Saturday Night Live

Season 34 Episode 8

Paul Rudd/Beyonce

Aired Saturday 11:30 PM Nov 15, 2008 on NBC
out of 10
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54 votes

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Episode Summary

Live from New York, it's... Jason Sudeikis!

Sketches include "Vice President-Elect Joe Biden," "Sproingo," "The Kissing Vogelchecks," "Scared Straight," "Everyone's a Critic" (Digital Short), "Tom and Tonya Peoples," "'Garden Party' Road Trip," "Beyonce Video Shoot," "Suicide Negotiation," "Proposition 8," and "Clearing the Air" (film).

Beyonce performed "If I Were a Boy" and "Single Ladies."moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • "You see, ya can't please everyone, so ya gotta… please yourself"

    A Review by "HelloStuart," ACILF

    Just as many had speculated, earlier this week Lorne Michaels hired two new featured players (both female) in the wake of Amy Poehler's departure. The first addition is Abby Elliott, a 21-year-old wunderkind who also happens to be the daughter of ex-cast member Chris Elliott. The second rookie is Michaela Watkins, a Groundlings alum that has been making the sitcom rounds for the last couple of years. Judging from some YouTube clips that I watched earlier in the week, Bob & Ray's granddaughter can do spot-on imitations of Kirsten Dunst and Angelina Jolie, while Mike does masterful impressions of Arianna Huffington and Amy Winehouse. Hopefully, the show's future is in good hands.

    This week's host is Paul Rudd, the character actor (yes, another one) that added flavor to hit movies like "Anchorman," "The 40-Year Old Virgin," and "Role Models," which opened last weekend. Making her fourth appearance as musical guest is Beyonce Knowles, the R&B chanteuse behind the Chris Gaines-esque concept album "I Am... Sasha Fierce."

    And now, the sketch-by-sketch analysis:

    COLD OPENING: Vice President-Elect Joe Biden (JS) addresses the country to promise that he'll be just as entertaining as Governor Palin would've been, reinforcing every boneheaded comment he made during the race and pledging to make even more dunderheaded remarks over the next four years. Is this supposed to appease critics of the Obama administration, or a harbinger of more weak Biden sketches to come?

    OPENING CREDITS: "Andy Sandler?" "Meekela Watson?" Is there something you're not telling us, Don?

    MONOLOGUE: Paul less-than-subtly laments that he's hosting the show right smack in the post-election hangover. His inability to keep a poker face wasn't intended to go for the belly laugh, but it plays out like a plea by the producers, cast and writers to keep tuning in despite the retirement of Tina Fey's Sarah Palin impression. Seriously- the non-political sketches aren't that bad…

    "Sproingo": An erectile dysfunction remedy that comes with wacky sound effects (pun intended). Not quite as grounded or nuanced as "Dr. Porkenheimer's Boner Juice," but certainly not as raw, either.

    "Kissing Family": The Vogelcheck family (FA, KW, BH, Paul) have a tendency to constantly lock lips, much to the discomfort of the younger son's college roommate (AS). Again, the writers tinker with a sketch concept from SNL's distant past –in this case, "Regurgitating Family" from Year 25- and rewrite it for modern sensibilities. Where the vomit-mongers created a minor masterpiece of gross-out humor, this rehash has a vaguely political subtext. Breath mint, anyone?

    "Scared Straight": Prisoner Lorenzo MacIntosh (KT) resurfaces to shock three teenage delinquents (BH, AS, Paul) via '80s movie references and anal rape threats. This might be the only good thing Kenan has going on SNL right now; it's not perfect, but it sure beats having to hear "fix… it… now" one more time.

    DIGITAL SHORT: Andy and Paul draw nude portraits of each other, but their mutual affection for each other's bodies is not appreciated by the rest of society. What it came down was two-thirds of a great digital short; the piece leaped from one bizarre peak to another, but the ending was one mountain too high to cross.

    "Country Bar Open-Mic": Tom and Tonya Peoples (Paul, KW) sing a song set to the tune of "Ode to Billie Joe" about the shipment of a package and its lengthy delivery code. It was pretty wacky a strangely muted way, and though it took awhile for me to figure out what this sketch was about, the wait was worth it.

    "Garden Party": Trading a bar for a cramped car, four guys have weird reminiscences while singing the refrain from the 1972 Ricky Nelson hit. It's more of the usual sexual peccadilloes and social misanthropy –anonymous bathroom sex, a flunked drug test, and so forth- that it's sad to see such a wonderful one-off sketch from two seasons ago turn into a tired recurring sketch. Besides, was the gory ending all that necessary?

    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: Is the ballad "If I Were a Boy" supposed to be a response to Katy Perry's gay-baiting, or is this part of her Sasha Fierce shtick? Beyonce's powerhouse voice is the only thing carrying this forgettable song.

    WEEKEND UPDATE: Seth declares that for the next four years, the buzzword will be pronounced "new-clear," a gag that makes the audience cheer and sums up any good tidings SNL's news crew might have for our 44th president. After a barrage of jokes involving an armless TV thief, half-forgotten '60s cartoon Snagglepuss (BM) addresses Proposition 8 before outing himself and his partner, the Great Gazoo (WF). The biggest surprise was saved for last, as Justin Timberlake admits that he couldn't host the Thanksgiving show because of schedule conflicts. In doing so, he summarizes what that show would've been like, a rehash of past JT sketches ("Turkeyville?") that almost seems like an overly damning summarization of the current state of SNL.

    "Beyonce Video Shoot": While filming the clip for "Single Ladies," Ms. Knowles is stymied by her three male backup dancers (Justin, BM, AS) and their apparent come-ons. Watching three guys writhe around in black bodysuits proved to be much funnier than I could ever describe it.

    "Suicide Jump": A man with nothing left to lose (Paul) stands on a ledge while two negotiators (BH, WF) fail to build a rapport or say anything meaningful beyond the word "don't." Forte is on weirdness autopilot, and everything else felt strained.

    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: Hey, it's "Single Ladies" again. It's funky and energetic and everything, but I wouldn't have minded seeing JT et al. busting a move again.

    "Proposition 8": Two manly parking garage attendants (BH, Rudd) wax philosophical on the California same-sex marriage ban, than slowly reveal their own romance for each other. Everything about this sketch felt butchered; the pacing the wrong, Bill was somewhat miscast, and the ending was nothing short of predictable.

    "Clearing the Air": A filmed piece (directed by Noah Baumbach!) where Fred, Bill, and Paul discuss a mutual girlfriend but with limited language or context. Instead, the nervous "no no no's," "yes yes yeses," and "okay okay okay's" speak volumes of their dysfunctional friendships. SNL rarely lends itself to restrained, character-driven pieces like this one, especially when the show is so driven to find its next YouTube sensation, so banishing it to the last five minutes of the show (unfortunately) sort of makes sense.

    Tonight's broadcast was probably just as uneven as it was an exercise in shock humor and pushing the proverbial envelope. The underlying theme of the show was the cast's support of gay rights, but much like the financial-themed show from last month the message was simultaneously nonchalant and heavy-handed. The two rookies had little to no impact on tonight's broadcast, and Michaela wasn't even in any live sketches; rather, the night was dominated by Fred, Bill and Andy, who seemed to be best match for Rudd's dry wit. I half-expected Paul to be a stone-faced clown a la Peter Sarsgaard, but in some aspects he was more like a demented ringmaster and in turn an unexpected breath of fresh air.

    Segments That Probably Won't Air in Repeats: "Garden Party," "Suicide Jump," "Proposition 8," and "Clearing the Air."

    Next Week: Country singer Tim McGraw hosts with musical guests Ludacris and T-Pain. Shades of Jon Bon Jovi…

    "HelloStuart" resides in Downers Grove, IL. Contact him at
  • This episode had one too many homoerotic jokes.

    This episode had one too many homoerotic jokes and I wonder my god why? What happened? Is this like a "funny" way to convey the fact that they had nothing to go on? They might as well not have shot the episode at all.

    They went for shock value, with the kissing family and the guys talking about sex in their cars. All shock value, no wit. Nothing.

    I enjoyed the intro with that guy who's Obama's veep (can't remember the name) but other than that the show was really weak. And no, Rudd making fun of that fact doesn't make it not weak.moreless
  • Terrible episode

    This is a terrible episode. There are not many good sketches, and almost every one of them is about homosexuality or contains gore. it's very Andy Samberg-y and he is not really the best one they have. The affectionate family skit was funny, but definitely over the line. The Everyone's a Critic thing is exactly what makes people not watch this show. I was hoping for something better as the show seemed to be on an upswing, but, I guess not. None of the jokes are funny, and they rely on more of a gag reflex or shock value to get their humor. To me that is not really humor.moreless
  • We get it. Prop 8 passed.

    The elections are over. Obama won. Okay. Is SNL's alpha over? Will SNL just go back into another 3 year media hiatus? Or longer? Will it actually stay relevant? Will it try? So many things could happen. Unfortunately, the show has relied so much on the election that the show could crawl under a rock for quite some time. The show could make a surge. Anything could happen...

    Also, we've got new cast members. I wish Abby Elliott and Michaela Watkins luck on their stint on the show. I'm excited to see how it works out for all of them.

    This week's host is Paul Rudd, and musical guest is Beyonce.

    A Message From Joe Biden: I'm glad to see SNL is still going to write funny political stuff, opposed to long and boring political stuff.

    Opening Credits: I love how all these pictures contrast now. The people who joined in 2006 have duller looking backgrounds, while Casey has a transition from duller to brighter, while Bobby had bright, and now, the two girls are really really bright.

    Monologue: Paul makes a few cracks at SNL for the elections being over. Funny, I guess.

    Springing Erection: So, maybe this was somewhat a creative idea. Close but no cigar? But, still, thumbs up for having a 3rd taped commercial of the season.

    Kissing Family: Wow. Just wow. Our post-monologue sketch is a one-joke premise about how a family likes to kiss eachother. This was so predictable, right to the Andy/Armisen making out session at the end.

    Scared Straight: Wow. I love how they copied everything from the Shia LaBeouf broadcast. I guess they should be blessed for giving Kenan new sayings, but still. Same kids, aside from Paul being Shia. Needless to say, this wasn't very funny.

    Digital Short: Everyone's a Critic: Now, this was actually really funny. It went all over the place, but it was still really good.

    Country singers: You would have thought they would save this for next week. But, anyways, it wasn't funny.

    Song Memories: I'm glad they tried to mix it up here and put it in a car. This was soooo much funnier than the Ashton Kutcher version. It was actually a good sketch!

    Musical Performance: Beyonce performs "If I Were a Boy". Talk about a boring song.

    Weekend Update: Why is Amy still credited? Will she actually come back for one last goodbye? Anyways, Update was probably one of the best parts of the show. Justin Timberlake was actually really funny. I can't help but say I wish he were host/musical guest next week...

    Beyonce Shooting Tape: Justin Timberlake part 2. This wasn't funny. It was another one premise sketch.

    Don't: I guess this sketch was entertaining. It wasn't knock out funny, but then again, so wasn't this episode.

    Musical Performance: Beyonce performs "Single Ladies", which is a vast improvement over If I were A Boy. Beyonce always does know how to put on a great performance.

    Homosexual marriage: Wow. We beat a dead horse tonight with homoerotic stuff. I guess this was somewhat entertaining.

    Old Girlfriend: Who's Noah? Anyways, this wasn't any sign of entertainment.

    This episode broke below average. I wish I could say that the writers tried, but they really didn't. This also wasn't a good night for the girls. Casey wasn't in the live show, Kristen wasn't as prominent, Michaela powdered Beyonce's face, and Abby was in 2 taped segments with extremely small parts, and said marked for the director in one sketch.

    Now, maybe it wasn't the writers as much as it was the host's humor. That does put a big part in the show. I'm not sure though. Also, the only thing I was looking forward to tonight was the new girls. That came crashing down fast. At least Bobby got his own Update part.

    Paul fell in with the cast while Beyonce was a pretty good musical guest. Her live performances are awesome.

    Next week: Tim McGraw hosts with musical guests T-Pain and Ludacris. Oh please...moreless
  • I had high expectations with the addition of two new players. Sadly, they weren't used and the show took a turn towards gayness and violence.

    Biden Message – Pretty much a by-the-numbers sketch with a political talking head addressing the camera telling us why he will be as funny as Palin. And we leave the sketch somewhat unconvinced at his assertion. Sudeikis does a fine job as Biden and it was probably good to give a heads up to everybody that the Palin sketches are only a memory at this point, but it just kind of lacked any real punch. It was short though. Grade: C Paul Rudd Monologue – More explaining to the crowd that Fey as Palin is over (this time explicitly). Rudd did a good job with the jokes and showed a nice reaction after learning that Obama would not be present on the show. Grade: B

    Sproingo – Pretty sophomoric humor, but entertaining nonetheless. I wonder if the writer has had some bad experiences with not knowing when his ding dong medicine had kicked in. Nice ending with the TV tray getting knocked over. Grade: B

    The Vögelcheks – Nothing clever here, but that's not the point. The audience was supposed to share in Andy's discomfort with all of the kissing. Which is really a setup for the big kiss with Andy and Fred. Andy's reactions and the incredible exaggeration of affection are what sold it for me. I enjoyed the awkwardness of it, kind of like that sketch where Julianna Margulies finally gives in and chews the food for Chris Kattan. Grade: A-

    Scared Straight – Just when I thought it was safe to declare myself a fan of Kenan, he returns to his usual "talking loud guy". It doesn't matter which character it is, they are all the same. I was hoping he might explore more of the Grady Wilson type stuff, but alas, he has reverted to what he has become known for: large and in charge with or without a dress. McIntosh certainly has some Matt Foley in him, but he forgot to add the funny parts. Grade: D-

    SNL Digital Short: Everybody's a Critic – I've kind of lost hope in the Lonely Island guys. Their output as of late has been of such low quality that it begs the question why they are still on the show. This short was just so violent and weird that it seemed out of character for the show. As I mentioned earlier, you don't necessarily have to be clever to be funny. But, on the other hand, a feeble attempt at wittiness falls even harder than not trying at all. Grade: D

    Songwriters Showcase – Why do a song sketch if there is no pay off? Getting cut off by the emcee because the song is too long and rambling hardly counts as a punchline. It is certainly possible to create a funny scene within the context of a song. Just check out This is Spinal Tap for proof (my favorite movie of all time BTW). Grade: D

    Song Memories – The storytellers return for a few more trips down memory lane. The good: they have left the bar. The bad: the stories were not very funny and the Pulp Fiction ending (again) left me cold. Grade: C-

    Weekend Update – I loved the recurring unarmed robbery joke. Seth did a good job of milking this one for all that it was worth. I liked Bobby's Snagglepuss and loved the interaction with Forte's Great Gazoo. These guys should get a sketch sometime. Timberlake brings a lot of energy to the show and does a good job as a host or guest. His explanation of the episode that will never be was entertaining and he made it possible to visualize exactly how it would have happened. I could do without another Target Lady sketch and Barry Gibb Show though.. Grade: A- Beyonce Video – The gay dancing thing has been done quite a bit before in SNL history. My favorite is still the DeMarco Brothers with their literal translations of the lyrics. These guys were OK, but did not do much besides make silly poses and awkward dance steps. Grade: B-

    Jumper – A man threatens to jump and eventually does after the incredibly poor handling of the negotiators. The "Don't" joke was OK for a while, but got old quickly. The ending was kind of depressing. Needed to be rewritten or scrapped altogether. Grade: C-

    Parking Valets – Remember when Crystal and Guest used to play those night watchmen who always said "I hate it when that happens"? Now that was funny! This sketch was a poor homage to their great characters and didn't go anywhere. Grade: D

    Fred, Bill, and Noah Present: 3 Friends Repeating Words and Sharing a Chick – Was this supposed to be funny? I'm not sure what the point was. Grade: Fmoreless

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • In the cold opening, Vice President Biden (Jason Sudeikis) claims that he cannot blink, but he blinks twice 30 seconds later.

    • In the "Beyonce Video Shoot" sketch, Beyonce has three back-up dancers; however, in the real video for "Single Ladies," she only has two. Even in the live performance in the episode, she has two dancers.

    • In the first "Scared Straight" sketch, Jason Sudeikis' character's name was Officer Matthews, but in this episode it has been changed to Sikorsky.

  • QUOTES (0)

  • NOTES (7)

    • Sketches not shown in the 60 minute version: "Scared Straight," "Tom and Tonya Sing 'Choctaw Ridge'," "Clearing the Air" (film), "Suicidal Jumper," and Beyonce's performance of "If I Were A Boy."

    • Paul Rudd also worked with the cast in the movies Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy (with Fred Armisen), Fast Track (also with Fred Armisen), Knocked Up (with Bill Hader), The Ten (with Jason Sudeikis), Forgetting Sarah Marshall (with Bill Hader), and I Love You, Man (with Andy Samberg).

    • Although credited, Amy Poehler didn't appear due to maternity leave.

    • Beyonce was performed "Single Ladies" in the Latin American edit of this episode; however, usually the musical guest is only shown singing the first song, presumably so that the "Beyonce's Video Shoot" sketch would make sense.

    • Don Pardo, the announcer for the show, mispronounces debutante Michaela Watkins' last name as "Watson" just after barely getting through her first name. Thrown off by that, he then completely misses his cue to announce Paul Rudd.

    • "Clearing the Air" was directed by Noah Baumbach.

    • Abby Elliott and Michaela Watkins' first episode.


    • In the "Everyone's A Critic" digital short, the scene where people die after seeing the painting is a spoof of the 1981 movie Raiders Of The Lost Ark. In fact, at one point you see Indiana Jones (Bill Hader) shouting "Look away, Marion!"

    • In the "Everyone's A Critic" digital short, the scene where Andy Samberg and Paul Rudd painted each other spoofed the 1997 movie Titanic.