Oct 142011

Previewing Saturday Night Live with Host Anna Faris

Posted by Steve Herring on October 14, 2011

Episode: 37.4 ◊ Air Date: October 15, 2011 ◊ Musical Guest: Drake

Last Week: Ben Stiller

HB Rating 8.0/10.0   Review ι Preview  ι  Odds  ι  Pitch Monday

Anna Faris Expectation Rating: 6.5/10

Lies that Died Hard: Rumors floated all week that Eddie Murphy would make a guest appearance on last week’s show with Ben Stiller (who he’s co-starring with in Tower Heist). This rumor crashed and burned leading many critics (high on overwrought expectations) to blast Stiller’s hosting gig, which was actually very solid.

I’ve got a “Herring Bone to Pick”: The ONLY reason that Jay Pharoah didn’t do his amazing Eddie Murphy in the Top Gun sketch from Week 1 with Alec Baldwin would have been to protect Murphy’s ego and ensure they didn’t piss him off. Instead, they had him do Michael Winslow (I’ve Wikipedia’d him for you) and Lorne ultimately cut the segment with him from the show (delegating it to online use only). In reality, Eddie Murphy has screwed us twice this season in only three episodes in which he hasn’t even appeared.

Eddie, please just come home…

It’d Be Funny if Anna Faris Was Promoting: Scary Movie 47 “The Not Straight to DVD Edition”

We All WISH She Was Promoting: Just Friends 2 “The Return of Samantha James, Bitch!”

(Editor’s Note: Just Friends is one of the most underrated comedies ever. It’s also a Top 5 “Holiday Comedy” and a movie that gets funnier with each watch. If you’ve only given it one look, please try again.)

What Faris is Actually Promoting: Anna Faris stars in What’s Your Number with Chris Evans (aka Captain America). The film opened on September 30th and only pulled in $7 million opening weekend, so Faris could use some positive SNL buzz. The critics have panned the movie in general, while not going after Anna Faris’s performance. From RottenTomatoes.com:

With her sweet ditz openness, honk of a voice, blonde pixie looks and absolutely fearless comic flair, Anna Faris should be a superstar. But no one’s found the right bottle for her elixir.

Tom Long, Detroit News

Host Vitals: Anna Faris takes the stage for her second turn at Saturday Night Live. She last hosted on September 27, 2008 with musical guest Duffy. The episode is more commonly remembered for Tina Fey’s second stint as Sarah Palin in a riff on the Katie Couric interview (Couric played by Amy Poehler). Good excuse to re-live the good old days:

2008 Palin/Couric Cold Open

Overview: With Anna Faris’s comedic background expectations should be reasonably high. I agree with critics in that she’s been very good in everything I’ve seen on film, but hasn’t found the right starring role that maximizes her potential. I’d watch a spin-off of her character, Samantha James (Bitch!), from Just Friends in the theater if Hollywood is wondering. As far as ditzy blondes go – Faris foots the bill as good as anyone. Here is a sketch from her last hosting stint where she plays her signature dumb blonde role. Sadly, the sketch is lacking, but it’s the only thing available online with her prominently featured from her first try:

Anna Faris in Boat Ride

Scheduling Note: As a fan of the SNL details – there is something unusual about this week’s episode. Saturday Night Live’s schedule typically does not allow for four episodes in consecutive weeks. This is not the formula Lorne Michaels likes to use, as it’s SNL knowledge that the writers and cast struggle to keep up energy through an entire month of writing and rewriting until 7am or 8am for days on end. It was most recently done two years ago, also the first four episodes of the season.

Show Expectation Grade: 6.5/10

I toyed with the idea of putting my expectations at 6.0 for this episode. That’s not based on my opinion of Anna Faris’s comedy – I think she’s very funny. I noted the scheduling quirk because Saturday Night Live can struggle to maintain fresh for such an extended period. On top of this, I’ve thought the previous three episodes (Alec Baldin, Megan McCarthy, & Ben Stiller) have been top-notch. The show can’t go an entire season with great nights and four in a row is not common. I guess we’ll see what they toss out for our viewing pleasure Saturday night, but don’t be shocked to find a few more duds than were trotted out in Weeks 1-3.

Here are my own ideas for sketches this week from Pitch Monday

Sketch Ideas from Pitch Monday: I’ll admit that my ideas for this week’s show are probably my favorite ever. Heres a quick synopsis if you haven’t already clicked the two links I’ve provided to this feature.

ESPN College Gameday Sketch: It’s mildly amazing that SNL has never gone after ESPN’s most popular live show. They currently have the perfect cast to attack the Gameday crew. Chris Fowler (Jason Sudeikis), Lee Corso (Fred Armisen), Kirk Herbstreit (Taran Killam), Desmond Howard (Jay Pharoah).

How do you make this work on Saturday Night Live? The game is taking place at LSU so you can utilize Bill Hader’s amazing James Carville impression as guest host. When asked about opponents Carville could give player analysis that sounds more like criticism of GOP candidates.

Did I forget Erin Andrews? Of course not. I’d love if Faris played her this week, but Kristen Wiig could certainly pull it off.

Also, if done this week, musical guest Drake could be a player on one of the teams and be subjected to an interview. Read the entire piece for more details on each character.

Odds on Sketch Comedy

Cold Open (first scene of show) is President Obama: 7/1

Jay Pharoah has replaced Fred Armisen as Barack Obama: 25/1

Anna Faris plays a dumb blonde: -100/1

  • Faris impersonates Jessica Simpson: 10/1
  • Scary Movie parody: 13/1
  • Faris impersonates Courtney Stodden: 8/1
  • Faris impersonates a Kardashian (probably Kris since the other 3 are spoken for): 15/1
  • Faris impersonates Reese Witherspoon: 25/1
  • Faris impersonates Paris Hilton: 20/1
  • Faris impersonates Heidi Klum: 25/1

Musical Guest Drake ends up in a sketch: 3/1

  • Drake plays himself: 1.5/1
  • Drake plays an athlete: 3/1
  • They use MY idea and have Drake re-do his auditions for “The Best I Ever Had” with Jay Pharoah playing Kanye West (who helped pick the models for the real salacious video): 50/1

Bill Hader’s “Stefon” makes an appearance during Weekend Update: 50/1 (not two weeks in a row)

Over/Under on sketches Kristen Wiig appears in: 4.5 (Herring Bone says OVER)

Over/Under on sketches Nasim Pedrad appears in: 3 (Herring Bone says OVER)

I have a few more, so check back in tomorrow.

Saturday Night Live Home Page

Episode Reviews (The After Party):

Last Week: Ben Stiller

Week 2: Melissa McCarthy

Week 1: Alec Baldwin

You Might Also Enjoy:

Saturday Night Live is Cool (Again)

Saturday Night Live’s Jay Pharoah Problem ι And How I’d Fix It

Answering Two of Saturday Night Live’s Biggest Questions. With One Name


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