I was apprehensive about Jim Carrey hosting SNL. I knew exactly what we would be getting with Carrey as a host - manic energy, rubber-like facial expressions, and extreeeeeeeeemly drawn out vowels. But would it still work? That Jim Carrey hasn’t been around much these days (the last we saw of him was in Yes Man, eeesh) and the super serious dramatic actor that replaced him has been well received.
But can you blame the guy for returning to his roots? He’s had a hell of a rough year with all the divorces and exes spouting off anti-vaccination rants, no wonder he uses crazy emoticons on Twitter. I’m sure this week on SNL felt like a sweet breath of fresh air for the guy. And for the most part it worked. The usual duds were there of course, but for the most part the show was refreshing. Only a few minor recurring characters made an appearance and the writers used Carrey’s energy efficiently. SNL is off to a great start in 2011.
Here’s Carrey’s monologue. It’s not the greatest ever, a few light chuckles if anything, but he seems to be having fun so you can’t blame him for that. I’m skipping over the cold open because it was Fred Armisen doing a Michael Bloomberg impression about the blizzard NYC felt over the holidays. And since most of the audience doesn’t live in NYC much less understand the subtleties of a Bloomberg impress, I’ll skip over it.
Up next we have one of the biggest splashing sketches of the week where Carrey portrays the Black Swan in their send up of the Natalie Portman hardcore lesbian movie (nice to see you, Google). The actual mocking of the movie is fairly straightforward, but it does give Carrey an opportunity for more physical humor. And, of course, always nice to see him back in a tutu. (Interesting note connecting this back to Ace Ventura, apparently Carrey based Ace on birds, so you know, this is now “meta”)
“Psychic Medium” is the classic SNL situation - great idea, not so great execution. Having Jim Carrey as a failed impressions comic turned psychic sounds brilliant, but the skit was slow, dragged and just didn’t bring the laughs. Jason Sudeikis’ exuberant cheers almost sold it, but not quite. Having said that, I’ll take a great idea and poor execution than some cheap recurring character any day. More of this, SNL.
“Healing Conversations” was another almost-there for SNL. I really enjoy watching people cry (that makes me sound totally sane) and Samberg has a great whine. But I felt like Sudeikis was again underused. Put him in more stuff! K, thanks.
Weekend Update, always consistent. A few good chuckles, but nothing you’ll remember the next day. Might as well watch it, you know?
“A Taste Of New York” was easily the most painful sketch of the show. Slow and unfunny, I’m not sure how it survived the dress rehearsal. Armisen and Kristen Wiig are incredibly gifted musicians, but I prefer them improving little jingles on Weekend Update. This one just did not work at all.
And the best skit of the week! Incredibly creepy, but it showed off the facial ranges of Paul Brittain who looked like he could hold his own with Bill Hader. I giggled with delight during this one if only because Carrey could easily become a plastic mannequin at any time and no one would notice.
“Worst of Soul Train” is my favorite SNL template sketch. Its nothing more than an excuse to include a bunch of people doing different things (which also gave us our only appearance of Jay Phoaroh, sorely missed) within the idea of the skit. They saved the best for last with Carrey’s question managing to bring out full laughs from me. Not that easy a feat for SNL, so congratulations.