Saturday Night Live: Will Ferrell, Chris Stapleton
January 27, 2018 10:46 PM - Season 43, Episode 14 - Subscribe

Host: Will Ferrell, Musical Guest: Chris Stapleton

  • George W. Bush Returns - Will Ferrell, Leslie Jones
  • Opening Monologue - Will Ferrell
  • Fighter Pilots - Mikey Day, Beck Bennett, Chris Redd, Will Ferrell, Cecily Strong
  • Movie Night - Beck Bennett, Will Ferrell, Kyle Mooney, Tracy Morgan
  • Dickenson's - Alex Moffatt, Kate McKinnon, Will Ferrell
  • Flight Attendants - Chris Redd, Aidy Bryant, Will Ferrell, Luke Null, Leslie Jones, Kyle Mooney
  • Next: For Men - Will Ferrell, Kyle Mooney, Alex Moffat, Kate McKinnon
  • Chris Stapleton - Midnight Train To Memphis
  • Weekend Update - Michael Che, Colin Jost
    • Jacob Silj - Will Ferrell
    • Bailey Gismert - Heidi Gardner

  • Reality Stars - Beck Bennett, Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Mikey Day, Cecily Strong, Will Ferrell, Melissa VillaseƱor

  • Aziz Ansari - Will Ferrell, Cecily Storng, Aidy Bryant, Heidi Grnder, Beck Bennett, Kenan Thompson, Kate McKinnon,

  • Chris Stapleton - Hard Livin'

  • Crate & Barrell - Cecily Strong, Chirs Redd, Will Ferrell, Alex Moffat, Heidi Gardner

  • Chucky Lee Bird - Beck Bennett, Kate McKinnon, Will Ferrell

posted by DizzyOnBugSpray (28 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
That cold open was great.
posted by Pendragon at 10:14 AM on January 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Pretty fun episode. I mean, they keep insisting on sticking an unfunny "But how am I supposed to know what I am allowed to say and/or do now?" sketch in every episode now, but other than that I enjoyed it.

Loved the cold open and monologue. The Fighter Pilots sketch I feel like they really didn't know where to go from the "if you see either of us you're having a bad day" bit.

That house is fun to watch but I'd hate to live there. Too much drama.

Chucky Lee Bird served the dual purpose of being funny and also reminding us that despite the rose colored view people have, the 50s were actually kinda shitty. Also, the 80s.

I think you might be confused about the name of the penultimate sketch. Surely you mean Cracker Barrel.
posted by ckape at 10:25 AM on January 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

I fell asleep before the news and I'm forced to consider that Will Ferrell may not be naturally funny anymore.
posted by rhizome at 10:55 AM on January 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

The makeup on Ferrell in that Reality Stars skit was nightmare fuel.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:14 AM on January 28, 2018 [4 favorites]

Ferrell's always had that "borderline dick who used to tease you at lunch in 7th grade but also did it to everyone else, and doubled down on anyone who couldn't laugh off merciless teasing" bro personality lurking in the background. I think he tried to tamp that down with kid-friendly roles that made him so successful early on as well as recently (like Elf, Curious George, Lego Movie and all the cartoon voicework he's done).

But the longer he gets in his career, the less good-natured he tries to be in his original character portrayals, I think. Everything seems a bit mean-spirited now, like Bing Crosby after his second Scotch before dinner. Some of his recent roles are just awful (Land of the Lost, Daddy's Home). I find myself holding my breath a little bit whenever he's on SNL or another live-ish show now, honestly. But last night he was actually very funny!

George W, yes, I remember you well. How you look so benign now in comparison is almost unfathomable.

Also, his sons do not think he's funny.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 12:01 PM on January 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

Been waiting for a clown penis callback for almost 20 years now.
posted by ftm at 12:22 PM on January 28, 2018 [4 favorites]

I loved the Bailey Gismert bit. "Then I had to bowl with my dad..."
posted by Stanczyk at 1:48 PM on January 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

I mean, they keep insisting on sticking an unfunny "But how am I supposed to know what I am allowed to say and/or do now?" sketch in every episode now, but other than that I enjoyed it.

I didn't think the Aziz Ansari sketch was funny, either, but boy howdy is that my real life now among friends.
posted by Ruki at 2:01 PM on January 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

Unicorn on the cob: "Ferrell's always had that "borderline dick who used to tease you at lunch in 7th grade but also did it to everyone else, and doubled down on anyone who couldn't laugh off merciless teasing" bro personality"

I'm pretty sure this accurately describes about 95% of the people who go into improv/comedy.
posted by schmod at 3:31 PM on January 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

I dunno, I always thought of him as more of a "used to be in marching band" type, which doesn't mean he wasn't a teasing dick, but it does mean he would have gotten teased as well. He seemed more awkward on the show in the 90s, more familiar with being a dweeb.

But not a lot of that was on display in this episode. I watched the rest. Next: For Men felt like it pulled punches the writers aren't able to throw anyway, same with the Ansari but for different reasons. Reality Stars was a bit one-notey (great characters tho!), and Crate & Barrel was pretty flat.

Maybe I'm just in a bad mood, but I expect more from Will! Here he felt more like his appearance on Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee.
posted by rhizome at 6:39 PM on January 28, 2018

Everything seems a bit mean-spirited now, like Bing Crosby after his second Scotch before dinner.

That was a well-turned line.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:42 PM on January 28, 2018 [5 favorites]

I never got a sadist vibe off Ferrell at all, but fairly or not I'll forever associate him with one of my least favorite SNL eras, when folks like Jimmy Fallon and Horatio Sanz were taking up a lot of airtime giggling their way through really lazy sketches. Back then the writing was pretty crappy, with a LOT of recurring characters doing the same schtick every week. (How many freaking sketches were there with Ferrell and Cheri O'Teri as the cheerleaders?) It all felt very loose, goofy and low-stakes, even post 9-11. It was an era when you looked to Jon Stewart or South Park for edgy political humor, knowing you'd never get it from SNL.

Ferrell didn't reprise a lot of his old characters last night, thank the dear lord, but it was weird to get some of that very specific early 2000s SNL feel in a modern episode, with Ferrell doing all of his bellowing manchild stuff but with Mikey Day and Kate McKinnon where Chris Parnell and Molly Shannon used to be. Aidy Bryant even broke over Farrell's antics in one sketch, like she was Rachel Dratch or something. It was kind of nostalgic for me, but it was like going back to your hometown and visiting that random Del Taco or CVS where you used to waste time as a teen. A feeling of vague nostalgia for something you didn't enjoy that much when it was new. I did think Ferrel's bit as W was really funny, and oh, so necessary right now.

I feel like Heidi Gardner is a killer comedic actor in dire need of a decent script. Her characters tend to be compelling but one-note, like that bit a while back where she was James Franco's cousin. She's proving that she can play the hell out of a part, but she rarely seems to have much to play.

Luke Null got to beatbox, so that's... something.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 11:24 PM on January 28, 2018 [4 favorites]

The cold open was great, but even by the end it was starting to feel tired. I watched..."watched"...the episode on Hulu, and didn't get through an entire subsequent sketch before fastforwarding to the next one. I watched Weekend Update all the way through, but I don't remember anything about it. I tried to keep going, but I gave up.

I agree that Will Ferrell was an integral part of SNL's lamest era, but he can be funny. And just as he was the best thing on a bad show then, the bits of black licorice in an ice cream sundae full of bleach and glass, he was the best part of whatever this was. But it seemed like everyone else became less funny in his presence, like he's some terrible black hole of comedy who should never be allowed on a sound stage.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:46 AM on January 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

Oh, I never hated Ferrell. I never found him quite as funny as a lot of other people seemed to, but he can be pretty funny sometimes. It's more that seeing him on SNL again made me flash back to his era, and that was an era I generally didn't like much at all. It was like every time they found a passably funny gag they'd turn it into an endlessly recurring thing, and the performers were always busting up at stuff I found a lot less funny than they did, and Justin freaking Timberlake was underfoot constantly. I thought there were a lot of talented performers in that era, but the writing was super lazy. I knock the show a lot now, but I feel like on their worst week now they're still probably sharper and funnier than the best week was back then.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:04 AM on January 29, 2018

I like Ferrell okay. I heard him interviewed on Maron once and was surprised to learn he's just sort of a well-adjusted dude from California, like his humor doesn't come from some well of weirdness, it comes from somewhere else. I really liked him on the show, I think because I miss his brand of humor compared to some of the stuff we've seen lately. Basically I am liking the new cast for the most part (Null can beatbox?) but it's a bumpy season of readjustment and I'm not really sold on the new writing yet. Last week actively made me angry but this week felt more like the SNL I enjoy watching. Some of the stuff was uneven but by and large things were funny. Ferrell is talented, some of the other cast got to shine (Gardner on Update, Bryant and Redd in a scene that looked doomed from the get-go)

I didn't think the Aziz Ansari sketch was funny, either, but boy howdy is that my real life now among friends.

Yeah, even when it started I was like "Uh oh...." but then I realized that, my feeling that, was sort of part of the bit. And back in the SNL heyday some of their stuff wasn't funny per se, it was just weird and uncomfortable. So I appreciate that they went there, I felt that bit worked even though it wasn't that funny. Also was not expecting to like the Dickinson's thing (I am pretty done with MacKinnon playing jokey old people) but felt they brought something new to it with all their weird word riffing.

And I loved the band and I never, ever, love the band. That wall of sound in the first song was great.

I went in with low expectations and they were exceeded, I think is what I am saying. This was my fave episode of the season so far.
posted by jessamyn at 6:38 AM on January 29, 2018

I did not know the Dickinson's thing was based on a real commercial.
posted by jessamyn at 7:00 AM on January 29, 2018 [3 favorites]

I don't like Will Ferrell. That was probably one of the first times I enjoyed the band (that I had previously never heard of) more than the show (save WU).

Also that band/singer-songwriter was great. I haven't heard good Southern rock/outlaw country type stuff in a while.
posted by elsietheeel at 11:08 AM on January 29, 2018

Finally, another Pitbull joke. Yay!
posted by elsietheeel at 11:17 AM on January 29, 2018

Hah, I remember that Dickinson's precursor. A bit weird to take it up 5 years later, but is that what we have to do now to avoid Trump references?

And back in the SNL heyday some of their stuff wasn't funny per se, it was just weird and uncomfortable.

Which would have been fine for the Ansari if they didn't -- as Frank Zappa used to say -- "put the eyebrows on it" so much. I have a suspicion of a fundamental conservatism (non-Che, comedic not political) in the writer's room, like it's filled with sheltered upbringing and they don't know how to have an edge, so they tentatively reach out from time to time, maybe they hit some notes, but ultimately it's luck, a little bit of balls, and nothing they are able to cultivate.

This SNL crew will never do a skit where Trump kicks babies and stomps puppies, but they probably should.
posted by rhizome at 11:37 AM on January 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

Okay I have one more thing to say. The amount of corpsing/breaking in this episode was EPIC. I know a lot of y'all aren't a fan, but I love it. Even people who never break were losing it. It makes me wonder exactly what I don't get about Will Farrell, because they obviously all think he's a riot.
posted by elsietheeel at 11:39 AM on January 29, 2018

They're all angling for parts in Night at the Roxbury II: The Roxburying.
posted by rhizome at 11:51 AM on January 29, 2018

Maybe he's really funny in person. I find his style really broad and corny in a way that works for bro comedies, but not for anything real nuanced. He basically ruined every episode of Eastbound and Down he inflicted his talents upon, and really, that is not a subtle show.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:20 PM on January 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

I dig Will Ferrell most of the time and plus: Stranger Than Fiction. This episode was not my favorite but not the worst. It was a standout episode for Heidi, though I thought the teenage girl was a tiny bit too long.
posted by Glinn at 3:50 PM on January 29, 2018

(OMG EB&D was so intentionally politically incorrect and offensive but the comedy was done in such a way just worked. Except those episodes with Will Farrell; those were actually offensive and I hated every single one of them. Also RIP Harris.)
posted by elsietheeel at 8:53 PM on January 29, 2018

I watch SNL on Global the next day, and they cut out not only the musical numbers as they always do, but also the cold open and the monologue. WHY OH WHY MUST THEY DO THAT.

This wasn't such a bad episode on the whole. I got at least mild enjoyment from everything I saw. The Flight Attendants sketch had me grinning with delight because, as an atheist, I'd love to say the kind of things to people that Will Ferrell was saying, but don't because it's too incendiary and anyway, it doesn't matter much if people believe in an afterlife or not. They'll never have the post-death consciousness required to be disappointed.
posted by orange swan at 7:41 AM on January 30, 2018 [2 favorites]

I thought it was another daring, uncomfortable episode that paid off.

...but I thought Will Forte did the "man who cannot modulate the volume of his voice" bit on WU first.

And Heidi Gardner and Chris Redd are stealing the show this season. Most impressive first seasons since Kate McKinnon's. (Though I will never get over the firing of Brooks Wheelan.)
posted by not_on_display at 11:23 PM on February 2, 2018

I thought of you recently, not_on_display, when I saw John Oliver at Foxwoods and the opening act, to my surprise and delight, was Brooks Wheelan.
posted by Ruki at 4:26 PM on February 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

posted by not_on_display at 6:32 PM on February 6, 2018

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