Samberg), Wolfgang Fey (Armisen)

    Charades: JLD is one of the contestants. Also has Hammond as Rich Little, Kenan as Nipsey Russell, and Parnell is host.

    Unsolved Mysteries: JLD plays Kristen's character in a re-enactment featuring aliens and whatnot.

    Paul Simon: "Outrageous"

    Digital short: Will tries to prevent Andy from killing himself only to find out that Will is on his knees.

    Next week: Kevin Spacey/Nelly Furtadomoreless
Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Julia Louis-Dreyfus


Guest Star

Jason Alexander

Jason Alexander


Guest Star

Jerry Seinfeld

Jerry Seinfeld


Guest Star

Paul Simon

Paul Simon


Recurring Role

Paula Pell

Paula Pell

Morning Show Staffer

Recurring Role

Jorma Taccone

Jorma Taccone


Recurring Role

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • "Unsolved Mysteries" was canceled in 2002, so it doesn't make sense that they would have a sketch about filming a re-enactment. But, in a somewhat ironic twist, since the sketch aired in the later half of the show, it was shown on May 14th. Robert Stack, the host of UM, died on May 14th, 2003.

  • QUOTES (2)

  • NOTES (12)

    • Sketches cut after dress rehearsal include: a sketch about the Iranian Prime Minister (Fred Armisen) writing various letters; 'Nunis'; a sketch about a couple (Jason Sudiekis, Amy Poehler) who try to takeover household duties for their absent Mexican housekeeper (Maya Rudolph); a sketch where studio heads brainstorm a slogan for the "Shaggy Dog" poster; a Digital Short where a police officer's (Andy Samberg) lobster claw-like hands impede eating; and a commercial where George W. Bush's worst presidential moments are emblazoned on commemorative dinner plates.

    • Julia Louis-Dreyfus is the only cast member from The New Adventures of Old Christine to host SNL.

    • A sketch about a group of executives struggling to come up with a tagline for the Shaggy Dog film was scheduled to air at the end of the episode but was cut due to time constraints. A leftover Digital Short aired in its place.

    • Sketches/segments not shown in the 60 minute version: the Finesse Mitchell commentary on Weekend Update, the Wolfgang Fey segment on Update, Paul Simon's performance of "Outrageous", "Charades!," and "Unsolved Mysteries."

    • Julia Louis-Dreyfus is the third cast member from the hit show Seinfeld to host SNL.

    • Several of the URLs and screen names used in the "MySpace Seminar" sketch (such as "djdanny1979," "9thgradesk8erboi" and "naughtygirlhotstuff") were registered by staffers of the show shortly before the broadcast.

    • Julia Louis-Dreyfus is only the second Ebersol-era castmember to host with Lorne Michaels as Executive Producer, the other being Martin Short.

    • "Techpack" was cut from dress rehearsal in each of the last four live broadcasts. Also, the "Horny Homeless Guy" sketch was originally cut from dress rehearsal in the Billy Bob Thornton broadcast from Year 27, with Thornton as the bum and Ana Gasteyer as Jen.

    • This show was dedicated to Al Camoin, a former cameraperson for SNL who died two days before the live broadcast. A longtime NBC employee, he worked on the show from 1975 to 1987.

    • The cold opening was written by former SNL staff writer Kristen Gore, the daughter of former Vice President Al Gore.

    • Julia Louis-Dreyfus is the 22nd former cast member to host SNL, and the first female to do so.

    • This is Paul Simon's 11th appearance on the show as a host or musical guest (14th overall), an SNL record for musicians.


    • When Amy says, "Amy you ignorant slut," it was a clear reference to Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin's usual dispute during their famed "point/counterpoint" debates in the late 70's.

  • 10:00 pm