The Lonely Island have become grown-ass men. In a new video for YouTube's Comedy Week, the trio take on the mature subjects of wife sex and cemetery real estate ("wobble-dee-wobble-dee drop into my grave plot"). It goes hard, because it's #DIAPERCORE. Reggie Watts also debuted a video for YouTube's celebration with his variation on the Rickroll, faithfully re-creating Rick Astley's outfits and letting his upper lip dance to '80s synth like no one is watching.
Bill Hader was an SNL presence so precious, he merits more than one good-bye. His impressions were among the cast’s best (Kate McKinnon, I see you), but he also brought to life original characters that were layered despite the limits, time-wise and otherwise, of the sketches in which they appeared: Stefon, Vinny Vedecci, Greg the Alien, and, though he simultaneously terrified and depressed me, senile reporter Herb Welch. Hader was responsible for the majority of the personae you wanted to hang out with after their four-minute segments ended; they were always so charming, even when they were embodied by a bloodthirsty, guts-hungry take on Dateline’s Keith Morrison. If they were real, you would want to park their imaginary butts on your sofa to take in all of Hader’s Criterion double-feature picks, drink margaritas, and gab. Hader shines bright like a di-mon, and when I attended a showing of The Great Gatsby last night, huddled under a gray cloud of casting-department disappointment, I mentally replaced Tobey Maguire with Bill Hader for a second. He seems able to take on anything, from a hypothetical Nick Carraway to James Carville to creative consulting/producing South Park. As we look forward to Hader’s next move and contemplate the uncertain future of SNL, let’s spend an hour or so staring zonk-eyed at the computer in honor of some of his greatest hits. Cue up the DJ Baby Bok Choy single, everyone. It’s Stefon’s funeral (just kidding, he’ll pop back up in a year to give a special appearance like Gilly) and we’re going to Boof to shoot meth mixed with his ashes.
In the words of the legend himself: "It has to happen sometime." Bill Hader — who, over the last eight years at Saturday Night Live, has quietly put together a body of work that can rival the best to have walked through the doors at Studio 8H — is leaving.
In an interview with the New York Times this morning, Hader announced that this Saturday's season finale will be his last SNL ever. (Silver lining: Kanye's the musical guest. Maybe Bill will get an Auto-Tune emo ’Ye rant all to himself?) As the Times explains, "Mr. Hader's contract at 'Saturday Night Live' expired in spring 2012, but he was persuaded to stay on for an additional season. In February, he told Mr. Michaels that he was ready to move on, he said. 'I’d heard stories that you get very emotional in those conversations,' he added, 'and I’ve had other people tell me, "Oh, I cried." I didn’t, but I did think I was about to faint.'" As for why he's bouncing: He wants to move to L.A., where his wife, movie director Maggie Carey (The To Do List), works, and where he's got his own fair share of upcoming movie projects; also, seeing Andy Samberg and Kristen Wiig leave pushed him to do the same. Basically: "It got to a point where I said, 'Maybe it’s just time to go.'"
I love Martin Short, but I was still surprised at how good this weekend’s episode of SNL was. This season has been spotty to say the least, and considering the horrific event that happened one day before the taping, it seemed like the holiday-themed show was destined to be like the last two inches of egg nog in the bottle slowly separating in the fridge: Nobody wants it, but abandoning it would be like giving up. Short was featured on the tenth season of Saturday Night — a tumultuous period with some seriously weird opening credits (hot dogs, cockroaches, spray paint) — but, you know, that was 28 years ago, the 62-year-old couldn’t be blamed if he was a little rusty, even if this was his third time hosting. Plus I really didn’t want to see Short playing “Thug #2” or on a “Mission to Mars.” Luckily, we didn’t have to. Plus we got this photo of an embarrassed, post-possible-f-bomb Samuel L. Jackson out of the deal. Everybody wins!
It’s too bad that entire generations of people had to die without ever hearing James Bond compare a woman to “a big bowl of butt soup with extra nipples” in a Triborough Bridge accent. Thankfully, Saturday Night Live took care of that for the rest of us, and now we — or our children — might live to see a day when Nipples Galore shows up to Bond’s suite all covered with clam chowder and cozied up in a crusty butt bowl. I hope. Unfortunately, the Daniel Craig–hosted show was peppered with less successful sketches, including a cold open that was a lot less funny than the cover of The New Yorker. As Kenan might once have asked, what’s up with that? This season’s political satire sketches are off to a rocky start, and even a guest appearance by Chris Parnell as Jim Lehrer couldn’t liven up the debate parody, during which Jay Pharoah’s Obama VO’d his dismay at feeling woozy from the altitude and worried over the fact that he’d forgotten to get Michelle an anniversary gift between cutaways to footage of the real First Lady looking glum. It seemed bizarre that a debate that caused such a stir would be dealt with so gently by SNL in the opener; most of the goods (read: Big Bird) were saved for "Weekend Update." Wasn’t there enough to go around?
Looks like Larry David has got some friends in this town. His upcoming HBO movie Clear History is shaping up to be a doozy. David co-wrote (alongside some other Curb Your Enthusiasm writers) and will star; Greg Mottola (Superbad, Adventureland) will direct. And the rest of the cast includes [deep breath] Bill Hader, Jon Hamm, Danny McBride, Phillip Baker Hall, Kate Hudson, Michael Keaton, Eva Mendes, Amy Ryan, and JB Smoove [exhale].
Last weekend, the topic of the short-lived but supposedly really great (11 Emmy nominations! Conversational endorsements!) Buffalo Bill came up. I haven’t seen Buffalo Bill, and there was no time to fix that between when it drifted across the table of La Scala salads and when I hopped Griffith Park and took it to the 5 freeway where I drove “forever,” but there were only 26 episodes, so I’ll probably get around to it next weekend when I have no SNL episode to recap for you. Apparently, canceling Buffalo Bill was Brandon Tartikoff’s biggest professional regret: It showed up at the party, dazzled everybody, ate some appetizers, and breezed out the door in a cloud of little question marks asking what could have been. The gripe about Saturday Night Live is usually just the opposite — a once-beloved sketch stops by for a martini, then leaves and comes back five minutes later, just real quick, to grab its coat. Door closes, everyone breathes a sigh of relief. But wait! Then it stumbles back inside, apologizing, because it just wanted to tell you one more thing that it forgot to mention earlier. You shoo it away. At midnight it returns because it wants to know if anybody’s got any cocaine. At two in the morning it wants to sleep on your sofa, and it keeps repeating the same story, except now it’s drooling and smells like the subway and you just want to beam it to the moon and import some other entertaining alien in its place. Still, a few weeks after you’ve Febrezed its odor off of your futon, you remember it with fond nostalgia (well, not always). The sketches and cast members of every golden period of SNL have to get dumped into the Lorne Michaels recycling bin eventually, but when the door shuts for good there’s a creepy feeling of uncertainty that hangs in the air, empty Solo cups of butts and booze.
Before DVRs, part of the charm of Saturday Night Live was that it created a sort of community of viewers — granted, the kind of community who didn’t have anywhere to be on a Saturday evening, so not necessarily a club you wanted to join four times a month. Its jokes became like prehistoric viral culture, a consolation prize to rehashing the best moments of the weekend’s rager. It gave you something to talk about at brunch (brunch sucks; I’m saying “brunch” hypothetically) at the dining hall if you’d been stuck inside all weekend writing a term paper and had missed the physical experience of the club, the bar, the house party. Its relevance has always been at least partially related to the repetition of catchphrases, pratfalls, and goof-ups, within the show (legions of “What Up With That”s, “MacGruber”s, “Church Lady”s) and without (the far-reaching effects of “More Cowbell” made it leap from the mirror like Bloody Mary; “More Cowbell” essentially slimed out of our televisions and entered society in 3-D). Ever since Saturday Night Live has been available for consumption as Sunday Morning Hangover or Wednesday Afternoon Lunch Break, and perhaps even more so since the introduction of the digital short in 2005 (Lettuce), it’s become somehow more satisfying to revisit, even as it so often revisits itself. That’s why this weekend’s episode with host Will Ferrell, and a self-fellating celebration of the 100th digital short, was so good.
With Saturday Night Live on vacation this week, we ruined Bill Hader's Los Angeles trip by forcing him to stop by the B.S. Report studios and tape a 70-minute podcast that covered life at SNL, Stefon's evolution into a breakout character, his recent collaborations with the South Park guys, the Apatow comedy factory, creepy Internet stalkers, Jame Gumb, Jaws, ghosts, the NBA playoffs and even Hader's desire to become Oklahoma City's most famous courtside fan (a la Jack Nicholson). I'm almost positive the position is open.
The Secret Policeman's Ball — a live charity event benefiting Amnesty International — is a British comedy institution that originated in the 1970s, and has been held intermittently every decade since. Last night, for the first! time! ever!, the Ball came to the U.S. More specifically, it came to New York's Radio City Music Hall, and it brought with it Coldplay, Mumford & Sons, Russell Brand, Paul Rudd, and roughly 7/9ths of the current SNL cast.