Saturday Night Live

Season 31 Episode 12

Steve Martin/Prince

Aired Saturday 11:30 PM Feb 04, 2006 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (3)

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  • He takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’…

    A Review by "HelloStuart," Amateur Critic and Disgraced Memoirist

    Well, if you haven't heard the good news, I may as well tell you now: after sitting out half the season, Maya Rudolph returns to the good graces of SNL with this week's episode. Luckily for her, she's not returning with the show in a state of chaos; in truth, she'll probably make a respectable season even better. Whatever questions were raised when Tina Fey returned from maternity leave four months ago have been either answered or eradicated.

    Speaking of good news, this week's host is someone that is almost iconic to the show and was a one time feared to never appear again. That man is the comedy immortal Steve Martin, whose appearance tonight is his fourteenth as host, a record that has been challenged but never equaled. His musical guest is Prince, who also hasn't been on the show in quite a while; in fact, the last time Señor Purple appeared on SNL he and Charles Rocket dropped f-bombs and got half the cast and crew fired. It probably figures that all this fan gratification is occurring during February sweeps, as the Olympics gobble up the next three Saturdays. In fact, this incredible smattering of good news almost completely overshadows the fact that the live broadcast scheduled for March 18th may or may not have been cancelled for wrestling coverage.

    And now, the sketch-by-sketch analysis:

    COLD OPENING: A filmed opening sketch? What is this, “Lonely Island Live”? But I digress- Steve and Kelly Ripa are enjoying a quiet dinner in a nice restaurant as his “Viagra clock” ticks like an egg timer, but word of Alec Baldwin tying Mr. M’s record forces our hero to take some very drastic action.

    MONOLOGUE: Steve takes a much-deserved bow before realizing that his memories of first hosting the show thirty years ago are fuzzy and self-serving at best. Maya makes an impromptu appearance to show off her curvy, post-pregnancy look, which results in the repressive explosion of Steve’s Viagra clock.

    “Teddy Bear Holding a Heart”: Spoofing that omnipresent Debeers ad campaign, this fuzzy little trinket is the perfect gift for inconsiderate cheapskates on Valentine’s Day.

    “Oprah”: Today on the show, The Big O (MR) briefly comments on the James Frey scandal before dressing down another memoirist (Steve) that allegedly fudged the facts in his own autobiography. “Stone Freedman” weasels his way through the various half-truths (or “half-lies,” if you will) before running for cover. Maya’s first real sketch since October proves that her straight-man skills haven’t rusted, though Steve might’ve played his character as too over-the-top.

    “Don’t Buy Stuff You Cannot Afford”: A debt-riddled couple (Steve, AP) cannot grasp that concept into their heads as a spokesperson (CP) lays out his uncomplicated plan for money management. This sketch reminded me of your typical ad spoof from the early years of SNL- a simple concept takes a hilarious tangent through earnest performances.

    “Hamas”: Steve shows off his tender, principle-betraying side when he reluctantly agrees to appear at a post-election rally for the Islamic Resistance Movement. The fact that the three terrorists (FA, BH, SM) gush over Steve because of his wonderful film work in the late 70’s/early 80’s may be a metaphor for how my generation idolizes him, and that’s the greatest saving grace of this wry albeit rushed and overdue attempt to mention West Back politics.

    FILM: Steve and Will Forte rush towards each other in what seems like a passionate kiss, but instead they make small talk from a very close distance. This piece was another small victory for the independent comedy movement, even if Samberg and his boys are technically working for the man now.

    “Quick Zoom Theater”: A scenario involving a doctor and patient (Steve, FA) turns really hammy once the cameras get overactive. The missed targets were cute, but like “Hamas” this felt rushed and underdeveloped.

    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: The (former) Artist trades purple for fiery red with his sizzling 80’s-style rocker “A Woman Scorned.” (Given that my girlfriend was watching the show with me in my dorm, I had to repress the urge to make an ass of myself and groove along to one of the best songs he’s written in years.)

    WEEKEND UPDATE: Keeping up with the frantic pace of tonight’s show, “Update” proves to be short on length but long on laughs. A joke about a half-human, half-dinosaur creature with some connection to Paris Hilton went straight over my head, but jabs at the New York Knicks and Justice Samuel Alito’s stance on abortion more than made up for it.

    “Super Bowl XL”: Aaron Neville (HS), Aretha Franklin (KT), and Mac Rebennack (JS) confer and obsess over food during last-minute preparations for tomorrow’s New Orleans-heavy pre-game show in a throwaway sketch built around celebrity impressions.

    BACKSTAGE: Steve begs Lorne to pay him an extra $500 for hosting this week, but it appears that Jimmy Fallon’s convalescence of a brain-damaged Alec Baldwin is a far more important matter. More often than not, cameos tend to be a shameless way of punching up weak material, but tonight’s SCTV-like running gag actually makes it feel a lot less cartoonish.

    “The Prince Show”: Before you ask, the real Prince does not appear in this sketch. Even so, it’s your typical affair for Fred’s impression of tonight’s musical guest; an awkward chat with his personal chef (Steve) goes nowhere, but a conversation with Drew Barrymore gives Kristen Wiig yet another great impression to fall back upon.

    “State of the Galaxy 2145”: A political sketch this late in the show? That’s a good sign. In an Asimovian twist to this week’s State of the Union address, President Bush’s ancestor (WF) is more or less repeating the same rhetoric over a century from now. A hologram Chris Matthews (DH) and an android built to resemble Brian Williams (SM) also throw in their two cents in a sketch where resistance to comedy was very, very futile.

    FILM: I’m not kidding- another film! In a piece that was cut from the Johansson/DC4C show from last month, “The Tangent” stars a man (FA) who annoys a friend, gets discovered, becomes a celebrity, and falls back to earth during one very long-winded diatribe about dining out.

    “Surf Club”: An older gentleman in Bermuda shorts (Steve) seems oblivious as he sticks out like a sore thumb in a group of younger, Quiksilver-clad waveriders. The heave-ho banter gets repetitive as the surfers try to dump this unwanted father figure, though I’ll bet I could’ve come up with a better ending to this sketch if I had the chance.

    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: Prince and Tamar (no, I’ve never heard of her either) duet on the leadoff single from his new album, “Beautiful Love (3121).”

    “Naturally Crafting”: An archetypal weekend afternoon PBS craft show lets its title become a double entendre when its host (RD) seduces her guest (Steve) during a segment on wreath-making.

    Over the course of this past season, I have found it quite difficult to make a lot of critical statements about the current state of the show; whatever key arguments I’ve made were either short-lived or quickly debunked. Tonight’s broadcast is no exception; I secretly hoped that maybe this would be a generation gap-infused train wreck and that the blood of mediocrity would stain Steve’s hands, and I was proven dead wrong. Pardon the hyperbole, but if the Jack Black broadcast was the best episode of the season thus far, then this would be a very close second; the sketches ran quick, fast and deprived of mercy yet with the tenacity of a well-oiled machine. The sheer delight of this show almost absolves the over-reliance on filmed segments.

    Sketches/Segments That Will Probably Be Removed in Repeats: “Quick Zoom Theater,” “Super Bowl XL,” “State of the Galaxy 2145,” “Surf Club,” “Beautiful Love (3121),” and “Naturally Crafting.”

    Next Month: Natalie Portman hosts with Chicago’s very own Fall Out Boy as musical guest. See you after the Olympics!

    If you have any questions or comments about this review, feel free to contact HelloStuart at
  • Three digital shorts in one night. Read more as the best is yet to come...

    Steve Martin hosts SNL for the 14th time as Prince is the musical guest.

    Cold Open Digital Short: Steve Martin and Kelly Ripa discuss Viagra at dinner. This takes place from when Alec Baldwin hosted a while back. Baldwin cameos in this short. Martin chokes him. Andy Samberg, Lorne Michaels, and Will Forte are in this. Lorne wants them to call Tom Hanks. Steve throws him out of Rockefeller Center. Interesting digital short with a pre-taped cold open. Live from New York, it's Steve Martin!

    Monologue: Standing ovation for Steve. This is a record 14th time. It's an emotional night. Plugs The Pink Panther. Almost 30 years to the date of February 6, 1976. Or was it April 11th? April 17th? Heavy coats means January 11th? You know what? December 1980? Shares photos. Doesn't even know the current cast. The viagra clock is still ticking... Maya Rudolph returns for the first time! Prince is here!

    Commercial: Valentine's Day. Forte and Amy Poehler. A teddy bear holding a heart. I think Kristen Wiig was in this commercial. "A Teddy Bear Holding a Heart." This is available everywhere.

    Oprah: Maya returns as Oprah. I'm guessing James Frey is the guest. Yes, she was duped. "Skating at the Bottom of the Ocean" by Stone Freeman may have been fabricated. Steve plays Stone who dupity-duped her. I swear he looks just like my race/gender/media professor from last year. He tears a page out.

    Don't Buy Stuff You Can't Afford: Amy Poehler, Steve, and Chris Parnell. Parnell plugs this book. Get Out of Debt.

    Hamas Celebration: Steve plays himself and he was on the phone with Britney. Bill Hader, Fred Armisen, and Seth Meyers play members of Hamas. Steve doesn't hate Israel but Star Magazine says that he does. What would the studio want? Pink Panther being promoted or him labeled an anti-Semite.

    Digital Short: Steve Martin and Will Forte are too close to each other. Steve is Gary. Will is Ben.

    Quick Zoom Theater: Parnell hosts this show sponsored by the Canon ultra zoom. Fred and Steve are in this. Fred is Billy Stevens. This has a lot of zooms. Maya is in this. Kenan Thompson is in his first sketch of the night. I really wish I knew what this was about but my roommate his blasting his music.

    Musical Guest: Prince

    Weeekend Update: SOTU. Offer not valid in a few continents. Bush called for ban on cloning. Bush was chastised. Sam Brownback went on the defense due to Brownback Mountain jokes. Alito confirmed. Abortion joke as Amy leaves. Greenspan retirement. African-American museum to be built next to the Washington Monument. Kate Moss. Mattel will have profound changes in Thailand. Congressional Black Eyed Peas. Federal class action suits against James Frey. Britney Spears and Will and Grace. Kevin Federline as janitor. Tiffany Prince scored 113 points 137-32 victory against the New York Knicks. That statistic is nowhere to be seen online.

    Super Bowl XL Music Warm-up: Amy Poehler, Seth Meters as producers. Horatio Sanz as Aaron Neville. Neville complains about Food. Kenan plays Aretha Franklin. Both complain about food. Jason Sudeikis plays someone who sings the Popeye jingle (Dr. John). The sketch is a run through of the pregame show. Neville ruins the national anthem. Food arrives.

    Deal or No Deal?: That's what I call this sketch. Steve talks to Lorne about the ratings and the fees that he's been paid. He wants $5,500. Chris says Steve is needed for the next sketch. Lorne gets paid $12 million. Jimmy Fallon and Alec Baldwin are standing by. Alec wants pie. Nice seeing Jimmy fallon cameo.

    Prince Show: Not a surprise with Fred as Prince and Maya as Beyonce. Perfect timing. First guest is the chef played by Steve. This sketch will not be complete without the real Prince. Drew Barrymore played by Kristen Wiig. Kristen does not do a good Drew. The sketch ends without the real Prince ever making a cameo.

    NBC Nightly News on FOX with Brian Williams 3000: The Tom Brokaw 2600 is being repaired. Seth plays Brian. Darrell Hammond plays a hologram of Chris Matthews. Bush is to give the State of the Galaxy in the Capitol building. Forte plays Bush. Sanz plays a Speaker of the House. They still have not captured OBL. The energy crisis has not been addressed as the sun is about to fade away. Bill Hader is behind him. Every American over 50 launched into space. The Army Corps of Engineers have protect New Orleans from a Category 5. No idea on the Category 12 that is battering the gulf coast. A response from Hillary Clintron.

    The Tangent: Another Digital Short. This has Kristen and Fred. This makes three in one night. Hader shows up. Who is Fred talking to? He never shuts up. There's Chris Parnell. He gets his own show. He gets cast in a movie. This was cut from the Scarlett Johansson show. There's Conan O'Brien and the real Brian Williams. The movie did not do that well at the box office.

    Ted the Ungnarly Surfer: Bill Hader, Andy Samberg, Forte, Steve, Fred, Jason (Dragon), Seth (Slapshot), Bill, Kristen. Steve plays Ted and he is not liked by the surfers. This has most of the cast. Steve leaves against his will.

    Musical Guest: Prince again.

    Naturally Crafting: Rachel Dratch stars in this one. Steve plays Jack somebody. There is a nor'easter ocurring during this sketch. Steve crashes at Crash Hollow. I may have some spellings wrong. Steve with long hair is very weird. Rachel brings in a mandolin.

    Goodbyes: Steve says silent than "Thanks to Prince, Alec Baldwin, Jimmy Fallon, Taymar."

    Natalie Portman will host on Match 4th with MG Fall Out Boy. That's the night of the Wendell Ford Dinner! I think I'll get home in time. I should. Man, that's gonna be a great night. I can't be two places at once and wish that I could be at 30 Rock.
  • The Purple Panther and the Little Pink Corvette

    SNL has continued to show an improvement as the shows go on. Some shows slip, or are full of skits that appear to be the best they can come up with. Well, it is not that way with this episode. This episode had 2 flaws, and if you want to know that, read my pick for the worst moment. If it weren’t for that, this episode would definitely be a dime. But both the host and musical guest provided a great entertainment. With that said, as always, I start the review.

    This week’s host is Steve Martin, who is on record for most times hosting, 14! He is a great comedian, very funny, very talented. He did a great job hosting, being very good in all his sketches. His monologue was great, hilarious is the choice word to describe it. I loved him trying to name some of the cast on the show. He has definitely been the best host this season, if not in the past 5 years. I am very glad they had him back. A+

    This week’s musical guest is the Artist formerly known as The Artist Formerly Known As, but now simply known as Prince. I watched both musical performances, “A Woman Scorned” and “Beautiful Love (3121),” which featured Tamar – very talented – and these songs were great. He puts on a great show. Prince has got to be the most talented artist out there, and I’m not really a fan. I do like some of his earlier stuff though. Prince has put on the most entertaining performances since the show started, though that might change for the next episode. A+


    Cold Opening: The Sabotage of Baldwin (Film) – So Kelly Ripa and Steve Martin are an item, huh? Didn’t see that coming. She has an attractive husband. Anyway, Steve has to get rid of Alec Baldwin beating his record, or tying it at least, so he gets rid of him. I loved after Martin through him out the window how Lorne said, “He’s not here. Call Tom Hanks.” And then Steve punched him. That was so great. I also loved when the cab stopped, and he wouldn’t take it. Best part was definitely Andy’s appearance. That will always make the best part for me. This skit was very funny, and I really loved it. Just never would have guessed they wouldn’t want Steve. A+

    Teddy Bear With A Heart – What a great idea. Forget the expensive diamond pendant, the expensive dinner, anything that is, well, expensive. Buy this cute stuffed bear holding a furry heart. She’ll know she mean the world to you. This was pretty funny, and a great take off of a commercial, but not as good as Taco Town or Morgan Stanley, cause both of those were hilarious, and Andy was in both. Still good though. A-

    Oprah – So Steve is an author, who lied about his book. Yo, you don’t lie to The Oprah, okay! Steve played the author, if you haven’t guessed. This was the first time that the women in the audience didn’t tear up the studio. I guess they had been sedated. It was a good skit I think. Entertaining and funny. Kept my attention. A-

    Don’t Buy Stuff You Cannot Afford – One word – Genius! (See, I believe that the title speaks for itself) A+

    Hamas – This was funny, but dumb. The Hamas got Steve to perform, and apparently, promoting his movies is the most important thing in his life. It was strange towards the end. And who knew these people had do much money to give to a famed comedian. B+

    Close Talkers (Film Short) – First reaction was, “Finally, Samberg is on!” Last reaction was, “A short with no Andy? How dare they?!” Chances are that if Forte’s character had been Andy, with all those up close shots, this would be an A- skit. But without him, I can judge that was dumb, and nothing really happened. I was hoping it’d end. This was pry the most annoying moment of the night. Not the worst though. C

    Quick Zoom Theatre – Now this was a great skit! They just zoomed in to people’s faces at the strangest moments. And then they messed up the zoom, and zoomed into the wall! Oh, I laughed so hard. And when Steve, the Doctor, told Fred character that his wife’s baby was Fred’s child, and the camera didn’t zoom, so he went close, and then back, man was that great. I loved the “screw-ups.” Those made it so great. A+

    Super Bowl XL Rehearsals – This had funny parts, but was kind of dumb. And I don’t think Ms. Franklin is that big. But anyhow, (I see what my friend means, I do say “anyway” a lot) three singers are rehearsing for the National Anthem at Super Bowl XL, and later run when they get their Popeye’s chicken. Good chicken too. I loved Horatio’s Neville character. He does sing like that, I’ve noticed. Good skit. B-

    Backstage: Steve and Lorne – Steve wants more money, and almost walked off. I was surprised to see Jimmy Fallon. He’s not even promoting anything. This was funny, and good. I liked that Alec was improving. I guess falling 8 floors onto an ice rink doesn’t hurt him, just makes him confused. No broken bones though. B+

    Prince Show – I wonder what Prince thought of this? This skit was very funny. I would say that this is one of my favorite recurring skits. Steve Martin played his French chef, and Kristen was so great as Drew Barrymore. She has great talent just like Hader has. A+

    State of the Galaxy 2145: Good Lord, bust more over 100 years! Thankfully, I’ll be dead. I liked when the old dude, Hader I presume, ran away when Bush said all over 50 would be shot into space. This was clever, and yes, like many of the other skits, funny. A

    The Tangent (Short Film) – Another one? Well, would Andy be in this? I’d settle for a walk on. And, nope. But I was glad to see Conan in it. My guess is that this was supposed to be on SJ/DC4C. Fred, the Tangent, wouldn’t shut up, and went through and lost this whole acting career, and when he stopped talking, he realized his friend was gone. Did he even know he was a 15-minute celeb? It had its funny parts. B

    Surfer Club – Finally!!!!! Andy is in a skit, and the main person!!!! Maybe Steve was, don’t know. I have been waiting over an hour so I really didn’t care if this skit sucked or not. It was funny. Mostly, the surfers had some old dude, Martin in their group, and the leader, Samberg, was trying to let him down easily. I loved the Clue reference. You know, “No you won’t respond, or no you don’t want me in it.” If you don’t know what I mean, rent the movie Clue, very funny. Now, I have said that when someone I like is in a skit, it will get a higher rating, and this is no different. A++ (It might be a A-/B+, but I saw Andy after a while)

    Naturally Crafting – Rachel could just come out and say she wants Steve to spend the night. This is a crafting show where Steve is an expert, and Rachel is turned on by him, and at the end, she gets what she wants. Now is it just me, or did Rach have Gilda Radner hair? B-

    BEST MOMENT – The whole show was good. Best moment was finding out that Fall Out Boy is on after a long wait for another f***ing new episode. It’s a long wait, but I get to see Andy Samberg and Patrick Stump on the same exact show! Now I am a fan of Ms. Natalie Portman, but if somehow the host was changed at the last minute to, oh, Orlando Bloom or Dominic Monaghan. I’d have the best Saturday night ever. I get enjoy eye candy in a month, and knowing that is the best moment.

    WOST MOMENT – I have complained about this before. Where the hell was Finnesse Mitchell? He was on the Good Nights, and that was it. And Andy was in one skit, well, he also had a part in the Cold Opening, but it was quick, and I didn’t see his face much. So, please, next show, have these two on. Bill too. He should do some impression on a skit, like a celeb.

    SURPRISING MOMENT – Uh, 2 shorts, I ain’t counting the cold opening, but I screamed when I saw next musical guest is FOB, so that was surprising. But it was a surprise that all these celebs made appearances. So that.

    SKIT AVERAGE – 3.6 A-. (I am very surprised that this show had such great skits.)

    RATING – 8.5/10 Sparkling Diamonds (It would have been 10/10 if Andy was used more, and Finnesse was in a skit or 2. Want that to be known.)