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'Saturday Night Live' Recap: Martin Freeman And Charli XCX

December 14th, 2014 8:30am EST
'Saturday Night Live' Recap: Martin Freeman Hosts With Musical G
It was the British invasion on the penultimate 2014 episode of “SNL,” with first-time host Martin Freeman and first-time musical guest Charli XCX. It is not every week that “SNL” has the perfect actor to play nebbishy scamps, so this episode took every opportunity it could to fit Freeman into his wheelhouse. Indeed, at least regarding the host, this was one of the most well-cast episodes of “SNL” in a while. Meanwhile, the show in general continued its Season 40 pattern of focusing on original material, with a single character on Weekend Update serving as the lone recurring bit of the ni...

'Saturday Night Live' Review: James Franco And Nicki Minaj

December 8th, 2014 9:12am EST
James Franco/Nicki Minaj - SNL
With a crisis in policing in America, and a movie studio being hacked, possibly in retaliation to the upcoming film starring tonight’s host, this week’s “SNL” was not struggling for topicality. Surprisingly enough, one of the most uncomfortable issues of the year shocked the show out of its politically tepid default, resulting in some legitimately funny material on a difficult subject. However, what this episode was most notable for was a bizarrely naturalistic pace. It was not slow and sleepy so much as it was that many of the sketches took their time to find a joke. Rhythmically, this...

The Best Of 'Saturday Night Live's' Digital Shorts

November 29th, 2014 2:30pm EST
Laser Cats
Despite the third word in the title, pre-recorded content has been a major part of “Saturday Night Live” for all of its 40 years. This was never more prominent than it was from 2005-2013, when Andy Samberg and the rest of the Lonely Island (writers Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaeffer) were dominating the “SNL” conversation with their digital shorts. Samberg, Taccone, and Schaeffer were originally a comedy team in Southern California who had amassed a sizable following on YouTube. After being hired at “SNL,” they managed to produce over 100 of their idiosyncratic shorts in a little under a ...

‘SNL’ Recap: Cameron Diaz/Mark Ronson And Bruno Mars

November 24th, 2014 8:20am EST
'Saturday Night Live' Season 40, Episode 7 Review: Cameron Diaz/
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 themselve...

'Saturday Night Live': Hunger Games Cast Crash Woody's Monologue, Musical Guest Kendrick Lamar & More

November 16th, 2014 7:27am EST
SNL - Woody Harrelson
Season 40 of “Saturday Night Live” has been notably light on recurring material; this episode, with the exception of one sketch and one Weekend Update segment, was completely devoid of anything recurring. While it is nice to have a tendency towards original material, the best “SNL” seasons have always had a decent mix of new and repeating characters. It is time for the cast and writers to really figure out what they do best and focus on that. If the show was relying on the host to kick itself into gear in this way, then Woody Harrelson was never going to be the man for that job. Instead,...

'Saturday Night Live' Recap: Chris Rock And Prince Take Center Stage At NBC Studio 8H

November 2nd, 2014 7:02am EST
Prince snl
In the past year, “SNL” was widely criticized for its lack of diversity, hired a new black cast member following that public pressure, debuted its first black Weekend Update cast member, and from the writer’s room brought on another black cast member. So an episode hosted by Chris Rock seemed poised to be the most head-on examination of race on “SNL” in years, or even decades. While that element was present, it was not really any more so than it has been in the past couple of years. Overall, in fact, this edition ended up like most episodes of the past couple of years: consisting of most...

Prince To Play 8-Minute Jam Session On 'Saturday Night Live'

October 28th, 2014 11:41am EDT
Chris Rock had one request when he was signed to hosting duties at "Saturday Night Live" for the Nov.1 show, Prince had to be the musical guest.

Instead of the usual two song sets other musicians play, Prince will play one 8-minute jam in the middle of the show, accompanied by his band 3rdeyegirl. Just because he is Prince, there will be no commercial interruption.3rdeyegirl consists of guitarist Donna Grantis, bassist Ida Neilsen and drummer Hannah Ford Welton.

After 18 years, former "SNL" cast member Chris Rock will return to Studio 8H and will usher Season 40 into the critical November...

Jim Carrey Takes On Matthew McConaughey, Halloween & Himself On SNL, Iggy Azalea Is Musical Guest

October 26th, 2014 4:28pm EDT
Jim Carrey Takes On Matthew McConaughey, Halloween & Himself On
When Jim Carrey first hosted "SNL" in 1996, it was one of the times when the host temporarily revamped the show according to his own performance style. That can be a good thing or a bad thing; in Jim's case, it was very good. For his third hosting stint, he was not quite as unstoppable, but he was still quite the blast of energy. As he pointed out in his monologue, Halloween is the one day each year that he is able to blend in with everyone else, and with a plethora of mostly successful All Hallow's Eve-themed sketches, he proved to be the most apt host for the occasion. There were a few cl...

Leslie Jones Joins Cast Of 'Saturday Night Live'

October 21st, 2014 9:47am EDT
Leslie Jones Joins Cast Of 'Saturday Night Live'
"Saturday Night Live" writer and "Weekend Update" correspondent Leslie Jones has been promoted to full-time cast member of the iconic weekly live series, now in its 40th season.

Jones has been a staff writer on the show since early 2014 and it is no surprise to those who understand show producer Lorne Michaels tendency to promote from within that she comedienne was pushed up to a more regular spot on the series.

She was a finalists for a cast spot that ended up going to Sasheer Zamata last year, after lengthy search by the "SNL" brass to find a woman of color to appear as a regular cast m...

Bill Hader Triumphantly Returns To Host 'Saturday Night Live'

October 12th, 2014 4:31pm EDT
Bill Hader Triumphantly Returns To Host 'Saturday Night Live' Wi
Recent alumni returning to host "Saturday Night Live" have lately served as an excuse to fill the episode with cameos from former cast members and friends of the show, with last season's finale hosted by Andy Samberg a particularly egregious example. That tendency is not a good fit for a show with a large repertory cast including several rookies and sophomores fighting to make themselves known. Luckily, this episode only featured two cameos, only one of whom was a former cast member, and neither of whom overwhelmed the show. Hader did resurrect a few of his most memorable characters, but he...

Saturday Night Live Season 40, Episode 2 Review: Sarah Silverman/Maroon 5

October 5th, 2014 5:01pm EDT
Sarah Silverman and Maroon 5 on Saturday Night Live
It's been 20 years since Sarah Silverman was one of "Saturday Night Live's" featured players (for a single season), and on Saturday night she returned to host the show for the first time.

In the past year, Silverman had a stand-up special on HBO and guest starred on a few episodes of "Masters of Sex," and with no projects at the moment -- or a strong connection to the show --she was a bit of a strange pick to land this week's hosting duties.

Saturday night's episode ended up having a similar vibe -- most of the sketches didn't have an immediate reason for existing. That's not necessarily...

'Saturday Night Live' Season 40 Premiere: Chris Pratt Proves To Be Perfect Utility Player Host

September 29th, 2014 9:04am EDT
SNL Chris Pratt
To kick off its milestone 40th season, “SNL” entrusted the premiere to first-time guests Chris Pratt and Ariana Grande. Pratt proved to be the perfect utility player host, comfortably slotting into all his roles without overshadowing the cast. His trademark goofy energy could have been put to greater use, but this was an episode of “SNL” that wanted to try out new material and cover some of the most pressing news stories. New cast members Michael Che and Pete Davidson looked perfectly comfortable as they made auspicious debuts. Overall, this was an episode that was not entirely focused ...

Meet The New Cast And Writers Of 'Saturday Night Live' Season 40

September 27th, 2014 11:00am EDT
Michael Che
“Saturday Night Live” is at a point in its run when there is some, but usually not too much, turnover in its creative personnel between seasons. Last year was a bit of an exception, with six new featured players added at the beginning of the season, and two more added over the course of the year. Season 40’s change rate is more typical, with the addition of two featured players and five writers. On the cusp of the season premiere, let’s take a moment to get to know these rookies:

1. Michael Che (New Weekend Update Anchor/Featured Player) – Che joined ‘SNL’ as a writer at the tail end of...

20 Best Quotes Of 'Saturday Night Live' Season 39

September 26th, 2014 6:29pm EDT
Olya joines
With “Saturday Night Live” on the cusp of beginning its latest season, we will be spending the next several days looking back at the best of last season.

Today, we're covering the best quotes of the season.

1. “If someone was like, ‘Hey, come live in this house, there’s only nine of us,’ I would say, ‘You got it dude!’” – Olya Pavlotsky (Kate McKinnon), on Weekend Update

2. “Now it’s a whole thing with Jean.” – Aidy Bryant, in “(Do It On My) Twin Bed”

3. “They’re all just twerkin’ 9 to 5.” – Drunk Uncle (Bobby Moynihan), on Weekend Update

4. “Patrick Henry: ‘Give me liberty or give me ...

The Best 'Saturday Night Live' Weekend Update Guest Segments Of Season 39

September 24th, 2014 7:03pm EDT
Drunk Uncle
With “Saturday Night Live” on the cusp of beginning its latest season, we will be spending the next several days looking back at the best of last season.

Today, we're covering the best Weekend Update guest segments.

1. Jebediah Atkinson – Taran Killam’s historical speech critic is the height of caustic wit. Introduced as the newspaper reviewer who tore apart the Gettysburg Address, he eventually offered a catty response to whatever historical rhetoric he could think of. Topping it all off was an apparent cue card snafu that could not have been handled more deliciously by Taran.

2. Ol...

The Best 'Saturday Night Live' Guests Of Season 39

September 23rd, 2014 1:59pm EDT
Drake SNL Bumper
With “Saturday Night Live” on the cusp of beginning its latest season, we will be spending the next several days looking back at the best of last season.

Today, we're covering the best hosts, monologues, and musical guests.

3 Best Hosts of the Season

1. Drake – When “SNL” branches out from the comedy and acting worlds for its hosting pool, that tends to limit the potential roles that a host can play. But Drake, with his acting background and present musical stardom, proved to be more of a double threat than a handicap. He handily played versions of himself, impressions of other hip-hop...

Kenan Thompson To Leave SNL After This Season

September 23rd, 2014 10:30am EDT
Kenan Thompson To Leave SNL After This Season
Kenan Thompson has decided to leave "Saturday Night Live" at the end of this season to move to Los Angeles with his wife and new baby.

TMZ reported that the actor/comedian will be leaving the long-running live series, now entering its 40th season, at the end of this year. According to reports, Thompson wanted to leave at the end of last season, but producer Lorne Michaels asked him to remain as the show transitioned its new cast.

An "SNL" spokesperson called theTMZ story "inaccurate." According to the rep, "the season hasn’t even started and cast decisions aren’t made until the end of the...

The Best 'Saturday Night Live' Episodes Of Season 39

September 22nd, 2014 2:00pm EDT
Miley Cyrus
With “Saturday Night Live” on the cusp of beginning its latest season, we will be spending the next several days looking back at the best of last season.

Today, we're covering the best episodes.

1. Miley Cyrus (10/5/13) – The great thing about a host like Miley Cyrus is that her personal life offers so much material for “SNL” to mine and she is self-aware enough to actually allow the show to make fun of it. Thus she was game to cover the hoopla over her VMA performance and “Wrecking Ball” video. The real fun came when making fun of Miley was mashed up with making fun of Congress, in “We...

Every 'SNL' Good Neighbor Comedy Skit Short Ranked

September 21st, 2014 10:05pm EDT
Kyle Mooney
Three of the new “SNL” hires in 2013 – cast members Beck Bennett and Kyle Mooney and video director Dave McCary – were brought in as a team in much the same way that the Lonely Island (Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, and Jorma Taccone) joined in 2005. Bennett, Mooney, and McCary (along with a fourth member, Nick Rutherford, who was not hired by “SNL” last year but has since been hired as a writer for Season 40) are together known as “Good Neighbor.” They have been an L.A.-based sketch group for the past several years, and much of their work can be seen on YouTube. Many of the pre-recorded ...

The 10 Best 'Saturday Night Live' Sketches Of Season 39

September 21st, 2014 12:00pm EDT
The 10 Best 'Saturday Night Live' Sketches Of Season 39
With “Saturday Night Live” on the cusp of beginning its latest season, we will be spending the next several days looking back at the best of last season.

Today, we're covering the best sketches.

1. We Did Stop (the Government) – There are some classic “SNL” sketches that come from a place of total nonsense, and then are those like “We Did Stop (the Government)” that are almost too perfect to be real. The opening shot made it clear that this parody song was going to be a takedown of the government shutdown in the style of Miley Cyrus’ surreal “We Can’t Stop” video. Instantly I sensed tha...

Best 'Saturday Night Live' Cast Members Of Season 39

September 20th, 2014 11:00am EDT
Saturday Night Live
With “Saturday Night Live” on the cusp of beginning its latest season, I am spending the next several days looking back at the best of last season.

I was always skeptical when “Saturday Night Live” Season 39 was referred to as a “rebuilding year.” Even though most of the show’s biggest stars (Bill Hader, Fred Armisen, Kristen Wiig, Andy Samberg, and Jason Sudeikis) had left in the past couple of years, the cast was hardly decimated. Bobby Moynihan and Taran Killam had already reached reliable veteran status, while Cecily Strong and Kate McKinnon were quickly on the rise. So adding six n...

Darrell Hammond To Succeed The Late Don Pardo As 'Saturday Night Live' Announcer

September 18th, 2014 6:27pm EDT
Darrell Hammond
Saturday Night Live alum Darrell Hammond has been tapped to step into the role of the show's announcer following the death of Don Pardo last month.

NBC announced on Thursday that the SNL alum, who starred on the series from 1995-2009, will make his return as announcer for the show's 40th season premiere on September 27, when "Guardians of the Galaxy" star Chris Pratt hosts the show and singer Ariana Grande is the musical guest.

The 58-year-old starred on the show longer than any other cast member and he was also the oldest cast member to have starred on the show at the time of his departu...

SNL Names Michael Che First African-American 'Weekend Update' Anchor

September 12th, 2014 3:03pm EDT
SNL Names Michael Che First African-American 'Weekend Update' An
In yet another groundbreaking move for the struggling Saturday night mainstay, "SNL" has named it's first African-American Weekend Update Anchor, comedian Michael Che. Che will replace Cecily Strong, who will continue to remain on the sketch comedy series.

Che is the third person to helm the anchor desk since the departure of Seth Meyers earlier this year. Meyers went on to host "The Late Show with Seth Meyers." Meyers introduced Strong to much fanfare at the beginning of season 39, in the hopes of making the transition easier for viewers. Strong never caught on as "WU" anchor. She was lat...

'Saturday Night Live' Season 40 Musical Guest Predictions

September 6th, 2014 7:00pm EDT
'Saturday Night Live' Season 40 Musical Guest Predictions
The season 40 premiere of “Saturday Night Live” is a little less than a month from now (September 27), which means it is time to start speculating how this year of the sketch comedy institution will shake down. To get that going, I am predicting Season 40’s hosts and musical guests. I already posted my host guesses, so now it's time for my MG picks.

Musical guests are notoriously tougher to predict than hosts, as album releases generally are not scheduled as far in advance as movies and TV shows. So I will consider it a great success if my picks are even half right, especially consideri...

'Saturday Night Live' Season 40 Host Predictions

September 1st, 2014 10:00am EDT
Chris Pratt
The season 40 premiere of “Saturday Night Live” is a little less than a month from now (September 27), which means it is time to start speculating how this year of the sketch comedy institution will shake down. To get that going, I will be predicting Season 40’s hosts and musical guests. I think of the guests of “SNL” as a sort of time capsule of who is big in entertainment during any given season – so who will be big in 2014-2015? I will start with the hosts, and my MG picks will follow soon.

The hosts tend to fit in a few particular categories: performers who are coming off a successf...

Creative Arts Emmys 2014: HBO Tops Winners List (Complete List)

August 17th, 2014 8:12am EDT
Creative Arts Emmys 2014: HBO Tops Winners List (Complete List)
Yes folks, there was an award ceremony last night.

The Prime Time Creative Arts Emmy Awards were held Saturday night at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles to honor programs and individual achievements. The ceremony, held the week before the bigger Prime Time Emmys, honored the many talented individuals who work behind the scenes as well as guest performers who appeared in TV series.

Taking home the most Emmy awards was HBO with 15 awards, followed by NBC with 10; PBS with 8; FOX and Netflix tied with 7; CBS with 6; ABC had 5 respectfully. You can see the complete tabulation of awards here....

Brooks Wheelan Fired From 'Saturday Night Live' After Only One Season

July 15th, 2014 8:15pm EDT
Brooks Wheelan Fired From 'Saturday Night Live' After Only One S
Comedy is a tough business - just ask Brooks Wheelan. The funnyman, who joined "Saturday Night Live" for its 39th season, is out of a job after just one season on the show.

The stand-up comedian tweeted: "Had a blast and loved every second of it. I'm totally honored to be able to make this next joke...FIRED FROM NEW YORK IT'S SATURDAY NIGHT!"

Wheelan, 27, appeared on the Weekend Update skits, where he created public service announcements against irresponsible behavior. He also impersonated stars such as actor Jared Leto, British boy bander Harry Styles and guitarist Slash.

Filmmaker Judd...

Leslie Jones Defends Herself After Controversial Slave Skit On 'Saturday Night Live'

May 5th, 2014 1:06pm EDT
Leslie Jones
Leslie Jones has defended herself after she was criticized for a controversial skit from this weekend's Saturday Night Live where she described herself as "the #1 slave draft pick."

Jones, a writer for SNL, appeared on the show's Weekend Update to talk about Lupita Nyong'o being named People's Most Beautiful Woman.

"The way we view black beauty has changed," she told Weekend Update anchor Colin Jost. "See, I’m single right now, but back in the slave days, I would have never been single. I’m six feet tall and I’m strong, Colin. Strong! I mean, look at me, I’m a mandingo!

"I’m just saying ...

Andrew Garfield Has Trouble Making Out With Emma Stone On 'Saturday Night Live'

May 4th, 2014 6:03pm EDT
Andrew Garfield Has Trouble Making Out With Emma Stone On 'Satur
You’d think real-life couple Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone would have no trouble kissing for the cameras filming The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but Saturday Night Live revealed they may not be a normal couple.

Andrew hosted the live comedy show last night, and we were treated to multiple appearances by his girlfriend Emma, who has hosted the show in the past. In fact, during the monologue she helpfully offered him some tips.

The highlight of the episode was the skit featuring both of them filming the climactic scene of the comic book film where Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy kiss atop the Broo...

20 Of The Greatest 'Saturday Night Live' Characters Ever!

April 9th, 2014 11:00am EDT
20 Of The Greatest 'Saturday Night Live' Characters Ever!
It's difficult to believe that there have been 39 seasons of "Saturday Night Live." The first show aired on October 11, 1975, under the original title "NBC's Saturday Night" and has run consecutively ever since. Many famous faces have graduated from this stellar cast of performers, comics and writers and so have many of their characters.

Putting together a list that spans so many talents and decades is like picking your favorite child, so let's just say that these are the 20 greatest characters "so far", 'cause as is with the case of "SNL" characters are always evolving and changing. Who k...