Saturday Night Live: James Franco & Nicki Minaj
December 7, 2014 5:32 AM - Season 40, Episode 8 - Subscribe

Minaj gets more screen time than expected, but Kate McKinnon gets less screen time than usual. Franco is more animated than usual, but the political bits are less animated than expected.

Week Eight in the Jost-Che Experiment is tepid (with Second Hand News and a surprisingly good replacement for Nasim Pedrad's Kim Kardashian), but they're trying.

CorpseWatch: Franco loses it in his attack ad on a four-year-old mayor.

Biggest surprise: Mike O'Brien is back with a Mike O'Brien film starring Mike O'Brien.
posted by Etrigan (10 comments total)
Did any of the televised versions include a completed Star Wars parody trailer? I'm on the west coast feed and it was still riddled with unfinished green screen and other vfx.
posted by dogwalker at 11:34 AM on December 7, 2014

I'm honestly wondering whether that was part of the joke.
posted by Etrigan at 11:51 AM on December 7, 2014

The version that's on hulu is complete, so not sure if it wasn't finished in time or the wrong version made it to air.
posted by dogwalker at 12:07 PM on December 7, 2014

I'm in CA, and it aired fine out here in the usual PST slot.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 7:03 PM on December 7, 2014

I'm in CA, too, and I remembered seeing a green wall out of one of the windows and the light-walker was not glowing.
posted by ckape at 8:46 PM on December 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

Did any of the televised versions include a completed Star Wars parody trailer?

We saw it live and I don't remember any of that sort of artifact-y stuff but I might have missed that.

I liked this episode more than most of the other ones this season. Rogen's cameos were good, he's really good at being the beta to Franco's "alpha" Franco was a little cue-card-read-y but he seemed good-natured and was good at the stuff they put him in. The ensemble bit about clearing out space in the kid's mind was great because it had everyone and was mostly funny (Killam changed clothes in the sketch? ha!) and it was funny seeing Minaj doing part of Anaconda especially since the songs she did in the musical pieces were a bit more mellow. Last time she was on she was also in a bit (or two?) and I like that they can do that with her. I liked her on Update and I felt Jost was most amusing than usual. The Mike O'Brien piece kept looking like it was going to be awful but in the end I liked it. Bad cold open, otherwise I liked this better than the last few new weeks.
posted by jessamyn at 9:24 PM on December 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

What jessamyn said, and to add: I thought this was Jost's best outing so far, and I think Che has gotten the rhythm down better by now. We also loved Cecily's friend-of-troll-under-bridge. I think the show has hit its stride.
posted by not_on_display at 9:33 PM on December 7, 2014

Now that you mention it, I remember the light-walker did look funky... it didn't seem like it was glowing right, but I thought it was just a bad effect and it didn't occur to me that it was MISSING the effect. Maybe some other missing effects got past me too.

I thought it was an OK episode. The Cameron Diaz one was pretty dire and I thought this was better than that, with no standout awful sketches and a few good ones.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 10:20 PM on December 7, 2014

The clearing-out-memory skit was pointless and should not have worked nearly as well as it did.

I groaned at the seventh (SEVEN! in TWO YEARS!) appearance of the Former Porn Stars, but this was a tight couple of minutes, and it reminded me why it can work again ("And I'm James Franco" killed me).

I think WU is due for a radical redefinition. It's been "Head Writer Does Tonight Show Monologue (Plus Other Person) And A Couple Of Drop-Ins" for fifteen years. Let Jost finish out the season with honor and then go mental in the off-season trying to figure out what to do with it. Audition fucking everyone to see what works. Paul F. Tompkins and puppets! Greg Proops riffing! Doug Benson interrupting Bill Curtis! Just not another season of this pale "fifteen jokes, two guests, and we're out" reflection of greatness.

The true revelation of this show was Nicki Minaj. She pulled off everything they asked of her. If she doesn't roll this appearance into some acting gigs, her agent needs to be fired.
posted by Etrigan at 5:00 AM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Interesting little piece at the AV Club about the Grow-a-Guy sketch, which re-confirms that there are certain hosts whom the writers will save the really out-there stuff for:
Mike O'Brien: Some hosts can be not so enthused about a weird short that Tim and I have written. But there are certain people like Franco and Louis CK and alumni of the show, that when they’re hosting the writers can really let it rip. We’ll be like, “I don’t know if so-and-so would go for this—let’s wait for Franco in a couple of weeks.”
posted by Etrigan at 4:51 AM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

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