Saturday Night Live

Season 33 Episode 1

LeBron James/Kanye West

Aired Saturday 11:30 PM Sep 29, 2007 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (7)

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  • "What happens in Vegas... you must acquit"

    A Review by "HelloStuart," Amateur Critic and Urologist to the Stars

    Given the drama of the last three summers, it was a surprise to see what little has changed since Season 32 ended in May. It feels like I've written this a thousand times, but I must emphasize that last year's cast is returning intact, the first time that's occurred since 1988. In spite of the lack of change, it wasn't necessarily a boring summer. Two cast members had breakthrough movie performances (Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig), while two others saw their pet projects completely fall flat (Will Forte and Andy Samberg). On the TV front, Maya Rudolph left and rejoined the cast six times, including twice in the last week.

    Tonight's host is basketball star Lebron James; that might seem like a red flag given SNL's history of athlete-hosts, but last year's Peyton Manning broadcast might be the start of some of ironic renaissance. By being paired with musical guest Kanye West, however, we can safely assume that no one in or near Chicago will be watching (except me).

    With further ado, the sketch-by-sketch analysis:

    COLD OPENING: Senator Clinton (AP) declares herself the "all-but-certain-to-be-next-president" and smugly cuts down all her opponents. Some of her potshots make an excellent point (Obama's childlike idealism and lack of political experience), while others are just mean (Joe Biden's hair plugs). As much as I hate to say it, she probably does have the Democrat nomination wrapped up, but nice satire while you can get it.

    OPENING CREDITS: Meet the new credits, same as the old credits. In the first of many audio gaffes throughout the night, Don Pardo's voice is barely audible until halfway through the credits.

    MONOLOGUE: Lebron's flavorless, pandering opening remarks are interrupted by an appearance by his "family" from the Nike commercials. Where's Jimmy Kimmel when you need him?

    "Angry Dog": The Michael Vick jokes went stale over a month ago, but I guess he deserves one last affront. Apparently, he endorses a hormonally-enhanced dog food that will turn any canine into a bloodthirsty beast. This bordered on bad taste, but it's been awhile since I've seen an ad spoof with such a pointed statement.

    "Penelope": America's favorite motor-mouth braggert (KW) irks bidders at a charity auction where the big prize is a date with LBJ. I'm not quite annoyed with Penelope yet (three appearances usually does the trick), but this latest effort felt a tad rushed. Loved the beard, though.

    "High School Musical 3: Return of the Seniors": Zac Efron (AS) and a clothing-impaired Vanessa Hudgens (MR) welcome an all-business hoopster (LBJ) to East High. The usual manic musical hijinks ensue, though it makes the suggestion that the lyrics are repetitive and unintentionally hilarious.

    DIGITAL SHORT: "Iran So Far" (aka "Mahmoud") is a hip-hop/piano ballad about the homophobic, Holocaust-denying Iranian president (FA). If Andy's wry lyrics were like ice cream, the Adam Levine and Jake Gyllenhaal cameos were the whipped cream and cherry on top. At least somebody on the show is off to a hot start…

    "Read to Achieve": Mike Underballs (BH) and his easily annoyed stagehand Jeff (JS) make Lebron their latest patsy in a round of PSA id-ego-superego. Jeff's unctuous behavior eventually leads to a one-on-one pickup game. I had absolutely no interest in this sketch (I didn't particularly care for the first one with Julia Louis-Dreyfus), but I got a chuckle out of Jeff getting the Steve Nash treatment.

    "The Lyle Kane Show": The mousy, Midwestern valedictorian (WF) from last year's "Prom Steering Committee" sketch gets his own talk show on "Black ET," where is caustic demeanor and borderline-racist attempts at banter work against him. I liked the direction they took with this sketch, and the explanation at the end of the sketch was a scream.

    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: Much like he did the first time he was on the show, Kanye turns his two current singles, "Stronger" and "Good Life," into one song.

    WEEKEND UPDATE: Amy and Seth were up to their old tricks, though at least some of their one-liners were fairly clever (especially the Benedryl gag). If it were up to me, I would prevent Kenan from doing any more unfunny WU commentaries, and his lame OJ Simpson bit officially pushed me over the edge. In his second appearance of the night, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (FA) fails to convince the audience that homosexuality doesn't exist in Iran, than proceeds to smile sheepishly for a deserving applause.

    "The Best of Solid Gold": Some loser with no friends (KT) hypes a DVD set for the half-forgotten '80s "Soul Train" ripoff. He sings the praises of the show's dancers, whom are all 5'6" and 108 pounds except for the looming, jeri-curled Alexander (LBJ), who knows a good cape trick when he sees one. Much the original show, it lacked oomph as well as a reason to be remembered.

    SMIGELTOON: In their first SNL appearance in six years, the Ambiguously Gay Duo nearly fall prey to a bizarre scheme involving burritos, port-a-johns, and an allusion to the Larry Craig scandal. The phallic imagery of past AGD adventures is toned down, but at least Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert were willing to reprise the voices of Ace and Gary. I mean, it's not like they've done anything noteworthy in the last couple of years.

    "106 & Park": Kanye attempts to spin his recent award-show temper tantrums, butting in everywhere from the VMAs to a county fair and backstage before the show. SNL gets to take a stab at Nickelodeon (to match the Disney riff from earlier), and Lorne made a great cameo, but what really made this sketch work was that Kanye was in on the joke MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: Kanye bumbles through a freestyle rant that follows the standout album cut "Champion." I only say "bumbles" because he admits to screwing up a lyric about two-thirds into the song. Either way, I was quite impressed.

    "Great Moments in Guidance Counseling": LBJ's counselor at St. Vincent-Mary's High School (JS) suggests that he's better off forgoing college, and then uses his crappy post-grad life as an example. Not only was this predictable, but bordering on pointless; maybe they could've gotten away with this sketch 25 years ago, but not now.

    Save for "Mahmoud," tonight's episode had several middling sketches but nothing that uproarious or painful to sit through. There were some peculiar omens in the show: to kick off his record-breaking 13th season on the show, Darrell Hammond barely utters a word, and then disappears one minute into the first sketch; on top of that, Lebron wasn't as stiff as some people expected him to be, but he did botch a few stage cues; but on the positive side, Fred Armisen did a fantastic job impersonating a certain Anti-Semitic despot. The feel of the episode was like a continuation of Year 32, which isn't much of a surprise, but it's far too soon to how things will pan out. Still, an underwhelming way to start the year.

    Sketches/Segments That Will Probably Be Removed in Repeats (if it ever airs, of course): "Angry Dog," the OJ Simpson commentary on WU, "The Best of Solid Gold," and "Great Moments in Guidance Counseling."

    Next Week: "Knocked Up" star Seth Rogen hosts with musical guest Spoon.

    "HelloStuart" can't believe he's been doing this for five years already. Contact him at
  • We should have got Dwayne Wade. At least he's got more rings.

    Saturday Night Live started it's 33rd season last Saturday! LeBron James hosted and Kanye West performed for his 2nd season premiere on SNL. (He also performed on the season 31 premiere) Season 33 came with no changes at all. Same cast, same theme on the stages, and same writers. So, here we go, after 4 months, I'm gonna go sketch by sketch.

    A Message from the All-But-Certain-to-Be-Next-President: So, we start off our season premiere with presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton. She goes through all her running mates, insults them, then says she's going to win. Underwhelming way to start off tonight's episode, and the Bill Clinton spot was needed.

    Monologue: They spoofed those Nike commercials he did, with all those guys being played by LeBron. The monologue was somewhat entertaining. I'll give 'em that.

    Angry Dog: Very smart commercial choice. Did anybody find that hair for Kristen fitting/kinda awkward?

    Penelope at an Auction: Penelope this time around shows signs of weak writing. It also seemed rushed, but I won't go there. Are we falling on our knees with the character Penelope, already, after only 3 appearances?

    High School Musical 3 Trailer: This. Was. Perfect. Like, I hate Disney, so this was great. The thing that topped everything off was Maya as Venessa naked.

    SNL Digital Short: Iran So Far: Aw man. The night gets better. This short was a winner, and I give it up for Armisen finding his perfect look-a-like. Well, kinda.

    Read to Achieve PSA: I really liked this sketch. The writing was just as good as the first time around. LeBron plays himself for the 3rd time tonight. Correct?

    Lyle Cane Show: Lyle Cane returns this season, with his own show! I was wondering if the BJs would show up, but they're a no-show. Some what slow, but a good premise indeed. Hope to see more of this character.

    Weekend Update: Update tonight was overall pretty consistant. Kenan's O.J. was terrible, and the only good liners he had was "What happens in vegas, you must aquit." and "If the glove don't fit, stay in Vegas." Meanwhile, we have a second go around with Mahmoud. This time around, they slowly get a mediocre joke out saying that he like's penises. Still, a good impression indeed.

    Best of Solid Gold: Random bit. But, I like random bits!. This was probably LeBron's best sketch of the night. This sketch was enjoyable. Very enjoyable.

    Ambigously Gay Duo: That's weird, after a 5 year absence, they bring it back? Can we expect more of Ace and Gary in this season? It made me giggle a couple of times, but this cartoon certainly matches in with the rest of the recent Smigeltoons.

    106 and Park: Kanye West was good at making fun of himself, and this sketch was fine overall. Kenan tried to play another skinny dude.

    Guidance Counseling: An 12:55 spot. Whatever. The musical interlude raised energy, so nothing could happen.

    Overall: I adored this week's season opener. The memories just will stick with me. I had a great night before this aired, and nonetheless, the sketches were great. Kanye West was a very good musical guest, while LeBron James didn't help, nor hurt the show. The cast was great. Give it up for them and the writers. Give it up to Maya for making a decision.

    Next Week: Seth Rogen hosts, who starred in Knocked Up, and wrote Superbad. Spoon, and Indies Rock band, helps out, also.

    Written October 4, 2007. Posted 11:28 AM
  • A decent, but not great start to the 2007-08 season. We need stronger cold opens, fewer talk shows, and more zaniness (more Fred!). It felt like everybody was just going through the motions.

    Hillary Cold Open - Thanks to my local news I missed the first 2 minutes of this, but by the end I realized I hadn't missed anything. What a poor way to open the new season! If they were intent on doing a political opening, they should have extended the Giuliani joke on WU into a full sketch (with calls from his wife, doctor, mother, etc.). Apparently his cell phone has been ringing a lot during campaign speeches. Odd thing not to shut it off. I'm sure Hammond would have jumped at the chance to do this, and he does a great Giuliani too. Grade: D

    Monologue - Lebron seemed uncomfortable but got through it OK. The segue to and from the filmed bit was awkward, but it sure beat seeing Lebron sing, dance or come out in drag. Or worse yet, do all three! Grade: C

    Angry Dog Commercial - Not one of the better commercials, but there was definitely an attempt to be topical by playing around with the Vick story. I think actually seeing the dogs attack some hapless fool would have been far more entertaining than hearing the kids describe it. Grade: B

    Penelope at a Charity Auction - Kristen has found a character that really lets her shine. The problem is that the settings are exactly the same every time. Why not put her in an elevator, bus, or airplane? The additional tension created from the fact that nobody can escape her BS would add a lot to the sketch. Still, I like character and hope it has permanently replaced the Target Lady. Grade: B-

    High School Musical 3 - Parodies are sometimes hard to appreciate if you are not familiar with the source material. Even though I know nothing about HSM, I still liked the stupid songs and choreography. Doing Backstreet Boys-type songs and dance moves while holding basketballs is flat out ridiculous. Of course the B Boys are ridiculous anyway. Do they really do this junk on HSM? Grade: C

    Digital Short - "Iran So Far" - I thought this was just OK and subtly absurd. I didn't dislike it, but I didn't think it was a masterpiece either. Ahmadinejad in a red dress was cool though. Grade: B

    Read to Achieve PSA - The sequel to CBS Cares with JLD. Not as good as the first time around, but I think this type of cocky obnoxious character is what Sudeikis does very well. Remember the A-holes? Hader needs to bring more to his role than mild annoyance. Grade: B-

    The Lyle Kane Show - Another talk show! This wasn't great but it was OK for these reasons: 1. Wasn't Bronx Beat 2. Featured Will Forte 3. Punchline was about a BJ

    Grade: C

    Weekend Update - Wow, was Kenan ever bad as OJ! I guess I just can't forget how great Tim Meadows was in this role. Still, Fred's great portrayal as Ahmadinejad saved WU from being a complete mess. That and a couple of decent jokes, most notably the crossword joke.
    Grade: B

    Solid Gold - I guess I'll be the contrarian here and I say that I totally loved this one. Yeah, it was a flashback for me to the days when hair was big, spandex was de rigeuor, and lip syncing was expected. They totally nailed the hair, costumes, facial expressions, and absurd choreography. The biggest laughs of the night for me. Grade: A

    TV Funhouse - The Ambiguously Gay Duo - Back after an ambiguously long break. Always my favorite Smigel cartoon, the AGD seem to have mellowed a bit from the earlier years. I had previously thought this cartoon was gone for good because it was too offensive for some viewers, but I guess the time is right again for penis-shaped cars. Maya's head was in the lower right hand corner again, but I think it was there this time to signal the return of Maya. Grade: B+

    106 and Park - A self-parody of Kanye that didn't build into anything. The Nobel Prize awards could have been really great if Kanye had come out yelling how offended he was that his groundbreaking work in neutrinos had being overlooked. Or something to that effect. I think Kanye had more speaking lines in this one sketch than Lebron had all night. Grade: C

    Great Moments in Guidance Counselor History - Sudeikis spoke the truth more than told jokes. I see Lebron's choice as economically rational to join the NBA right out high school. Going to college would incur huge opportunity costs (years of lost NBA wages) which could not be offset by the knowledge gained and the degree earned. In fact, he could get injured during his college years and never get the big NBA check. Not a bad sketch, but I fail to see the humor in a sketch which makes perfect economic sense to me. Grade: C
  • One of the best season openers i have seen in a while

    Saturday Night Live
    Season 33 kicks off with Lebron James as the host and Kanye West as the musical guest.I wished Lebron would be as good as Manning but you cant always have it that way.I was sort of impressed with Kanye got four songs in.Although i felt i had already saw this.
    "The All-But-Certain-To-Be-Next-President," Amy comes on as Hiliary who appears to be coming our new presidant. I was a bit let down by this sketch.I felt it went no were and just dragged on.I thought Darrell did a better job then Amy *1/2
    "Angry Dog," A dog food that gives ur dog anger problems.Although i saw were the joke was i felt that the sketch wasnt in right order to make the joke bettr *
    "Penelope's Charity Auction," The third outing of Kristin's great character.I still like this character i dont feel like it has been over used yet.Lebron sells him self during an acution {spelt wrong} only to have competion from Penelope. *** 1/2
    "High School Musical 3," Finally a sketch that shows Andy is actually good in sketchs not just shorts.I liked this one very much it seemed they actually tried to knock off something - although they could have gone further but still fine ***1/2
    "Iran So Far" Another Great SNL short with Andy signing about the Iran presidant guest from Adam from Maroon 5 and Jake **** "Read to Achieve," Another one of those sort of CBS cares thing i didnt like it the first time and i didnt like it this time *
    "The Lyle Kane Show," A total mess of a sketch that went into the wrong direction *1/2
    "The Best of Solid Gold," Another wrong direcred sketch with Kenan talking about dancers * "Ambiguously Gay Duo" a much surprise to see one of these again. In this one they try to get show that Ace and Gary are gay I think this one finished it i cant see another one make. **,
    "106 & Park," A great sketch with Kanye making fun of his self **** "Great Moments in Guidance Counseling." The worst sketch of the night just to say zero stars
    All in all one of the best season openers in a while.
  • Ya know what I learned from this show? It takes real talent to play yourself in most of the skits you are in?

    Well, we return to the season premiere of SNL. I got lazy, as well as busy, in spring, so haven't done a review for some episodes. But I am back, and while I am waiting for the dye in my hair to settle, I will review. Glad to be back. I digress. Now to the show.

    This week's host is LeBron James, an athlete. More precisely, a basketball player. I didn't have high expectations since for every Peyton Manning, there is a Lance Armstrong. I wasn't impressed by Mr. James. He wasn't good. Below average I'll say. I'm not sure what his monologue was; I think a commercial parody. He also mentioned, in his velvet suit that matches a skirt I want, he plays for a team that I did not know he played for. I thought he played for the Lakers. Guess not. His monologue wasn't entertaining, and he wasn't a good host. C-

    This week, our musical guest is Kayne West. Mr. West, as he is starting to go by now, performed "Stronger," "Good Life," "Champion," and an improv version of "Everything I Am." I didn't watch, so had no idea he did so many songs. I didn't want to watch him. I'd rather listen to my own music. But, I'll be good, and rate him anyway. I'm sure he did well. He did appear in one skit, which was genius. More about that later. B+


    Cold Opening: The All-But-Certain-To-Be-Next President – Here we have Hilary Clinton bragging about how she'll be the next President, beating everyone and amazingly winning. The lady is really sure of herself. We also get an appearance by Bill. When Hilary said that after her second term, she might get a third, and Bill came into shot, I thought, "Let's get Bill back in the White House." This skit was entertaining, but not what I'd call funny. B

    Angry Dog – This is a dog food that makes your wimpy dog evil, mean, and violent. Not only will man's best friend attack other dogs, but he also might hurt deliverymen, neighbors, and you. I don't like dogs like that. I don't really care for dogs, but I like sweet ones. I didn't care for this. B-

    Penelope's Charity Auction – My first thought at this skit: Ooh, how original. LeBron is playing himself. What a tough role! I smell Emmy for this man. *rolls eyes* Anyways, Penelope annoys everyone at the auction by trying to appear better than everyone, even by growing a huge ZZ Top beard in a matter or seconds. Pretty funny skit. A-

    High School Musical 3 – Oh, I absolutely loved this skit. It was so funny. I never watched HSM, but know enough about it. (I really wanted to know why LeBron was playing a basketball player AGAIN?!) I loved the Vanessa Anne Hudgens joke, with her appearing unclothed. Andy made an interesting Zac Efron. He ain't that great of a dancer, but did well in the part. The part that made me laugh the most was Fred as Corbin Bleu. This was a great skit. Total awesomeness! A++

    Digital Short: Mahmoud – Andy does a song about Iranian President Mahmoud I-forget-his-last-name, with the comment he made that there are no gay people in Iran. This was very funny. It sounded familiar the song, but I couldn't identify it. My favorite part was, "There may be no gay people in Iran, but we're in New York." This was terrific. It also included appearances by Adam Levine and Jake Gyllenhaal. I wonder if they are friends? A+

    Read To Achieve – Once again, LeBron is a basketball player, himself again. This skit featured the guy from Julia Louis-Dreyphus' episode when she was filming a commercial. He has an attitude problem. I missed most of this skit since I was catching up on my notes, but from what I saw, it was pretty funny/. A-

    The Lyle Kane Show – Some nerdy white guy with a weird voice has his own show on BET? Then can I get a show? I am more familiar. This is a skit where LeBron is finally not a basketball player. At the end, we get the answer as to how Lyle got the job: he pleasured a guy. This skit was odd. I didn't care for it and hope it does not return. B-

    The Best Of Solid Gold – This skit is about the Solid Gold dancers, played by a few cast members and our host, who aren't the best dancers. All these dancers are my height, 5'6", and way 108, except LeBron. While this skit was strange, it was actually pretty funny. I liked it. A-

    TV Funhouse: The Ambiguously Gay Duo – Haven't seen Ace and Gary in sometimes. The start was shorter. The villains are trying to out Ace and Gary with the way a certain Senator was found in a bathroom. But I knew the end would show the plan would backfire, which it did. Okay then. The funniest part was charades. Hip shaking for clues. I could do that. B-

    106 & Park – Here is the 2nd BET skit of the night. This time, Kayne is on the countdown show, where he describes his sore losing at various shows. I love that Kayne can mock himself. He was upset at the 2007 Kid Choice Awards because "Drake and Josh" won Best Show, and he didn't. (BTW, Will does look a bit like Drake. I watch the show. It's entertaining and funny.) Kayne was upset he didn't win a Nobel Peace Prize. He freaked out he didn't win Best Pumpkin at a County Fair and some little girl did. He was even pissed that he wasn't SNL's host, only musical guest. This skit was very clever and funny. Awesome. A+

    Great Moments In Guidance Counseling – Once again, LeBron plays himself. His high school guidance counselor told him to go to the NBA to get rich and to forget the college diploma since it doesn't prove anything. Okay then. Not one funny part to it. C+

    For me it is between High School Musical 3, Mahmoud, and Kayne freaking out he doesn't win every award ever known to man. There were many great moments. Plenty of Andy. That's always a plus.

    LeBron playing a Basketball player in 4/6 skits he was in, and himself in 3/6. Pathetic.

    Kayne making fun of himself. It is great to know he has a sense of humor. It gives me more respect for him.

    SKIT AVERAGE: 3.5/4 A-

    SHOW RATING: 7.5/10 Sparkling Diamonds

    Next week is Seth Rogan, who gained fame over the summer for appearing in movies that did well, and writing some hits. I don't care for him. To me he isn't funny. And I am sick and tired of seeing his huge face on posters. He disturbs me! And for musical guest is Spoon. I have no idea who they are. See ya in a week.
  • I'm a big SNL fan. I know, it has it's ups and downs, but this episode, especially as a season opener, was really, really bad.

    An incredibly boring episode. The Hillary Clinton opener was ok, but way too long, only funny part is, when Darrel Hammond shows up as Bill Clinton. The "Angry Dog" thing was also way too long and overdone.
    "Penelope's Charity Auction": ok, but we've seen far better Penelope skits, just didn't feel right.
    "High School Musical 3" simply boring and unoriginal.
    "Read to Achieve": Boooooring! The one they did with Julia-Louis Dreyfus was way better.
    "The Lyle Kane Show" Again, way too long and not very funny.
    "The Best of Solid Gold" Ok, but again totally overdone.
    "Ambiguously Gay Duo" (cartoon) Come on Robert Smigel, you can do better. But it was not that bad.
    "106 & Park" Kanye is making fun of himself - ok, but again too long
    "Great Moments in Guidance Counseling" Does it get anymore boring? Luckily not, the episodes ends there.
    The only good things were the SNL Digital Short (Song about Mahmoud Ahmedinejad ) and the musical performances by Kanye West (His new album may suck, but his live gig was great)
    Oh, and Weekend Update wasn't good, but solid.

    One can only hope, that the writers come up with something more original next time.
  • I LOVED this episode =]

    Okay first of all, you can't say KanYe is a sore loser anymore. He made fun of himself, which shocked a lot of people. Plus his performance...oh my God. He killed it! He was absolutely amazing! I loved the performance of "Good Life" the best. Plus that freestyle he did was bomb. Our own Lebron James [I live in Cleveland =P] came to host and he was so hilarious. I loved when he dressed as a dork in the Lyle Kane show, and when he was one of the dancers in Solid Gold. xD It proved that LeBron can do other things besides basketball. Some other great skits last night were the SNL Digital Short featuring Andy Samberg and Adam Levine singing a song about Mahmoud Ahmedinejad [who looked exactly like the real Mahmoud!], Penelope at the Charity fund raiser, and High School Musical 3. Great way to start the season.