That’s Auntertainment! Karaoke Korner 13

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CREDIT: YouTube Screenshots

Karaoke Korner is back in 2021 with a trip through the decades (courtesy of Jeff’s 1st cousins-once-removed Elsa and Mia), as we hit up Culture Club, Lizzo, Bruno Mars, and Elton John.

SNL Review October 15, 2016: Emily Blunt/Bruno Mars

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This review was originally posted on News Cult in October 2016.

Love It

Ann Arbor Short Film Festival – This is the sort of satire that really nails a particular piece of culture. This is not the first time amateur filmmaking has been lampooned, but it feels like it is, because it is so incisive, and so cleanly produced. It effectively uses exaggeration and reversal to make its points. Dozens of people work on a one-minute film featuring only one actor, and that feels oddly plausible. And unlike many screenings, in which the wave of questioners overwhelms the panelist, everyone on stage dwarfs the lone audience member. The Holocaust/makeup/“at the end of the day, it’s also a comedy” explanation is one for the ages.

The Hummer party limo’s visit to the Burger King Drive-Thru could have been random for the sake of randomness, but instead, each outré character is sharply defined.


SNL Recap November 22, 2014: Cameron Diaz/Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars

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SNL: Mark Ronson, Cameron Diaz, Bruno Mars (CREDIT: YouTube Screenshot)

This review was originally posted on Starpulse in November 2014.

When people look back through the annals of “SNL,” this episode may go down as the one when the Season 40 cast fully discovered its confidence.  But since episodes are usually cataloged by the guests, this one might be hard to identify, because the guests did not do anything spectacular.  Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars came in and performed a couple of songs, while host Cameron Diaz did not have any showcase performances.  She gamely slotted in to whatever role she was needed in, but this episode was about the likes of Leslie Jones, Kyle Mooney, Aidy Bryant, and Beck Bennett asserting themselves in an ideal mix of original and recurring material.  The energy was high, with everyone coming in hard, making their comedic point, and moving on to the next sketch before wearing out their welcome.  The show may have petered out a little bit at the end, but it was still strong enough to set a new high watermark for the season.

Schoolhouse Rock – After a seasons-long rut of unimaginative, cookie-cutter political cold opens, “SNL” went silly and retro.  The result was a “Schoolhouse Rock” parody that was the show’s most pointed take on the current state of affairs in D.C. in years.  All it took to make it happen was Bobby Moynihan’s matter-of-fact delivery of “I’m an executive order, and I pretty much just happen.”  Then it ended abruptly when it seemed like it had plenty more to say, though its point was a simple one, and no more needed to be said. B+


SNL Recap October 20, 2012: Bruno Mars

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Cold Opening – Town Hall Debate
Right from the get-go, everyone was rearing to go, and I could just feel that we were finally going to get a political sketch this year that hit all the right beats.  The Romney-Obama sniping was palpable (“I am not your friend”, “Candy, is he bothering you?”, “I’m about to cut you”), Aidy Bryant delivered as Candy Crowley in the first big role of her SNL career, and the Long Island milieu was right in place (particularly Bobby as the ass-kicker in the Giants jacket).  Then Obama dropped his mic and wiped dirt off his shoulders, and I just about lost it. A

Bruno Mars’ Monologue
Ignoring everything else for a moment, the song was all right, I guess, and of course Bruno Mars has a great voice.  But this monologue was about Bruno Mars asking why he was chosen to host SNL.  So he brought up that question, acted like he was going to answer t, and then … he didn’t answer it.  (What was the point of Kenan’s appearance?) C


SNL Recap October 9, 2010: Jane Lynch/Bruno Mars

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Cold Opening – Ask Gloria Allred
I didn’t realize that Gloria Allred has represented that many “victims” (though I assume there was some exaggeration), so it was amusing to discover that. Otherwise, this sketch was just an exercise in coming up with a bunch of ways to describe someone as the worst person alive, which proved to be bland and repetitive. C+

Jane Lynch’s Monologue
“Classically trained guitarist Fred Armisen,” eh? I like it. As for the Glee “theme song” premise, it was a little predictable and that sort of thing has been done before (see Jack Black’s King Kong theme song), but Jane Lynch did perform serviceably. B

Damn It, My Mom is on Facebook Filter
Ah, mom humor. It appears to be endless (cf. the Mom Celbrity Translator). To work, it requires solid performances, which we had with Andy as the frustrated son and Jane as the concerned and mommishly kooky mom. B+