Tag Archives: Saturday Night Live

Fame Day: Leslie Jones

Saturday Night Live is a very White show.

This isn’t news for almost anyone who has been watched the late night sketch comedy mainstay at any point in the last four decades. Still, this fact was made all the more apparent when they announced the six new cast members that would be coming aboard last September. In case you didn’t know, they amounted to five men and one woman, all Caucasian.

Given the fairly sizable [and reasonable] amount of outcry over this, Lorne Michaels and the powers that be ushered in Black comedian Sasheer Zamata. Given the speedy response to their complaints the internet quieted, content with SNL and how it was dealing with race for the time being. That ended, of course, this past Saturday.

While Zamata’s casting was lauded by many, something else occurred concurrently which was less publicized, though arguably just as important: LeKendra Tookes and Leslie Jones, both Black women, joined the show’s writing staff. Ideally such a move would help the show to broaden its comedic range given life experiences that differ vastly from that of a White person, male or female, living in the USA. That particular perspective was showcased front and centre when Leslie Jones made her on-camera debut during the most recent episode’s Weekend Update-

goodjobleslie

Watch the video here or here.

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Well, Breaking Bad Ended…

And needless to say, we’re all just sitting around trying to figure where to go from here. Some people are saying we should just start the series over again.

And honestly, that’s not the worst idea in the world. Similar to Arrested Development (excluding the miniseries), there’s a ton of hidden symbolism and foreshadowing that definitely gives the series plenty of rewatch value. Heck- you could just try tracking down the last few stubborn heretics who haven’t seen the show yet and watch them watch it. Which reminds me- anyone who hasn’t seen the finale should probably tune out now. I’m going to try to avoid spoiling anything, but just to be safe, better add CWR to your media blackout for the next 24 hours or so.

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Evan and Gordon Talk: How To Fix SNL

GORDON: …AAAAND LIVE FROM LAS VEGAS, IT’S WEDNESDAY NIGHT! Welcome one and all to this delayed installment of Gordon and Evan Talk. Our subject for tonight: How can we fix SNL.

EVAN: [And Toronto! . . .] Because, well, let’s face it. Saturday Night Live is not as good as it could be.

GORDON: Which is a real shame, considering the talent it produced during it’s early years. Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Dan Akroyd, Andy Kaufman, Steve Martin- I could go on and on until I hit the early 90s.

EVAN: To be fair, I haven’t really watched a lot of the older SNL episodes, and certainly not that far back, but I’ve seen enough glimmers of goodness to know how good the show can be.

And yeah, now that you mention it, SNL used to be a factory that just cranked out the comedy talent. What happened?

GORDON: I really can’t say- I never watched the series religiously enough to be able to point to any specific point or change; I only know that unless you like Adam Sandler (I don’t), by the early 90s the show just wasn’t good anymore- barring the creation of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, for which we give thanks.

EVAN: And that we do. How about this: before we go forward to how it could be better, what do we like about it now? And there’s gotta be at least one thing.

GORDON: Like “What’s Up With That?” or “Celebrity Jeopardy.” The first time was hilarious. The fortieth time, not so much. I also like Steffan, just for the total surrealism, and the commercials can be pretty good. But those are few and far between.

EVAN: I personally love “What’s Up With That,” and it gets funnier each time for me. Kenan’s enthusiasm compounded by Sudeikis’ dancing and grinning gets me every time. I also, and I know there aren’t a lot who agree with me on this, really like Weekend Update.

And I feel like the Minnesota early morning hip-hop show has a lot of potential.

GORDON: I felt these things may have been funny the first time- heck, the first few times- but I really, really can’t stand ’em now. Minnesota early morning hip-hop radio is funny, but there are only so many times you can say the northern edge of the midwest is cold. I feel like they’re going to take it and run it into the ground, like all their other popular skits.

EVAN: So that seems to be a large problem, here. The skits that are funny don’t show up as much as we’d like to, and they continually run the risk of wringing all the life out of them when they are hits.

GORDON: Is that the fault of the writers?

EVAN: Probably a little, yeah.

GORDON: I also feel that it has the same problems The Simpsons do. Each episode becomes more about showcasing which celebrity and “we-want-to-be-Mumford-and-Sons-so-bad-it-hurts” musical guests.

EVAN: I think that to critique the show we have to leave the musical guests out of it. At this point in time they’re actually leaving that choice up to the fans.

GORDON: Fair enough. But the celebrities. Seems to me that when the show started back in the 70s, the “celebrity” guests were really just there to introduce the show and do a bit of stand-up. Everything else was dedicated to the cast performing skits.

EVAN: The hosts, you mean?

GORDON: Exactly. See- even I get confused about their intent.

EVAN: If you don’t mind me directing this conversation once again, how about comparing SNL to another skit-based show: Key & Peele.

GORDON: Go on…

EVAN: Key & Peele, and I think we can both agree on this, is hilarious.

Not only that, but it’s just two guys who, presumably, do quite a bit of their own writing as well.

GORDON: No doubt.

EVAN: So how could SNL learn from Key & Peele?

GORDON: Maintain a semblance of relevance to the modern world.

Key & Peele is satirical, sarcastic. I watch the show and laugh at it when they take shots at stuff that’s relevant- like fighters trash talking each other prior to a fight.

When’s the last time you watched a show that looked even remotely like “What’s Up With That?” How many of us even know what the Laurence Welk show was?

EVAN: See, I’d say that one of the problems with SNL is that they feel compelled to “stay relevant.” So many of their skits are based on the current news, whatever’s hot right now.

Ex. Lance Armstrong doping, that one guy who got scammed by the fake girlfriend, etc.

GORDON: I wouldn’t say those weren’t funny in and of themselves- I just thought they were lousy as a cold open, and got rehashed in the Weekend Update. Kinda proves the whole “If it’s funny we’ll do it until it isn’t and then for a while longer” strategy SNL employs these days.

EVAN: I think what I like about Key & Peele is that they’re okay with breaking away from current events a little more.

GORDON: Well, we could debate which the more current until the cows come home. Our topic was “how do we fix SNL?”

EVAN: Okay, Way to Fix SNL #1: Don’t drive jokes into the ground. If a skit is recurring, do it maybe four or fives times a year, max.

GORDON: #2: Not every celebrity is funny. Stick with ones who are, and keep their appearances down to the monologue and a few key skits.

EVAN: #3: Find a way to replace Andy Samberg’s Digital Shorts. I know that nothing will truly take their place, but they were what revitalized the show after so many years.

GORDON: #4: Instead of dragging in celebrities who are already popular, go back to giving new comedians a chance- become the talent producing machine that you were in the 70s and 80s.

EVAN: Ooh, I like that one a lot. There’s definitely a conflict between hot fresh names drawing in viewers [Joseph Gordon Levitt], and looking for lesser celebrities, maybe from TV instead of movies [Krysten Ritter from Don’t Trust The B—– In Apartment 23].

I’m not super impressed with the new guy they brought on, but I really like two of the newer girls [Kate McKinnon and Cecily Strong].

GORDON: I agree, for the most part. I simply wish they would actually take some people from the pool- nay, ocean- of raw talent the internet has created.

EVAN: THERE YOU GO. You, sir, are a genius.

GORDON: Imagine SNL written by the guys from Dead KevinBriTANickWKUK, and other internet sketch shows. Imagine all the great new actors and comedians we could get.

EVAN: That’s what we really need.

GORDON: That it is.

EVAN: I mean, the fact that Donald Glover made it from Derrick Comedy, a YouTube comedy show, to being a star on Community and other shows says a lot-

GORDON: That it does.

EVAN: And SNL could be that way of getting this talent out there.

GORDON: Absolutely. Would you watch a show like that? I would. I would watch the crap out of that show.

EVAN: I would watch it all the time without stopping.

GORDON: People would die.

EVAN: Yes they would.

Now that you’ve wrapped up this conversation with that masterful suggestion, though, what are we talking about next week?

GORDON: I’d like to talk about guns and gun control.

EVAN: Heh. Heh heh heh. Okay.

My recommendation is . . . um . . . have you watched a lot of Christian movies?

GORDON: I’ve seen a couple. But it’s okay, I’m better now.

EVAN: I kind of want to talk about that. How Christian media is so substandard and it’s the fault of Christians themselves.

Yours is better, though. I am probably going to vote for it.

GORDON: And I like railing on things- I’ll probably vote for yours.

EVAN: Thanks for reading, you guys, and sorry again for how late this is in coming. As always, this has been Evan and Gordon Talk, be sure to vote below for what you’d like us to discuss next.

Taylor Swift and Artistic Intent

You can’t ignore Taylor Swift. Whether it’s having her mic snatched by Kanye, hosting Saturday Night Live three years ago, or having her hit “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” play as you flip through radio stations [yes, some people still listen to the radio] she’s become a public pop culture icon and she’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

Yes, she’s loved by millions, but also derided by a sizable number. While many of the judgements stem from her seeming inability to hold down a relationship, this more often than not seems like the public concentrating on an aspect of superstardom that they tend to turn a blind eye to when it comes to their  respective favourites. What Taylor Swift really receives a lot of flak for [and for better reason]  is the content of her music.

I first came across this idea on a blog post by Shelby Fero that has since been taken down. Recently I managed to dig it up again since it had been replied to on another tumblr, and you can check it out here[EDIT: That has since been taken down as well] There’s a four-minute video you can watch, but if not, Let me recap it:

It’s a follow-up to another post on tumblr where she says, in one line without profanity, “‘Mean’ by Taylor Swift pisses me off so much.” Which is fine. The video goes on to elaborate her point, and is largely about the music video. In essence Fero says that it’s fine to have a song about those bullied because of their sexuality or poverty [both seen in the music video], but you can’t marry or compare that to your own problems about being told you’re not a good singer; you can’t put yourself into this song and still have it be about these other bigger problems.

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