Saturday Night Live

Season 31 Episode 1

Steve Carell/Kanye West

Aired Saturday 11:30 PM Oct 01, 2005 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
69 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Live from New York, it's... Will Forte! Sketches include "Bush Addresses the Nation," "MorganStanley," "The JetBlue Crisis," "Anderson Cooper 360," "The Couple That Should Be Divorced," "Girls Gone Wild Katrina," "Kanye Backstage," "The Lundford Twins Variety Hour," "Fun With Real Audio" (cartoon), and "Debbie Downer." Kanye West performed "Gold Digger" and "Heard 'Em Say" featuring Adam Levine.moreless

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  • I’m baaaaaack…

    A Review by “HelloStuart,” the former “Heystu”

    From what we’ve seen, this has turned out to be a moderately eventful summer behind the scenes of SNL. Tina Fey gave birth a bouncing baby girl last month, and Maya Rudolph will be expecting her own bundle of joy any day now, which could temporarily leave the show with only two female cast members. At the network’s insistence, longtime executive producer Lorne Michaels fires a third of the writing staff in an attempt to revitalize what many consider to be the most stagnant element of the show. Rob Riggle finally became fed up with his lack of screen time and quit, prompting Lorne to hire two new featured players, Bill Hader and Andy Samberg, not to mention at least six new staff writers. Kenan Thompson and Finesse Mitchell were promoted to the repertory cast, though that may not guarantee more screen time for either actor. Prior to tonight’s show, there had no official word as to who would fill in for Tina at the “Weekend Update” desk.

    It probably goes without saying that there have been a lot of changes over the summer, the most notable one being the demise of TV Tome and the new site that arose from its ashes, Any fear of me being replaced or eradicated as an episode reviewer has been wiped out; in fact, under this new system anyone (and I mean ANYONE) can type up an episode review. Though I will miss the perks of being the only show in town, I guess I could take this time to take a look at my fellow reviewers. Here is an excerpt from a review written by one of my new colleagues pertaining to last season’s Robert DeNiro/Destiny’s Child episode:

    “dydydydyd jdjddjdj dydydydddyyy djdjdjdjdj yjyjy dddyyyjjjdddjjjyyy. dydydydyd jdjddjdj dydydydddyyy djdjdjdjdj yjyjy dddyyyjjjdddjjjyyy.”

    See? I’m in good company. Nevertheless, let’s take a look at this week’s episode. Steve Carell, star of the American version of “The Office” as well as this summer’s sleeper hit movie “The 40Year Old Virgin,” ventures back into his improv roots for one night. The musical guest is Atlanta-born, Chicago-raised egotist Kanye West, a hip-hop star that is probably most recognized for his ill-timed yet thoroughly accurate remarks at a televised Hurricane benefit last month.

    And now, a sketch-by-sketch analysis:

    COLD OPENING: An NBC Special Report from the ever-so-archaic Tim Russert (DH) leads into a press conference by President Bush (WF) concerning New Orleans and his growing list of troubles. Though this sketch feels like a commonplace recap of everything that’s happened in the past six weeks, it only emphasizes the fact that Dubya is in over his head, thus making it suitable albeit unoriginal political satire.

    OPENING CREDITS: Meet the new credits, same as the old credits.

    MONOLOGUE: Steve points out that he auditioned to join the cast in 1995 and it didn’t work out (he’s not lying- he was in the same improv troupe as David Koechner and Nancy Walls), then breaks out into a song-and-dance number about comedic actors that star in highly profitable movies. Suck on that, Ben Stiller!

    “Morgan Stanley”: What seems like a venom-filled confrontation between father and daughter after school gets a delightful surprise twist about money investment. Samberg makes his first sketch appearance as the daughter’s boyfriend, though he hardly utters a word. Isn’t this how Riggle started out?

    “The JetBlue Crisis”: A slowly unraveling passenger (AP) watches news coverage of her flight’s pending doom as her husband (Carell) glosses over the in-flight satellite channels. This second stab at bland topical humor is saved only by Hader’s delightfully monotone performance as CNN’s in-house psychologist.

    “Anderson Cooper 360”: More CNN? Boy, talk about cross-promotion. Anyhoo, the newsman and former reality show host (SM) reports live from the ruins of the Katrina tragedy, where a group of celebrities are helping rebuild one family’s house. As much as I was bothered to see Horatio drag out his Aaron Neville impression one more time, Hader’s uncanny Pacino imitation was a true sight to behold.

    “The Couple That Should Be Divorced”: Hey, wait a minute- weren’t they the Harrisons just a few months ago? Nonetheless, they’re the Needlers now, and tonight they’re doing their bickering shtick in a three-star restaurant. It was funny the first time I saw it, but now it’s already tired.

    “Girls Gone Wild Katrina”: Suidekis plays the Joe Francis surrogate as the women of N’awlens show off their goodies in four feet of contaminated water. At least it’s for a cause.

    BACKSTAGE: Lorne and Maya discuss the latter’s pregnancy, Finesse can’t believe that he’s been here two years now and no one has learned his name yet, and Kanye finally confronts a still-bewildered Mike Myers, which fittingly enough leads into…

    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: With a dutiful and well-disguised strings section, Kanye performs his current single “Gold Digger.”

    WEEKEND UPDATE: After months of many questions and few answers, the person that has been selected to fill in for Tina is… Horatio? Okay, he did a decent job tonight, even if he did crack up on one of his jokes, but what really made the segment work tonight were the two guest commentaries. Finesse’s report on the NYC nightlife meandered into an unforgettable experience with a transvestite, while Hader and Samberg introduced themselves to the audience with a seemingly rigged “impression-off.”

    “The Lundford Twins Variety Hour”: Carell replaces Paul Giamatti in what has to be most unlikely of potential recurring sketches. In this perculiar send-up of 60’s/70’s variety programs, the Lundfords introduce a very pregnant singer-songwriter (MR, obviously), a dance tribute to the 20’s, and an amorous soulster (KT). This sketch meant well, but it had “time filler” written all over it.

    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: With Adam Levine from Maroon 5 keepin’ it real suburb-style, Kanye continues to explore his religious beliefs with “Heard ‘Em Say.” Unfortunately, anyone that may be looking for the next “Jesus Walks” will have to settle with “Jesus Grounds Out to First.”

    SMIGELTOON: Now in its tenth smash year, “Fun With Real Audio” takes a stab at the John Roberts hearings, with the new Chief Justice dodging even the most simple of questions. Was it funny, though? To quote Roberts: “I certainly agree that reasonable people can disagree about that decision, yes.”

    “Debbie Downer”: Apparently, there was just enough gas in the tank for Paula Pell to write one more sketch featuring the determinedly depressing Deb (RD). This time around, she finds true love in the likeminded Bob Bummer (Carell) while sulking at a wedding reception.

    Normally, with the dawn of a new decade at SNL comes a new beginning. This was obviously not the case tonight, as the same cast from two years ago is still very much intact. We’ll probably get a better view of the quality of the writing in the coming weeks, but looking at tonight’s show it appeared to be slightly more uneven and overtly reliant on recurring characters. To no one’s surprise, Carell was an outstanding host; if anything did impress me, it was that he demonstrated far more versatility than I had expected. Letting Kanye West spoof his outspoken mien was probably the right thing for him to do, and having Myers come out of nowhere to tie up loose ends was the cherry on top of the sundae.

    Segments That Will Probably Be Removed In Repeats: “The Couple That Should Be Divorced,” “Girls Gone Wild Katrina,” “Lundford Twins Variety Hour” and “Heard ‘Em Say.”

    Next Week: I should you tell now that this could be a very, very bad omen. Jon Heder of “Napoleon Dynamite” fame hosts with musical guest (*glup*) Ashlee Simpson returning to the scene of the crime. I swear, it’s like a joke.

    Contact Stuart at
  • When Was The Last Time I Saw You?

    Well, here we are. Season 31. The biggest questions in the off season are obviously: Who’s gone? Who’s new? Is the writing better? And who, if anyone, is assisting Amy Poehler with Weekend Update? All of these questions will have been answered by the end of the night?

    Hosting the premiere is Steve Carell, one of the brightest comedians today, who is starring in The Office (American,) and used to be a prominent correspondent on The Daily Show. I look forward to this, and expect a big episode.

    NBC Special Report: Nice to see we’re starting with a political sketch, and better yet, we get to see Will Forte’s Bush again. Tim Russert (DH) introduces El Presidente (WF,) who keeps emphasizing the fact that he’s been to the Gulf Coast about, oh, about seven times. After Dubya struggles to field questions from reporters, like Terry (JS,) Wolf Blitzer (CP,) Nora (AP,) such as where the money could come from (“Stupid question,”) why the response was slow (“I had to cut my vacation short,”) and about Tom DeLay, Scooter Libby, Jack Abramoff, Karl Rove, and Bill Frist (“No comment,”) he kicks of the 31st season. I really enjoyed this skit, and it is nice to see Forte back to his Bush imitation again.

    Opening Sequence: Same sequence as last year, with Finesse and Kenan promoted, Riggle gone, and Bill Hader and Andy Samberg joining the featured performers.

    Monologue: Steve Carell, who stars in The Office and used to star in Jon Stewart, explains that ten years ago, he was passed over by Will Ferrell. He then boasts in song how he is now in the class of the top comedians. Even though he’s a terrible singer, and though some of the lyrics weren’t that great, he can make anything funny. I think this show is going to be really good.

    Morgan Stanley: Morgan Stanley explains how their representatives care even more about their clients than the actual parents. The twist at the end was great. Notable about this sketch is that new featured player Andy Samberg made his first appearance as the daughter's boyfriend.

    Jet Blue Flight: Larry and Connie (Steve, AP) fly on Jet Blue’s ill-fated Los Angeles flight, and while Connie is watching CNN about their flight, Larry is totally oblivious, and is too interested in the free direcTV on the flight. Despite reports from Tim Russert (DH) and the announcer (CP,) the husband remains completely oblivious. Carell was great, and it was nice to see Hader in his first skit (he played a TV professor on NBC.)

    Anderson Cooper 360: Anderson Cooper (SM) talks about how great he looks in spite of the Hurricane, who interviews Ray Nagin (FM,) who explains his appreciation to the entertainment community, despite the fact that celebrities such as Tony Danza, Sharon Stone, Al Pacino, and Ray Romano (FA, AP, BH, and Steve) are totally incompetent in building a house for a down-on-their-luck family (KT, MR, among others.) Nothing really special, but Steve’s clueless Romano and Hader's menacing Pacino were great.

    The Needlers: Neil and his fiancée (Steve, RD) make the mistake of eating out with Sally and Dan Needler (AP, SM,) who obviously need counseling. This is a total rewrite of the last time these two characters. Don’t remember them? Well, last time they were the Harrisons. It’s still pretty good though.

    Girls Gone Wild Katrina: In this Girls Gone Wild edition, the host (JS) exploits hot girl victims of Hurricane Katrina. Seeing the pure tastelessness of the video was unsurprisingly unfunny, making this the first truly bad sketch of the night.

    Musical Performance: Lorne tells Maya that her obvious pregnancy isn’t really that noticeable, and then tells Kenan, I mean Finesse, to check on Kanye West, who runs into an awkward conversation with Katrina telethon cohost Mike Myers, who talks about the disasters of being associated with Kanye West, and then Kanye goes out onto the stage to sing his recent hit “Gold Digger.” I don’t really care about rap, so I don’t care really about this song, but the part before the performance was the funniest part of the night. Also, I do respect his extraordinary stage presence.

    Weekend Update: And replacing Tina, who gave birth, at Weekend Update is…Horatio Sanz? Okay. After some no jokes by both, Horatio gives an editorial about how great a genius Bush is because of his ability to detract criticism by doing something worse, which Sanz had tried. Finesse then explains his nightlife experiences. Then, Bill Hader and Andy Samberg come onto the set for an “impression-off.” Even though Hader’s are great, Amy and Horatio can’t get enough of Samberg’s “Wazzups.” I can give a partial list of people who would have been better than Horatio, but I don’t want to list every cast member. The highlights include Amy’s crack about Michael’s new womanizing rap image and Hader’s and Samberg’s appearances, but there was really nothing else there.

    The Lundford Family Feel Good Variety Hour: They had this in the Giamatti episode, and I remember being thoroughly unimpressed. It is a total rewrite of the first time, with Aunt Crabtree (AP) trying to join the main banjo players (FA, Steve) on ukulele, another Maya performance, and dancers (CP, WF, RD, MR) do a ridiculous dance. Total, uncut, boredom. I’d put something else here, but it would be censored, but the point still gets across.

    Cartoon: In an installment of Fun with Real Audio, John Roberts uses his Senate conformation speak in conversations about the weather, McDonalds, little Jack Robert’s jokes, sex with his wife, a Rolling Stones concert, a Little League baseball game, and even in the oath for Supreme Court, before everyone starts to beat him up for his indecisiveness. It was nice seeing Roberts’ “A judge is like an umpire” metaphor in action, and being a politics junkie and a Roberts supporter, this was great for me.

    Musical Performance: I “Heard ‘Em Say” that Kanye (and some guy named Adam Levine, but who cares about that,) would be performing this song from his latest album. If only I could remember the title of the song…

    Debbie Downer: Three guests (FA, AP, and HS) have a wedding ruined by everyone’s favorite pessimist (RD,) as well as her new boyfriend Bob Bummer (Steve,) who eventually alienate everyone but each other. Nothing special, and a lackluster way to end the evening.

    Overall, I thought that this episode was a lot like Will Ferrell’s of last year. There was a ton of promise in the first half, but at about Weekend Update, it started going downhill. And while there were still highlights in the second half (the cartoon comes to mind,) it was mostly a disappointing end to a great episode.moreless
  • SNL needs to be revamped and fast.

    Firstly, I'm going to admit that I wasnt paying close attention to the episode as it aired, and I havent see it again. Thankfully.

    From what I recall, there were very few funny moments. Saturday Night Live has gone downhill incredibly fast.

    A few key moments in my mind include the terrible Girls Gone Wild: Katrina skit. It was poorly written, and is waaaay too soon since the tragedy in New Orleans.

    Moving to Weekend Update, Tina Fey was missing and replaced by Horatio Sanz. I like Sanz more than Fey, but he was a terrible anchor. He did worse than Amy Poehler, which I didn't think was possible.

    On the up side, there was one positive note in Weekend Update. The "Impression-Off" with the two new cast members was actually pretty good, at least for Bill Hader's impersonations. I can see him do well on the show. At least well enough with the current cast.

    Skipping ahead, the only other thing I recall at all is the "Debbie Downer" sketch with host Steve Carell as "Bob Bummer". That was the only decent moment for me in the episode. Carell is a lot better at being depressing that Rachel Dratch.

    Saturday Night Live, you need to be severely revamped. The show has rocketed downhill right after Will Ferrell left, and even those shows were pretty poor.moreless
  • A 40 Year Old Virgin and a college dropout

    Sometimes season premieres provide hope for things to come, and sometimes they make us hope things improve. Well, this time . . .

    This episode wasn't that bad. It shows an improvement from last season, one of if not the worst seasons of SNL I've even seen. This weeks host was the 40 year old virgin Steve Carrell, and the musical guest who says what I say, "Diamonds are forever," Kayne West. Of course they'd make fun of what he said about Bush, but not in what the SNL viewer would suspect. But the episode could be watched, so let's start grading, shall we?

    [b][u]Host[/u]:[/b] Steve Carrell was a decent host. Pretty good. His monologue went over well with me. It didn't annoy me at all for once. Not that every monologue last season did, but I digress. What made me wonder was why Carrell did not appear in the show much? He is a great comedian and a pretty good actor, so why didn't they use him more? But over all, he's been the best host of this season. Get it. [b]B[/b]

    [b][u]Musical Guest[/u]:[/b] Kayne West has been the best musical guest of this season too. Why do I say that? Well, have you seen some of the musical in the weeks to come? This is just on my opinion though. Anway, his first song, the number one song in Milwaukee on the "Top 8 at 8," is [i]Gold Digger[/i]. This might just be my favorite song of his. I really love it. Of course, it was obvious he would perform it, but still, it proved to be a treat to hear it. [b]A[/b] His second song was the not yet released, here anyway, [i]Heard Em Say[/i], featuring Adam Levine of Maroon 5. Now this is normally the kind of song I don't enjoy, it is slow and annoying, but I will say it was okay. In 2 weeks to a month, it will be on my radio, I guaruntee it. [b]B-[/b]

    [b][u]The Skits[/u]:[/b]

    [i]Bush Addresses the Nation[/i] - [b]B+[/b] It was funny, one of the better Bush skits with Forte as Mr. President.

    [i]Morgan Stanley[/i] - [b]B-[/b] Clever.

    [i]Jet Blue Crisis[/i] - [b]C+[/b] Could have been better. My mom knew what would happen from the very beginning, but I was hoping at the end, after they landed, it would blow up as Amy's character thought they were safe.

    [i]Anderson Cooper 360[/i] - [b]A[/b] Great! So funny.

    [i]The Couple That Should be Divorced - [b]D+/C-[/b] aka, my family. fighting all the time over the dumbest things.

    [i]Girls Gone Wild: Katrina[/i] - [b]F[/b] Oh come on! They can do a hell of a lot better than this.

    [i]Kayne Backstage[/i] - [b]B-[/b] Hey, sometimes ya gotta fill in 5 minutes, but it was alright.

    [i]Lundford Twins Variety Hour[/i] - [b]D[/b] Hopefully, this doesn't become a habit. The worst variety type show ever. No wonder it was unaired.

    [i]Debbie Downer[/i] - [b]C[/b] Tonight, it was okay, but hopefully Debbie doesn't return.

    [b][u]TV Fun House[/u]:[/b] "Fun With Real Audio" - [b]C[/b] The beginning was good, but it got weaker as it progressed.

    [b][u]Best Moments[/u]:[/b] For me, the best skit of the night was [i]Anderson Cooper 360[/i]. Now, that is what the skits were like when I started. I loved it. Also, [i]Morgan Stanley[/i] was actually clever. Now while I wouldn't mind seeing it return, hopefully it won't be over played. And, of course, there was "Gold Digger." Gotta love that song.

    [b][u]Worst Moments[/u]:[/b] Horatio on Weekend Update mostly sums it all up. He was horrible. Not funny at all. He must be replaced at once. And if I've said it once, I've said it 1,000 times: FINNESSE MITCHELL!!! The worst skit/bit on was [i]Girls Gone Wild: Katrina[/i]. That was a complete waste of time and totally inappropiate. It is low, even for them. That better not return. I also think that Carrell not being used much is low since he should have been.

    [b][u]Surprising Moment[/u]:[/b] Debbie Downer. This is a skit that I hated when it was on. Tonight was totally different. I didn't like Debbie, but Bob Bummer was the highlight. I actually laughed at this skit. That never happened. So I wish Debbie and Bob luck, and I am glad she has found her Prince Charming. Hopefully, that means she won't be seen for a while. It's not like Bob will be in every one of her skits.

    [b]Rating:[/b] 7/10 [i]Sparkling Diamonds[/i]

  • This episode tackled what was a potentially sticky situation head-on - namely Kanye's controversial comments during the Hurricane Katrina telethon. Actually, the funniest moment of the entire show was when Kanye bumps into Mike Myers getting coffee in themoreless

    I say this episode is adventurous not because it was the first in high definition, but because it tackled what was a potentially sticky situation head-on - namely Kanye's controversial (& accurate) comments during the Hurricane Katrina telethon. Actually, the funniest moment of the entire show was when Kanye bumps into Mike Myers getting coffee in the hallway on his way to perform on stage. In fact, it was one of the funniest moments of recent SNL history. Heck of a way to start off the new season. The Real Audio piece featuring Chief Justice John Roberts was also good.moreless
Kanye West

Kanye West


Guest Star

Steve Carell

Steve Carell


Guest Star

Adam Levine

Adam Levine


Guest Star

Don Pardo

Don Pardo


Recurring Role

Liz Cackowski

Liz Cackowski

Lundford Twins Dancer

Recurring Role

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • In the MorganStanley "commercial," the Amy Poehler's character can be seen with Apple iPod earbuds attached to her ears, but when the camera changes, they disappear.

    • When "The Couple That Should Be Divorced" first appeared in the Johnny Knoxville episode in Year 30, Sally and Don's last name was Harrison. In this episode (and from this point on) their surname is Needler.

    • Even though TV Land dates the "Lundford Twins Feel-Good Variety Hour" at 1967, nearly all the fashion and pop-culture references are clearly from the early-to-mid 1970's.

  • QUOTES (5)

    • (Aaron Neville flings his hammer.)
      Anderson Cooper: Whoa! Mr. Neville, what happened?
      Aaron Neville: (speak-singing) I put-m too much-m cocoa butter... on my haaaaands.

    • Andy Samberg: Uh, okay, here's Christopher Walken!
      "Hey, I'm Christopher Walken. You know, I'm in lots of movies and junk, Wazzuuuuuppp!! [his tongue hanging out; applause]
      Bill Hader: OK…
      Amy Poehler: Ha ha! He sounded just like him! Wazzup!! Wazzup!!

    • Amy Poehler: And now with an editorial is our own Horatio Sanz. (cheers and applause)
      Horatio Sanz: President Bush is a genius! The end.
      (awkward pause)
      Amy Poehler: Wait a minute, wait a minute. That's it? You know, you have to kind of explain yourself a little bit.
      Horatio Sanz: Fine, I'll explicate. Every time Bush screws up, he gets people off his back by doing something even more screwed up. The War in Iraq gets knocked off the front page by the Karl Rove leak, which gets forgotten because of Cindy Sheehan, then Hurricane Katrina comes along.
      Amy Poehler: Oh. Okay, and that makes him a genius, how?
      Horatio Sanz: Well yes, Amy. I mean, I tried this Bush technique this past week, and it was very useful. On Wednesday I showed up two hours late for rehearsal, so to distract people from that, I was also drunk. (some applause]) Then when somebody asked me if I was drunk, I punched Rachel Dratch in the neck. When they were putting her in the ambulance, I said, "Hey everybody, I'm gonna buy lunch!" Then I ordered fifty pizzas and left without paying!
      Amy Poehler: You're right, Horatio, President Bush is a genius. And so are you.

    • Mike Myers: So uh… Kanye… hey! (awkwardly approaches Kanye) So uh… how's everything goin'? (nervous laugh) I haven't seen you since uh… when was it?
      Kanye West: The telethon?
      Mike Myers: Oh right. I forgot. The telethon. I got a lotta calls about it. Yeah. Mostly from the FBI and the IRS. They uh… took away my American citizenship. Still got my Canadian one to fall back on. You know… I'm a Canuck! Pretty sure my phones tapped. They follow me now.
      Kanye West: So uh, everything's good?
      Mike Myers: Yeah, great. (breaks down and cries)

    • President Bush: I don't like wake-up calls; I'm a sleeper-inner.

  • NOTES (9)

    • Sketches cut after dress rehearsal include: a sketch about a talking baby, a feuding doctors sketch with Steve Carell and Chris Parnell, a sketch about a crazy radio station boss played by Carell, a "Carol!" sketch (later used in the Lance Armstrong episode), and a sketch about man wearing an overbearing wool sweater (later used in the Dane Cook/James Blunt episode).

    • Steve Carell is the first person from the hit show The Office to host Saturday Night Live.

    • Sketches/segments not shown in the 60 minute version: all of Weekend Update, "Lundford Twins Variety Hour," "Girls Gone Wild Katrina," and Kanye West and Adam Levine's performance of "Heard 'Em Say."

    • This is the first appearance of Seth Meyers' "Anderson Cooper 360."

    • Maya Rudolph appears on the show despite being eight months into her pregnancy. Maya gave birth to Pearl Bailey Anderson on October 15, 2005.

    • Tina Fey does not appear in this episode. Horatio Sanz fills in for her on Weekend Update.

    • This is the first SNL broadcast shown in HDTV.

    • Andy Samberg and Bill Hader's first episode.

    • Finesse Mitchell and Kenan Thompson were promoted to full cast member status with this episode.


    • Former castmember Mike Myers makes a guest appearance with Kanye West before West's performance, spoofing Myers' appearance with West at a telethon which raised money for Hurricane Katrina victims.