Saturday Night Live: Seth Meyers, Paul Simon
October 14, 2018 6:57 AM - Season 44, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Host: Seth Meyers, Musical Guest: Paul Simon

  • Kanye West/Donald Trump Meeting - Alec Baldwin, Chris Redd, Kenan Thompson
  • Opening Monologue - Seth Meyers
  • Movie Talkback - Kenan Thompson, Seth Meyers, Aidy Bryant, Kate McKinnon, Beck Bennet, Heidi Gardner, Kyle Mooney, Leslie Jones, Cecily Strong
  • Beta Force - Seth Meyers, Aidy Bryant, Kenan Thompson
  • Thirsty Cops - Leslie Jones, Seth Meyers, Ego Nwodim, Kate McKinnon
  • A Frightening Tale - Beck Bennett, Melissa Villaseñor, Heidi Gadner, Seth Meyers, Alex Moffat, Kyle Mooney
  • Jail Cellmate - Chris Redd, Kenan Thompson, Seth Meyers
  • Paul Simon - Can't Run But
  • Weekend Update - Michael Che, Colin Jost
    • Baskin Johns - Heidi Gardner
    • Really??? - Seth Meyers

  • Bayou Benny's Liberal Labniappe - Aidy Bryant, Beck Bennet, Heidi Gardner, Kate McKinnon, Seth Meyers, Alex Moffat

  • Paul Simon - Bridge Over Troubled Waters

  • Cuban Vacation - Aidy Bryant, Melissa Villaseñor, Beck Bennet, Kenan Thompson, Heidi Gardner, Seth Meyers, Kate McKinnon

  • Trees - Chris Redd, Pete Davidson, Alex Moffat

  • Halloween Gig - Kenan Thompson, Kyle Mooney, Seth Meyers

posted by DizzyOnBugSpray (21 comments total)
Turtle? I thought this was Quincy Jones!
posted by elsietheeel at 7:40 AM on October 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

This wasn’t a bad episode, but nothing really landed for me. No idea why. It seemed like everyone was just sort of tired and wanted some pleasant goofiness before the break.
posted by Etrigan at 7:56 AM on October 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

It got off to a bad start but got a bit better. All the sketches seemed slightly off. I wonder if some of them were sketches that were not done for one reason or another back when Meyer's was on the show.

Even weekend update was weak until "Really?" The Goop thing went on way too long.

As much as I love Kate it was nice to see a show that wasn't based around her. Was Cecily in it at all?

Standouts were A Frightening Tale and the Cosby thing.

Look, Paul Simon, we're happy you're still making music and working with a bunch of musicians and whatnot but we just wanna hear America and Call Me Al the same way we know them and love them.
posted by bondcliff at 8:10 AM on October 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

Beta Force reminded me of that Jeff Bezos photo that made the rounds a while back.
posted by Gary at 9:01 AM on October 14, 2018 [7 favorites]

Look, Paul Simon, we're happy you're still making music and working with a bunch of musicians and whatnot but we just wanna hear America and Call Me Al the same way we know them and love them.

Really? Paul Simon was the highlight of the episode for me. The first concert I ever went to was 27 years ago on the Rhythm of the Saints tour, so his re-arrangement of "Can't Run But" was really sweet for me.

Well...bittersweet. He's so old...
posted by elsietheeel at 2:04 PM on October 14, 2018 [4 favorites]

I thought this episode was stronger than last week's, although it wasn't a barn-burner either. It wasn't as edgy as I would've liked, but it was edge-adjacent. I was kind of hoping Seth Myers would reinvigorate the writing, but it was a decent if not spectacular outing.

The Goop thing encapsulated the problem I've had with Heidi Gardner's bits. She's a talented actor and she can really disappear into a character, but the writing on her bits barely exists. Her characters all have one joke and it's usually some variation on "she sure is awkward." It wouldn't surprise me to learn that she's just improv-ing everything, because she fumfers around so much she barely gets a word out sometimes. People have been comparing her to Kate McKinnon but McKinnon uses words, her bits have a point and it's not just some actorly exercise in seeing how long you can stretch a bit without actually speaking a coherent sentence. I contrast this bit with Vanessa Bayer's similar super-nervous weather girl character, and Bayer's bit is vastly superior because in addition to being very well acted it also had such great nonsense language. ("Hap!") Bayer had a clever script, and it was a funny contrast to see her deliver this garbled meltdown speak with such a confident, sunny smile. It was a bit with more layers than just watching a character be nervous. If somebody gave Gardner a decent script she could probably do great things with it, assuming she didn't just stretch out the scene with five minutes of um's and awkward body language.

Paul Simon was straining on some of those notes, but it was really refreshing to have somebody on who was just... singing music. It made me realize how often I've been fast-forwarding through the musical acts, all of the cheesy rappers and lip-syncing pop divas of the moment.

The Cosby bit was weird, because it wasn't angry enough given what the fucker did. It just made him seem old and goofy and almost... endearing? They needed to drop in some lines about how he actually drugged and raped people, to make him more monstrous and less like the charming Cosby character he presented to the world.

I wasn't crazy about the loony feminist lady in the Movie Talk bit. Not that I don't have my own issues with loony feminists sometimes, but SNL's anti-feminist stuff always feels more mean and ax-grind-y than funny and the timing is bad so soon after the Kavanaugh debacle. I'm guessing that's Che striking again, with his tired old "But white feminist chicks, amirite?" thing. It's really striking how those preachy, Jezebel-friendly feminist sketches have just stopped lately, and while I don't exactly miss them I really don't like the anti-feminist stuff that's kind of taken its place.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:14 PM on October 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

I think having Seth on was detrimental to this show, trying to evoke good old times when the times have changed.

Beta Force was well done by Seth, though. Has he done movies in the past like Colbert? Huh, he has but I haven't seen a single one of them.
posted by porpoise at 6:22 PM on October 14, 2018

I look forward to seeing less of Pete Davidson now that he's no longer engaged to a pop star. I also look forward to hearing less about Kanye. I'm beyond ready to move on from those two.
posted by Ruki at 7:00 PM on October 14, 2018

Ruki, I don't think you should plan on seeing any less of Davidson for a while. If there's anything gossip culture loves more than engaged celebrities, it's celebrity exes. I like Davidson fine, I'm not hating on the guy, but now that he's broken up with Grande his profile will probably skyrocket for all the wrong reasons.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 8:39 PM on October 14, 2018

I just came here to say Paul Simon's plastic surgeryed mouth looked more like a rictus, almost like the Joker. You could really see it at the closing. I did like his singing though, mostly.
posted by scalefree at 2:05 AM on October 15, 2018

His voice is gone. He did alright with it here, but he's definitely ready to retire. I wish I could have seen him, but 10 years ago with Artie was probably the last best time to do so.

I think Seth was better here than he was when he was on the show. I wouldn't be surprised if he missed doing fiction.

Thirsty Cops, Jail, Frightening Tale, and Halloween Gig were my favorites. Thirsty Cops especially. Trees was good, and short. "Leave them wanting more" is rarely an achievement on this show, and I think what irks me about Heidi Gardner's characters, which are GREAT, but they are way drawn out. It seems like she's hunting around for the right variation on the ditzy, shy, and crying uptalker, but whatever survives has got to be tighter. I know there's something in there, though.

I love Kenan's Cosby. It too could have been sharper on the topic, but surely they're being conservative for now. It could be an ongoing thing!
posted by rhizome at 2:32 AM on October 15, 2018

Mildly disappointed there was no mention of Kid Rock's resemblance to 1980s SNL regular Father Guido Sarducci.
posted by pxe2000 at 1:08 PM on October 15, 2018

In case you were curious, NBC admitted that all of Trees didn't air (commercial overran it). The full sketch in on Youtube.
posted by General Malaise at 2:13 PM on October 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

Look, Paul Simon, keep doing remakes of your old songs. Your original ideas have dried up, but you have plenty of material you can remake and dance like a grandpa to. Kate Bush and Joni Mitchell also did it so you're in good company. Don't listen to bondcliff. Please remake "Kodachrome", "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover", and "Cecelia" next. Boncliff thought you were playing "You Can Call Me Al" and "America"—that's how much you fooled HIM! Hah.


Seth Meyers is the most relaxed host they've had in years, and if they want help writing stuff in the future, Seth's literally only 100 yards away. The rest of the show and the writing was tight, sketches had funny and solid endings, the news was measured and caustic at the same time, and Paul Simon finally got his groove back.

I have zero complaints about this show. Best episode in a long, long, long time.
posted by not_on_display at 2:20 PM on October 15, 2018

Boncliff thought you were playing "You Can Call Me Al" and "America"


Look, man, I just think artists should always do the things I liked the exact way I liked them. Is that so much to ask?
posted by bondcliff at 6:22 AM on October 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

In case you were curious, NBC admitted that all of Trees didn't air (commercial overran it). The full sketch in on Youtube.

Yeah I thought that was weird, clipped & didn't make any sense. Turns out it was.
posted by scalefree at 10:50 PM on October 16, 2018

I didn't get a single laugh out of this episode.
posted by orange swan at 5:35 PM on October 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

I agree with orange swan on this one. I've been an SNL apologist the last few years, but this episode was very bad. The Liberal Lagniappe sketch felt like a fake sketch that was cut from an episode of Studio 60.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:24 AM on October 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

The Liberal Lagniappe sketch felt like a fake sketch that was cut from an episode of Studio 60.

That one in particular felt like something that was slated for Seth's "Second Chance Theater". But I think sketches after weekend update are supposed to be strange or experimental. It's a bit different now with PVRs and airing on the west coast at 8:30pm, but they need some room to try out the odd stuff and see what catches on.

If anything needs to be called out it's the movie talk back sketch so early in the show and just being a parade of random characters.
posted by Gary at 2:57 PM on October 18, 2018

I kept waiting for a sharp political point from the the Liberal Lagniappe sketch, but I think it was just supposed to be a mash-up of unexpected elements with the liberal stuff all stirred up into a gumbo with the over-the-top New Orleans stuff. Like, that was all. I'm guessing somebody on the staff comes from Louisiana and this was all some huge inside joke for them. It was cute but I hope it doesn't become a recurring bit.

Lately it kind of feels like the political stuff is getting more muddled in general. Like, they mostly confine it to the cold open and Weekend Update, and even then you're sometimes kind of left wondering what the point of the bit was. The attacks on the right are losing some of their bite and there's more "both sides" stuff. And again, I put most of the blame on Che. A lot of the puzzling stuff that gets through more makes sense when you remember that it was written or approved by an openly anti-feminist, quasi-libertarian guy who seems to dislike white liberals nearly as much as he dislikes Trump.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:19 PM on October 18, 2018

There's been some hubbub about Lorne influencing their political edge.
posted by rhizome at 9:18 PM on October 18, 2018

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