A Little Verklempt: Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special

It’s a good thing I get President’s Day off, because otherwise I’d be taking a mental health day today. The SNL 40th Anniversary Special had me up to my eyeballs in feelings. I knew it would, because I remember how it felt watching the 25th Anniversary Special as an SNL-obsessed toddler teenager. Obviously we were primed to love everything on our screens last night, but here’s what I loved the most of the most:

Opening Musical Number with Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon

Did you start off counting the throwback references and quit because the number was so jam-packed? There were shout outs to Lazy Sunday, Dick In A Box, the Ambiguously Gay Duo, Matt Foley, the wild and crazy guys, Debbie Downer, the cheerleaders, the “don’t make me dance” lady, the Blues Brothers, cowbell, Mary Katherine Gallagher, and a bunch more.

The Opening Credits

The only thing missing was Don Pardo. Yes, I’m talking about the list of people who would appear in the show. During our high school masses sometimes they’d roll out the litany of the saints, where the school chorus would just bust out a list of Catholics. The opening introduction of SNL 40 was the closest I’ll get to a personally relevant litany of the saints. But with Sarah Palin in there also.

The Bass-o-matic

Do you ever have that dream that you’re on stage and you’re supposed to be performing a play you were in years ago? And you worry that you’ll screw up your lines and blocking, and in the good version of the dream as soon as you’re out there it all comes rushing back. I bet this felt like a real-life good version of that dream to Dan Ackroyd.

Jeopardy

ALL of my favorite Jeopardy idiots in one go? AMAZING. From Kate McKinnon’s spot-on human piddling puppy Justin Bieber, to Sean Connery’s filthy misreads of Let It Snow and Who Reads (Le Tits Now and Whore Ads), it was hilarious and – success! – went on for exactly the right amount of time.

Audition Reels

If there’s one thing that makes me verklempt (and there are a billion things, we did a whole week on it), it’s seeing successful people during those little tenuous moments before things started for them. Just the idea that they were living a normal-isn life and couldn’t know how much things would be changing is so sweet. The one that really got me was seeing a baby-faced, slightly nervous looking Amy Poehler. Andy Samberg as a jogger from 1982, Jimmy Fallon looking like he took a cab over after junior high, Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig debuting some of their most famous characters – it was like when you see baby pictures of people you’ve only seen as adults.

The Californians

Everyone I know loves the Californians, and I only ever just liked it. This one was different. Laraine Newman cracked me up, Betty White making out with Bradley Cooper was the best thing I’ve seen in weeks, and even Taylor Swift’s wacky accent and hair-mustache were hilarious.

WEEKEND UPDATE DREAM TEAM!

Highlight of the night, here. I had hoped for a Tina/Amy reunion, or a Tina/Jimmy, Amy/Seth showdown, but I hadn’t even dared to dream we’d get Jane Curtin. Watching the clip reel of past Update moments, it’s really clear that some people are just better at it. They have the right combination of charisma and crisp, sharp delivery to make the jokes land hard. I’m not here to name names of the people who weren’t as good (though let’s just say that everyone I listed was amazing, and I think Cecily Strong had the makings of being darn good too). Anyway, whenever anyone starts the job, I think they should sit in a room and watch tape of Jane to see how it’s done.

[Sidebar: my favorite Jane Curtin story is also a Gilda Radner story. Compared to the coked-out masses of the early Not Ready For Primetime Players, Curtin was always very straight-laced and diligent. She had a stable marriage and was basically just normal. Gilda would go over to Jane’s house just to watch Jane and her husband Patrick Lynch make dinner and act like regular people. Jane felt like it was a little weird, but of course she let Gilda keep coming over because she so loved seeing regular, happy people in their natural habitat. So while Jane Curtin pulls off the stern, ball-busting news anchor thing, she’s a giant sweetheart at the same time.]

The celebrity tributes to their favorite characters was an adorable way to bring back Roseanne Rosannadanna (Emma Stone, who nailed it and looked like she was living a Gilda fan’s dream) and Matt Foley (Melissa McCarthy, physical comedy for DAYS). They were perfectly framed not as an attempt to replace Chris Farley and Gilda Radner, but as recognition of what all fans did growing up, impersonating recurring characters. And of course, no Update segment would be complete without the return of Seth Meyers and Stefan and the land shark at the update door.

Maya Rudolph as Beyonce

With appearances by Garth and Cat, Marty Culp and Bobbi Mohan-Culp, Opera Man, What’s Up With That, the Love Theme from Jaws, and the Blues Brothers.

Jerry Seinfeld Q and A

The audience Q and A is a classic SNL opener, and this one with an all-celeb audience was great. Ellen Cleghorne really stole the show though, didn’t she?

Tracy Morgan

Yes, I shed a little tear when Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin introduced a clip of Tracy Morgan, who is still recovering from last year’s car accident and couldn’t be there last night.

Digital Short: That’s When You Break

Andy Samberg and Adam Sandler are a perfect pairing, and it felt so right to celebrate the many times cast members have cracked up over the years. But mostly Fallon and Sanz.

In Memoriam

Look. I cannot watch Gilda Radner without my heart breaking and singing at the same time. I knew that part would make me cry a bit, and it did. There are some other cast members, like Phil Hartman and Jan Hooks, who were taken far too soon. But I was especially touched to see the tributes to the crew members who have passed on. Next time you watch SNL, pay attention to one non-performing aspect of the show, whether it’s sets or costumes or props or cue cards. The show wouldn’t have made it 40 years if they didn’t have one of the best crews in television. It felt so special to acknowledge their efforts, especially in a room full of performers from all different eras who knew firsthand how important these workers were. It was also fitting to end with a moment of levity, mourning the untimely loss of John Lovitz.

Mega-Goodnight

I should probably watch the goodnights in slow-mo, because it was like a Where’s Waldo of awesome people who I love. The whole night was, really.

 

 

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Bill Clinton Converses with Celebrities

Yesterday was the 42nd President’s 66th birthday, and it’s not just because I like the guy, but I always remember his birthday because he shares it with my dad. So I mean, you could consider me as the Asian Chelsea Clinton. We have a lot of similarities.

Anyways, Billy C has had a storied life, bringing him all over the world and meeting hundreds of thousands of people of every walk of life. I recently came across this pic of a young William Jefferson Clinton meeting then President John F. Kennedy at The White House in 1963.

bill clinton jfk

He was just a teen in this iconic pic but can you even imagine their conversation?! ‘Oh hey Mr. President. I’m going to be the President one day and have an affair with an intern and my wife’s gonna forgive me and so will America and people will still like me. How’s Marilyn?’ (not verbatim)

Throughout the years of his Presidency, Billy has met a plethora of famous people, and if only we could hear what they were saying …

Billy C: Hey, that goatee looks great on you. I should grow one out too, don’t you think?
Brad Pitt: … No offense sir, but I was sexiest man alive 1995. I can pull anything off. You? Not so much.

Billy C: Great job tonight son. Nice hair.
Justin Bieber: Thanks man. Who are you again?

Billy C: Hilary and I listen to your slow jamz all the time. If you know what I mean *wink*
Usher: Yeah, I got you, sir. No need to wink.

Billy C: Y’all want to start a supergroup?!
Bono & Jon Bon Jovi: … No.

Billy C: Kobe, you and I have a lot in common.
Kobe: Don’t I know it, sir!
Kobe’s Wife: *flashes diamond ring*

Mick Jagger: Let’s go team-m, let’s go!
Billy C: You’re clapping off beat.

Betty White: Oh! Mr. President!!
Billy C: This is the most action I’ve gotten in 2 years. Let this happen.

Billy C: Jennifer, thanks so much for my award. Such a pleasure to meet you!
Jennifer Lawrence: HAHAHA I’m such a big fan I loved you in the White House I mean as the President not like ‘IN the White House’ like I’m a fan of you when you were the leader of the free world not like I was stalking you in the White House… you’re from Arkansas and I’m from Kentucky, we’re both from the south, isn’t that great?! *falls flat on her face*

Billy C: Charlize! Have you met Matt Bomer? He’s convinced me to do Magic Mike 2!
Matt: It’s true! I didn’t convince him to wear that fedora though…
Charlize: Are you sure you’re gay??

Bill Cosby: Now sir…. have you heard the joke about the penguin and the spaghetti…
Jerry Seinfeld: What’s the deal with the spaghetti?
Billy C: I honestly have no idea what either of you are saying right now.

Billy C: Hey Mikey, how’s that monkey of yours doing?
Michael Jackson: Not here, Mr. President. Not here.

Michael Jordan: I love you man, thanks so much for coming out to play golf with me.
Billy C: This picture is going to be framed and hung up in my Harlem office.

Billy C: Bruuuce! Can I bring out my saxophone now?
Bruce Springsteen: Alright man, but only on Born to Run.

Lyle Lovett: *mumbles*
Willie Nelson: Hey Pres, I got some realllly nice pot backstage if you wanna take a few hits before we go back out there.
Billy C: I don’t trust your pot, Willie… Let’s use mine.
Whoopi Goldberg: Child, this is NOT The View that I signed up for.
Eric Clapton: WTF am I doing here, I’m not even American.

Billy C: I can’t believe I’m hugging THE Meryl Streep!
Meryl Streep: Someone take this peasant off of me.

Tom Cruise: So now that you’re not the President anymore, how are your stress levels? Can I interest you in a free test? All the celebrities are doing it…
Billy C: Nice try, Tommy.

Billy C: *thumbs up*