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Green Bay Press-Gazette

Monday, November 17, 2008

Single ladies? or Single fellas? Who brings sexy back?

Who said you need the 2008 Presidential Election to bring the funny back to "Saturday Night Live?"

OK, I did.

But I take it back. I'll admit -- I was expecting a failure from "SNL" this week, not having Tina Fey's Sarah Palin or Darrell Hammond's John McCain to fall back on for laughs. But lo and behold, they truly brought the goods and had a laughtacular episode. Now, I honestly don't know if it was that my expectations were so low or if the comedy was just that good, but either way, it won't take presidential candidate bashing to get me to tune in.

Well, for now at least. I'm sure Lorne Michaels must've known he had to bring the big guns to retain post-election viewership. But if they can keep this magic going, it could be a new and improved "SNL" -- something that I've been waiting for ever since the diminished days after Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan left the show. Granted, the Jonah Hill-hosted episode was top notch and still remains on my DVR for a repeat viewing every-so-often, but besides that, it's been a tough road. Adding in Tina Fey's recent departure and now with Amy Poehler on baby leave, perhaps never to return, this weekend's episode really marks a gleam of hope to the show's success.

Many bloggers have said the most recent "SNL" -- full of homosexual references and on occasion, blatant displays of same sex undertones -- was a giant middle finger to California's Proposition 8, calling it the gayest episode of the show yet. Host Paul Rudd (of "Knocked Up" and most recently, "Role Models") kicked the show off with a family that is a bit too affectionate -- dad and son practically making out, then brother and brother playing tonsil hockey as a form of hello. The sketch was a bit uncomfortable, but all around delightful. Before you knew it, we were watching Andy Samberg paint a naked and appropriately blurred Rudd -- then vice versa, only to receive reactions of the uncontrolled-vomiting-and-eye-bleeding death kind, upon audience viewing of the paintings. To cap it off, what could be better than an exclusive interview from Snagglepuss on the good, the bad and the ugly of Prop 8?

Perhaps one of the best performances of the night came thanks to a cameo from Mr. Sexyback himself, Justin Timberlake. After revealing his missed-chance to host the show Thanksgiving weekend next to a lonely Seth Meyers, Timberlake returned for a post-Weekend Update sketch including Bootylicious Beyonce. The sketch -- a mockery of her newest music video of "Single Ladies" -- had Timberlake, Samberg and Bobby Moynihan as B's three unlikely dancing biscuits.

Here's hoping that "SNL" can keep this up even without the guest cameos -- and homoerotic plotlines. If not, the viewers may react to the writers' attempt at sketch comedy much like the art auction crowd did during Rudd and Samberg's digital short, "Everyone's a Critic."

Catch "Saturday Night Live" at 10:30 p.m. Saturdays on NBC.

-- Sara Boyd,

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