Saturday Night Live

Season 30 Episode 6

Luke Wilson/U2

Aired Saturday 11:30 PM Nov 20, 2004 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (3)

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  • "I'm at a place called Vertigo, it's everything I wish I didn't know"

    A Review by the Former "Heystu," The Most Sinister of Amateur Critics

    Usually when I write these reviews, I usually spend the first paragraph discussing recent SNL-related news and try to put a vague, nonpartisan viewpoint on this topic as a prelude to the actual assessment in itself. Unfortunately for me, when I started writing this I had nothing to talk about. I already stated the status of the season in progress last week, the gossip well has run dry, and nobody else has been caught pretending to sing since Ashlee Simpson essentially torpedoed her career, leaving me with little else to discuss. I have been pondering whether or not I could compare/contrast my personal life to the show, but A) that veers way off the topic and B) nobody cares.

    This week, SNL bucks the trend a little by neither presenting a host that is from the UK nor promoting some Oscar-bait movie. In this case, the master of ceremonies is good ol' boy Luke Wilson, whose next project won't be released until early next year. This little tidbit of information is of minimal interest when you consider that U2, one of the show's most memorable musical guests in recent memory, makes a return engagement in a vain attempt to get the audience out of their seats.

    And now, the sketch-by-sketch analysis:

    COLD OPENING: A lukewarm "Apprentice" spoof with an indifferent Dubya (WF) deciding whether or not to fire the already-resigned Colin Powell (FM). As much as I appreciate Darrell Hammond's blunt Rumsfeld impression, I expected so much more out of this.

    MONOLOGUE: Luke kisses up to the cast and crew for all their hard work, then recaps a wild night on the town with Horatio Sanz and his trusty digicam. Though it was only moderately interesting, seeing Luke make out with an elderly couple certainly proved that this was a host who was up for anything.

    "Debbie Downer": To the dismay of some, this still has legs. Our favorite purveyor of gloom (RD) ruins a Thanksgiving dinner with her mentions of eczema, African diamonds, and the Chinese typhoon season. While it's apparent that Dratch can't make an expression of sadness without contorting her face, she finally cracks up right at the very end of the sketch. Of course, by then it's a little too late.

    "The American Trainwreck Awards": Diana Ross (MR) and a strangely flat-chested Anna Nicole Smith (AP) emcee an inspired awards show for celebrity burnouts. Included in this sketch are the obvious jokes toward Nick Nolte and Courtney Love, plus a deliberately woebegone Toby Keith-Josh Groban (RR, Luke) duet, another Ashlee Simpson reference and a last-minute allusion to last Friday's Pacers-Pistons game. Suffice to say, this was too funny for its own good.

    CARTOON: A speech by President Bush pertaining to gay marriage leads into the introduction an identity-swapping machine called a "homo-cranial mindmixer." Unfortunately, the only positive effect of the machine is kinky gay-celeb sex, so Bush accidentally transmogrifies himself with his dog. Despite its best intentions, this was a lackadaisical political satire with a one-joke premise.

    "Lifelong Friends": Two old buddies (RR and Luke again) bring new meaning to the phrase "finger food" to the disgust and dismay of their girlfriends (AP, MR). While it felt like well-decorated time filler, it also suffered from a discouraging shock-and-awe vibe I haven't seen since Year 20.

    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: The Edge binges on a monster riff, Adam Clayton reaches for the bottom, Larry Mullen pretends to be bored while playing the drums, and Bono makes love to the camera. Yep, this must be "Vertigo."

    WEEKEND UPDATE: Tina can't stop making Clinton jokes, but that's the least of anyone's problems. Ah-nuld (DH) drops by to discuss a possible amendment to the constitution, though the impression in itself has become repetitive. Just before meeting the one-news-clip-per-night quota, a cleaning lady (MR) drops by in awkward silence. But the one bona-fide belly laugh of the night came from toy guru Dan Schwartz (FA), who gives Amy a Bop It-type toy that doubles as a moaning phallus.

    "The Coolest Teacher at Benton Township High School": At least the title doesn't give it away. A well-respected educator (SM) is one-upped by a new faculty member (Luke) who's far cooler than he is, until a poorly-executed twist proves otherwise. Strangely, the greatest saving grace of the sketch was the fact that Horatio (as a twenty-something student) cracked up for the first time since last season.

    "The Falconer": Will Forte's upper-appreciated woodsman finds himself in peril yet again, and the situation only gets worse when a yodeling dog lover (Luke) creates a monstrous rockslide. And like he always does, Donald the Falcon and his new canine friend take a detour to the state fair, where they ride roller coasters and upchuck. But when the going gets tough, Donald saves the day yet again. There is something predictable about each edition of the recurring sketch, but they are oddly appealing.

    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: Sometimes you can become international superstars with a remarkably long shelf life, but "Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own."

    "Business Trip": A concept sketch in which three guys in a bar (Luke, SM, KT) admit their hatred for their jobs, discuss the conflict in Iraq, but most of all get drunk and unwieldy. I guess it was worth a chuckle or two.

    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: At first it looks like they're ending the show a couple of minutes early, but then Luke Wilson and Bono stand up and we close the show out with the raging "I Will Follow." It's a cool song and everything (it's one of my favorite tunes by the band), but doesn't it scare you that the song is almost 25 years old? And as promised by our inner desires, Bono does jump off the stage and get hands-on with his audience, then (seemingly) gropes Poehler. But before we can hear a second encore that may or may not have been "(Pride) In the Name of Love," the show draws to a close.

    Wow. Wowee wow wow. I knew U2 would put on a great performance, but I totally wasn't expecting this. In fact, a stint this memorable makes you almost forget Luke Wilson's middling turn as host and roughly five or six mediocre sketches. All in all, this was a satisfying show, soaring almost entirely on Bono's theatrics.

    Sketches That Will Probably Be Removed In Repeats: "Lifelong Friends," "The Coolest Teacher at BTHS," and "Business Trip."

    Next Week: Probably a rerun or another unnecessary "Best of" special. Or better yet, a rerun of a "Best of" special.

    On The Next Live Broadcast: Euro-centrism continues to rage on December 11 with Irish badboy Colin Farrell as host with expatriot pop-rockers The Scissor Sisters as musical guest.

    Is there anything you want to tell HelloStuart? If it's a burning question, I'll even answer it in this very column. Send your queries to, and I will respond promptly.
  • C'mon, U2 doing almost 6 songs? Classic...

    The sketches were real good, especially for a crappy 30th season. But, the best part...U2 doing almost 6 songs for the SNL audience? What a great way to do this episode. Bono goin' up to Amy Poehler brought her to tears. The E! rerun shows a few more seconds of footage as the credits end. Boy, I hope the footage surfaces...

  • Acting: B- Host: C Writing: C+ Musical Guest: A+

    Jmarsh89’s Second Review-

    I’m watching this episode on the September 3 rerun. The first time I saw it, I remember liking The Falconer sketch, but thinking that the rest of the show was completely overshadowed by U2’s musical performances. Let’s see if that opinion holds:

    COLD OPENING: In this “White House” version of The Apprentice, George Bush (WF) has to choose between firing Donald Rumsfeld (DH,) Colin Powell (FM,) and Condoleezza Rice (MR.) Because Rumsfeld scares Bush and because Condi is easier on the eye, he chooses to fire the already-resigned Powell. The premise seems hilarious, but this is overall a “meh” sketch.

    MONOLOGUE: The “other” Wilson walks onto the stage and talks about the wild night at the bar with Horatio, who walks onto the stage and shows Luke his embarrassing pictures on his cell phone. A lot of the photos are really funny (my favorite is Luke urinating on the ice skating, with a little help of Horatio,) and the banter was funny, so this was a very good monologue for my taste,

    "Debbie Downer": Forgive me, but I never saw the Lindsay Lohan installment, so I might be a bit partial towards this sketch. In this installment, Debbie Downer (RD) ruins a Thanksgiving party and annoys the guests (Luke, AP, FA, HS, and SM,) by talking about the Chinese typhoon season, the Native American plight, dementia, and the African diamond industry before making the mandatory feline AIDS plug at the end, which eventually chases away all the guests, including the turkey. Seeing this again, it is not as good as I remember it.

    "The American Trainwreck Awards": Diana Ross (MR) and Anna Nicole Smith (AP, in a dead on imitation) host this faux awards show for the most embarrassing celebrity moments from the past year, making the mandatory Ashlee Simpson plug, before introducing Tara Reid and Mickey Rourke (RD and SM,) who are unable to give out the award due to an “accidental” bare-all. The sketch ends with an obligatory reference to the Pacer-Piston fight the night before. I skipped it the first and second times it aired, but seeing it now, I’m glad that I did.

    CARTOON: President Bush introduces a new device called a “homocranial mind mixer,” which converts the sexual preferences of gays and lesbians to that of heterosexuals, before ugly stripping by Ellen Degeneres and Ryan Seacrest. In the end, all the celebrities are switched back, but not before Bush transmogrifies himself with his dog. This sketch was a total mess.

    "Lifelong Friends": Two lifelong friends (RR, Luke) have gotten too close for their girlfriends’ (MR, AP) tastes, including feeding each other like babies and completely ignoring their girlfriends, causing them to leave. I have to admit, I don’t think I laughed once.

    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: U2, I mean Bono, performs their hit single Vertigo, with Bono constantly mugging to the camera and showing off. I’ll try to be unbiased, but U2 is one of my favorite bands of all time, so I thought this performance was great. And, they didn’t lip synch, which was even better.

    WEEKEND UPDATE: After a bunch of political no jokes, Arnold Schwarzenegger (DH) continues the string with a commentary about a possible amendment allowing foreign presidents. This doesn’t get good until Dan Schwarz (FA) introduces a Bop-It style toy phallus, which essentially saves the segment.

    "The Coolest Teacher at Benton Township High School": In this sketch, students (KT, AP, HS, FA, and a bunch of writers) of the most popular teacher at school (SM) are more impressed by the stoner new teacher (Luke,) who turns out to be the meanest teacher at the school. This premise is really stupid, and Horatio making a pointless Nazi Germany reference seals the deal. However, it was nice to see future cast member Jason Sudeikis have a non-speaking cop role.

    "The Falconer": Ooh good! I love these! In this installment, everyone’s favorite woodsman (WF) and his trusty falcon Donald are trapped in an avalanche and meet a yodeler (Luke) who worsens the rockslide. Donald and the yodeler’s dog Clancy decide to skip saving their masters for the state fair, but end up returning with a stick of dynamite. This was the first really good sketch of the night, and the ending with Forte probably broken up was hilarious.

    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: Bono, Edge, Larry, and Adam return to the stage to perform their Atomic Bomb hit “Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own.” This is definitely one of those songs that grows on you after listening to it a lot.

    "Business Trip": Three men on a business trip (KT, SM, Luke) drunkenly discuss business trips, room service, their wives, talk about their drunkenness, and the war in Iraq using about much wording as humanly possible. Not a bad final sketch.

    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: Just when you think the episode’s over, Bono and the band returns to the stage to play their ageless classic “I Will Follow.” During the song, Bono adds even more face time with the camera, rubs against an audience member, swallows Amy Poehler in a hug, and then starts playing “All Because of You,” which gets cut off as I instead get to some garbage that no one cares about.

    This show is pretty much as I remember it. Everything was average except for U2’s amazing performances. If not for U2, this episode would be a 5. However, with U2, this is a 6.8.

    BEST SKETCHES: Musical performances, “Falconer,” and “Trainwreck Awards.”

    WORST SKETCHES: Cold opening, “Debbie Downer,” “Lifelong Friends,” and Cartoon.

    Acknowledgements: Thanks to HelloStuart for the sketch-by-sketch format and the sketch names.

    -Comments? Complaints? Questions? Feel free to PM me any time you want.
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