Anna Faris Returns to ‘SNL’: Review

When you’ve got a four day workweek, it can sure cut into productivity. Denied an extra day of writing or rehearsal, “Saturday Night Live” this week seemed rushed, thin and a little under-practiced.

More than one cast member flubbed lines; more seemed to be looking skance for  cue cards. A couple of sketches got in that were wholly devoid of laughs.

But of course you could always blame the host. Anna Faris was back for the second time as host for some reason, possibly because she’s in movies (the latest of which failed miserably). As a personality she’s got about as much going as Abby Elliott, the cast member who portrayed her double in the Q&A monologue. Faris was OK, but should be invited back to the show only if Elliott is sick.

Looking a little boney and sporting a blonde bob, Faris looked so much like Courtney Love, it’s a wonder they didn’t write a sketch about her. (Hasn’t she been in the news lately?).

Instead, it was a grabbag of sketches and familiar setups (game shows! Local access talk shows!) and an awful lot of making fun of foreigners.

America’s becoming a more and more diverse place, but on “SNL” they can create whole sketches out of making fun of Latinos on “The Manuel Ortiz Show” (which is basically a salsa version of “What’s Up with That?” – everybody gets up and dances at every introduction) and the new faux Japanese show “J Pop America Funtime Now,” a supposed product of campus TV that at least had an advisor off camera telling them how borderline offensive it all was.

Politically, the show began with a Mayoral Press Conference about the occupation of Wall Street. In it,   Fred Armisen had the tone but not the look at all of Michael Bloomberg in a bit too low key to be a cold open (it’s big punchline: If you light up a cigarette, we’re moving in).

Later there was a Republican debate carried on Marriott in house closed circuit TV – which they introduced as the only network seen by fewer people than Bloomberg TV, which carried the debate earlier this week. Kenan Thompson got to be Herman Cain; Jason Sudeikis’ Mitt Romney is getting better by the week. As with the lesser candidates, their impersonators also got less time.

Drake, the musical guest, was enticed to appear in a sketch. Othereise his songs were distinguished by a flashy diamondvision set in one number and Nicky Minaj in the other.

The best bits of the night were Bobby Moynihan’s Anthony Crispino secondhand news in Weekend Update – a character that’s getting as good as Emily Latella – and a late sketch about a new boyfriend, Paul Brittain as a giggling Renaissance fop named Cecil. The girlfriend in the sketch was either Faris or Elliott – I couldn’t tell.

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