December 20, 2015

SHOWBUZZDAILY Review: “Saturday Night Live” with Tina Fey & Amy Poehler


Lorne Michaels does know how to throw a party.  The 2015 finale of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE closed with a rollicking “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” from Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, joined by the cast, the night’s hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, special guest Maya Rudolph, fake in-studio snow–and Paul McCartney, who just seemed to be hanging out.  (Earlier sketches had featured Darrell Hammond and Friend Of The Show Amy Schumer.)   It brought to an end an SNL evening notable for its high quotient of good cheer.

There was even a genuinely inspired new sketch under the tree for Fey and Poehler:  Meet Your Second Wife, in which a trio of hapless married men were introduced to the successively younger girls who would (uncomfortably few) years hence become their next wives, climaxing with one who was still a fetus.  The sketch wisely never tried to explain its premise away, and it was dotted with great side-gags, like the hosts knowing that current wife Aidy Bryant was going to die in a kayaking accident–and then giving each guest a kayak as a parting gift (prompting Bryant to say “I know I shouldn’t, but they’re so fun!”).

The night’s other highlight was a 12:55AM return of an SNL chestnut franchise, Bronx Beat, with Poehler and Rudolph reveling in their accents even as they were unable to get over the classiness of guest Fey’s Philly patois.  (The trio trying to understand each other’s pronunciation of “water” alone made the whole sketch worthwhile.)

Much of the rest of the show was more like Poehler and Fey’s new movie Sisters (which also includes SNL-ers Rudolph, Kate McKinnon, Bobby Moynihan, Chris Parnell and Rachel Dratch in its cast), with nostalgia and charm that exceeded its wit.  We didn’t really need a return of the sketch where Kenan Thompson plays a TV director who makes all his actors imitate the double-takes from the episodes of The Jeffersons he’d once directed, even though the hosts gave the physical gags their all.  The opening monologue was yet another song bit, and the idea of having Poehler sing a fun Christmas tune while Fey intoned a darkly religious dirge wasn’t as funny as the writers must have thought.  On the other hand, a TimeLife infomerical parody for a video collection from a long-defunct TV variety show got some earned laughs from Rudolph as one drunken guest, Poehler as another high on coke, and Thompson as a Bill Cosby trying to drug Tina Fey’s character to the tune of “Baby (It’s Cold Outside)”.

There was a fairly decent political cold open set at the last Republican debate, which went beyond the obvious Trump jokes to go after Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and the rest of the gang.  A post-monologue political piece was mostly fan service, featuring the returns of Poehler’s Hillary Clinton and Fey’s Sarah Palin as dreamtime visitors to McKinnon’s current Hillary.  The hosts also turned up on Weekend Update, although that was stolen by McKinnon, not so much because of her desk piece character of a woman obsessed with soap operas who couldn’t remember any of the characters’ names, but for her eating what was purportedly baked salmon on the air, repeatedly making Colin Jost break.

The A-list pretape was a parody of Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” video that showcased Fey and Poehler’s everyday “Dope Squad,” including their nannies, gynecologist and Schumer.  An earlier fake commercial for hoverboards that blew up didn’t have much beyond that gag.

All in all, it ended SNL‘s calendar year on a high note, and the writers will have plenty of time to recharge their batteries, as the show’s return is set for January 16 with host Adam Driver, who has just shifted in pop consciousness from “that guy from Girls” to the evil Kylo Ren.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."