Farewell, Mr. Bunting
May 24, 2016 7:31 PM   Subscribe

Farewell, Mr. Bunting (SLYT) From the season finale of SNL
posted by dabug (82 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
What a sweet retrospective comic look at an older generation, just sweet. Do take a look if you haven't seen it yet. Perhaps the new "kitten" meme.
posted by sammyo at 7:35 PM on May 24, 2016 [7 favorites]


Oh captain my captain!
posted by museum of fire ants at 7:38 PM on May 24, 2016


I liked the song at the end. It was funny, yet touching.
posted by uosuaq at 7:39 PM on May 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Poetry is an essential part of literary education, it helps so much in creative and lucid writing.
posted by Oyéah at 7:42 PM on May 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


It was said that Buck Henry always did the last show of Saturday Night Live's first few seasons because he was willing to do the sketches no other host would touch. Fred Armisen seems to be following in that tradition.
That was the first time I laughed out loud to an SNL skit in ages.
posted by dannyboybell at 7:45 PM on May 24, 2016 [11 favorites]


They did really explain the essence of poetry. Educational!
posted by Guy Smiley at 7:48 PM on May 24, 2016


..... did I watch a different sketch than all y'all?
posted by sockermom at 7:57 PM on May 24, 2016 [12 favorites]


There's definitely something in my eye.
posted by the return of the thin white sock at 7:58 PM on May 24, 2016 [43 favorites]


When I taught American Lit in high school, I used to show them The Dead Poets' Society, and then, perversely (because they all loved it), assigned them to respond to Roger Ebert's two-star review.


posted by kozad at 8:04 PM on May 24, 2016 [26 favorites]


Carpe Diem! Literally.
posted by Benway at 8:15 PM on May 24, 2016


That's a high quality fan.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:20 PM on May 24, 2016 [10 favorites]


Monty Python did nearly this exact same thing, they did it more succinctly, and they did it over 40 years ago. I'm saying this partially because Fred Armisen is a creep whose humor I do not care for, but also because this didn't even elicit a snicker from me. It was cute. It didn't suck, but folks rushing to call this a classic and the best thing SNL's done in years? Eh.
posted by Maaik at 8:21 PM on May 24, 2016 [22 favorites]


To be fair, "the best thing SNL has done in years" is a pretty low bar.

Anyway, I thought it was hilarious.
posted by teponaztli at 8:23 PM on May 24, 2016 [6 favorites]


I really wanted to find this funny-- like, I was giggling in the beginning at the hamfisted parody of it, my favorite comedic genre-- until the head got lopped off, and I was like "really?" What was the joke??

I like Fred Armisen though.
posted by stoneandstar at 8:39 PM on May 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Maaik, I had the feeling it referenced something other than Dead Poets too, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Can you cite or link to the Python antecedent?

I love Fred Armisen and think he's a comic genius, and I laughed At this short mainly due to production values and delivery, but it didn't blow me away as it seems to have done for others. My partner used to play in an improv team where, whenever nobody had a better idea for getting out of a skit, there'd be some violent incident resulting in mimed blood-spurting arteries. This was just a much more expensive version of that.
posted by Miko at 8:40 PM on May 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


Anyone for tennis?
posted by nicwolff at 8:42 PM on May 24, 2016 [6 favorites]


Ah, that was wonderful.
posted by kafziel at 9:06 PM on May 24, 2016


I haven't watched SNL in ages, but doesn't the last L stand for live? That was pretty clearly nothing even close. What percentage of the sketches aren't live these days?
posted by axiom at 9:08 PM on May 24, 2016


Well, when I started watching in the early 90s, Schillers Reels were already a thing, so...
posted by Miko at 9:09 PM on May 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


Poetry fans are the _worst_.

Or maybe: poetry fans are quite sharp.
posted by amtho at 9:13 PM on May 24, 2016 [11 favorites]


Dan Ackroyd's Julia Childs, the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail....

There's a deep vein of jokes like this running through comedy history. Of course it's possible to somehow butcher the joke, but this sketch didn't do that, making me sanguine about the future of comedy.
posted by Lyme Drop at 9:19 PM on May 24, 2016 [22 favorites]


I haven't watched SNL in ages, but doesn't the last L stand for live?

Mr. Bill wasn't live either, so as regards this issue there were no good old days.
posted by Lyme Drop at 9:20 PM on May 24, 2016 [14 favorites]


Roger Ebert's two-star review.

Wow, a perfect summation of what I've always felt about that movie and a whole lot more. Thanks!
posted by BentFranklin at 9:21 PM on May 24, 2016 [5 favorites]


dannyboybell: "That was the first time I laughed out loud to an SNL skit in ages."

Exactly.
posted by symbioid at 9:25 PM on May 24, 2016


It's a sssssnap!

Miko: "Maaik, I had the feeling it referenced something other than Dead Poets too, but I couldn't put my finger on it."

Goodbye, Mr. Chips?
posted by Rhaomi at 9:26 PM on May 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


making me sanguine about the future of comedy.

Nice.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:31 PM on May 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


axiom: I haven't watched SNL in ages, but doesn't the last L stand for live? That was pretty clearly nothing even close. What percentage of the sketches aren't live these days?

Even from the beginning there were filmed bits. Albert Brooks did a short film that was 13 minutes long. Lorne Michaels wanted to cut it down, but host Rob Reiner insisted they not, so they added a commercial in the middle and were away from the live show for 20 minutes! The fake commercials and digital shorts allow them to move sets and do costume changes, but the percentage has ticked up a bit in recent years as its become more important for things to viral on youtube, which is how many people watch late shows now.
posted by bluecore at 9:32 PM on May 24, 2016 [5 favorites]


At the end of Dead Poet's Society, 16y.o. me marched out to our family's much neglected third hand Shasta travel trailer (collectible, as it was the last model before they decided to tack on the little wings; neglected, as we hadn't done anything with it since Regan's first term, and now Bush I was in office - my parents had to work a lot more, for Regan related reasons.) When I got out there, at the end of our driveway, I cleaned out all the mouse poop. I pretended not to know what my Mom was doing with the camper upholstery wen I was at school, mouse-gnawed and crumbling past redemption, or what my Dad was doing with the lead plumbing and fiberglass insulation, now that they knew I was Motivated about Something. I read the entirety of Alice in Wonderland and The Silmarillion in that trailer. I was living life as it should be lived. (I have literally no excuse for being me. I had amazing parents.)

And then with my Dad's help, not that I would ever admit it, I bought a 1972 Mustang Landau once I got my license, as those cars were stupid cheap as everyone who was a Boomer at the time thought that both the early '70s Mustangs looked dumb, and pleather roof treatments were the worst. No, and also no, as they looked fantastic and had the pre-smog Cleveland 350 and also I earned the money straight up from a summer job. Teenagers these days cannot understand this place I was in, please don't blame me, a Gen X'er, as I voted Clinton Clinton Gore Kerry. Obama is y'all's. Still gonna vote Hill, even tho I am only 30% of my demo that will... but yes, I had a summer job at 15, that paid minimum wage, that allowed me to buy a muscle car. It was $350 in 1989 money. Two summers of savings.

Let's just say I did not return to the camper trailer after I got to throw down with the muscle-heads with a very well maintained OG pre-smog 'Stang. AM radio only, but the local private school public radio station was playing instrumental swing from the '40s on their channel 24/7, because 1989, and it was aggressive! Our public highschool did not have a radio station. I was the biggest man on our HS football squad, and I was the equipment manager so I could get out of gym class to go build sets for Drama Club.

Also, I kind of wished it would be Fred's deaf son who got his head lopped off by the fan, to also tie in another franchise of the time.

Also also, Horatio Farley, as Evil Teach, was the youngest looking man in the room. LOL.

On the gripping hand, any movie that could get me out of my depressive rut and into DOING SOMETHING, other than drowning myself in another paperback while my teens were ticking by, well. Parody on. I'm there with you.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:42 PM on May 24, 2016 [6 favorites]


While it wasn't terribly original, the thing I appreciated was their willingness to do such a long, slow burn. The joke definitely caught me by surprise, which is something SNL rarely does.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 9:56 PM on May 24, 2016 [6 favorites]


A long slow burn

Yeah, but on what? A 20 year old movie? This is the issue with SNL - a reluctance to take on social issues of its own time. Better, and way safer, to mock some ancient shibboleth than to engage with anything current . In the end, it was funny, ish, but wAaaay too easy.
posted by Miko at 10:18 PM on May 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


Man, I wish this thread had been around when we had that MeTa where everyone was like "lol why would anyone need a content warning, don't people know what they're clicking on." I find graphic gore (even if stylized) pretty upsetting, and though I actively avoid it, if I do have to be taken by surprise I kinda hope it to be in service of something with a little more value than network tv. YMMV
posted by threeants at 10:18 PM on May 24, 2016 [10 favorites]


The weird thing about the sketch was that I totally guessed what was going to happen as soon as they went for the wide shot with the ceiling fan visible. (The students were already getting on their desks at that point, so maybe I just had some kind of helicopter aunt instinct when I saw the revolving blades.)
posted by stoneandstar at 10:35 PM on May 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


Better, and way safer, to mock some ancient shibboleth than to engage with anything current . In the end, it was funny, ish, but wAaaay too easy.

This is also Portlandia in a nutshell.
posted by elwoodwiles at 11:00 PM on May 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


I generally like Armisen, his IFC show was great. I likes this sketch too. If you're worried abou SNL taking on current events,check the last few SNL posts in fanfare or on the blue. They've actually gotten pretty brutal with yhe digital shorts, the Hilary satire is gentle but pointed, and the last five or so weekend updates have been surprisingly aggressive about Trump.

(But now I want to know why Fred Armisen is creepy to some folks. I reallllly hope its not some awful shit and just his all around smarminess.)
posted by kittensofthenight at 11:06 PM on May 24, 2016


maybe I just had some kind of helicopter aunt instinct when I saw the revolving blades

this was intentional right? please say yes
posted by sylvanshine at 11:27 PM on May 24, 2016 [10 favorites]


The weird thing about the sketch was that I totally guessed what was going to happen as soon as they went for the wide shot with the ceiling fan visible.

Me too, but they took it way farther than I was expecting from SNL. I don't remember the last time I actually laughed out loud for SNL. Dick in a Box, maybe? Once every ten years sounds about right. But thanks to the Internets we can all watch Phil Hartman in the Brocktoon sketch whenever we want.
posted by stopgap at 12:06 AM on May 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


A Fan's Notes
posted by chavenet at 1:23 AM on May 25, 2016


Ceiling fans always bug me out a bit and this is exactly why.
posted by bendy at 2:05 AM on May 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


That was funny - Armisen had a little bit of a Martin Short craziness in his eye for a second and I thought, "Yes, Fred, yes, go to the Short side..." I kind of instinctively don't like Armisen but he often is way better than I expect. Like here.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:35 AM on May 25, 2016


Oh thank god people are telling me it's not funny. I might have wasted my time laughing at it.
posted by Etrigan at 3:24 AM on May 25, 2016 [12 favorites]


I'm looking for receipts, but in answer to the Armisen question: he has a reputation for cheating on, gaslighting, and manipulating the women he dated.
posted by pxe2000 at 3:30 AM on May 25, 2016


That sketch had a very nice setup for an unexpected laugh. And then, after the joke, it ended pretty quickly. It was only 3 minutes long. In the old days, they would have let it drag on.

Overall, I think SNL is as good now as it has ever been.
posted by notmtwain at 3:33 AM on May 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


now I want to know why Fred Armisen is creepy to some folks.

Probably because of this.
posted by waitingtoderail at 4:17 AM on May 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


Better, and way safer, to mock some ancient shibboleth than to engage with anything current . In the end, it was funny, ish, but wAaaay too easy.

This is also Portlandia in a nutshell.

Portlandia doesn't poke fun at current cultural trends? In my experience that program is one big poke at current cultural trends.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 5:08 AM on May 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


Lyn Never: There's a deep vein of jokes like this running through comedy history. Of course it's possible to somehow butcher the joke, but this sketch didn't do that, making me sanguine about the future of comedy.

That was better than the sketch. :)

Etrigan: Oh thank god people are telling me it's not funny. I might have wasted my time laughing at it.

People not finding it funny doesn't mean they're telling you not to find it funny.
posted by zarq at 5:43 AM on May 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


now I want to know why Fred Armisen is creepy to some folks

He fancies himself as an impersonator, and.... he's not particularly good at it. Most of his sketches and routines seem to skirt the line between "uncanny valley" and "overtly racist." His humor is derived entirely from making fun of others -- there's an unusual lack of self-deprecation or self-awareness present in his routines.

It's not terribly surprising to see many labeling Armisen as a sociopath, because that word also succinctly describes his approach to comedy.

Back in college, I was part of the committee that hired performers, organized concerts, events, and such. We got the opportunity to hire Fred Armisen for what seemed like a suspiciously small amount of money, and jumped at the opportunity to book an SNL cast member. Sometimes the stars align, and we managed to book talent on the cheap by filling an empty slot in their tour schedule between big cities. This looked like one of those cases.

We had money left over to hire a good opener (St. Vincent, who was talented, charming, and everything that Fred wasn't). The show sold out, and I think we even turned a profit on the show, which we weren't techincally allowed to do.

On his rider, Fred requested that an XBox, copy of Guitar Hero, and projector be present on or near the stage. As far as rider requests go, this wasn't particularly strange -- we figured it was for one of his gags.

Fred and his crew showed up at the scheduled time, and we didn't see them again until their call time (which isn't unusual, but was mildly unnerving; usually the talent will introduce themselves to the crew, and we'd have a short chat with the manager about logistics; this was the first time that I was actively concerned that a performer had straight-up gone AWOL).

His performance was ultimately forgettable. Not the worst comedian I've seen. Lots of costume changes; a lot of jokes that didn't land (a couple of which seemed particularly offensive); his impersonations fell flat the hardest, and I'm still not sure why he's known for them...

After about 25 minutes, he looked at his watch and says "Okay, so. That's all the material I have. However, you guys paid me to perform for 40 minutes, but didn't specify what I'd perform [audience nervously laughs]. So.... I'm gonna play Guitar Hero on this big screen behind me. There's...uh another controller somewhere up here I think if anybody wants to play against me. Good night!" [Fred unclips his lapel mic]

And then he played fucking Guitar Hero for 15 minutes. It wasn't the setup for a routine. He didn't crack jokes, or shout at the screen whenever he missed a note. It was some straight-up dadaist shit. In essence, he was telling the his fans who paid to see him to go fuck off.

Ever since, his humor has stood out as being exceptionally unfunny and mean-spirited. I can't watch Portlandia, because Armisen's presence is completely toxic to anything he stars in.
posted by schmod at 6:37 AM on May 25, 2016 [24 favorites]


Also, wow. I never realized just how much Pete Davidson looks like a young Fred Armisen.
posted by schmod at 6:38 AM on May 25, 2016


As usual, a Blue post about SNL is full of people congratulating themselves for having not watched SNL in years also complaining about how it's neither funny nor relevant.

How these folks who proudly ignore the show know whether it's funny or relevant is, apparently, magic.
Better, and way safer, to mock some ancient shibboleth than to engage with anything current
Q.E.D.

(All that said: yeah, it's pretty well established that Armisen is an asshole. Disappointing, but there are way too many stories about him to dismiss it as rumor.)
posted by uberchet at 7:16 AM on May 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


there are way too many stories about him to dismiss it as rumor.

Looks like those stories are from Elizabeth Moss (which makes sense but seem to be more about what a bad husband he is) and a Gawker post which ONLY cites a bunch of commenters on Brooklyn Vegan, which is filled with slanderous trash at all times.

I don't like this thing where anonymous comments about a public person are taken as fact without any evidence. I'm more than willing to give the benefit of the doubt to verified accusers, but I think this kind of shit is weak.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:26 AM on May 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


To be clear I was responding to the rumors about him being unpleasant to women, not being an asshole. I've interviewed him, and he is an asshole. Doesn't affect his work to me.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:28 AM on May 25, 2016


Well, if you need to know what ten-year olds think of it, I showed it to my kid at breakfast and she was still laughing her ass off when I dropped her off at school. I'm sure when I pick her up she's going to say "LOL AND THEN THE HEAD GOT RUN OVER BY A LAWN MOWER LOL HEY LET'S GO CLIMBING".
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 7:37 AM on May 25, 2016


As usual, a Blue post about SNL is full of people congratulating themselves for having not watched SNL in years

I didn't see anyone doing this.

...also complaining about how it's neither funny nor relevant.

Don't think SNL has a relevance problem. But I do think they have a problem with not being funny. Some of that is the show's format -- segments tend to run too long, so the cast tends to hit the same jokes in the same segments over and over. "The Californians" is a good example of this. After the same actors and actresses make the same faces and noises at the camera and the same traffic/freeway jokes for 7 minutes, it gets pretty stale. The digital shorts are usually concise and good. Some other segments hit. But personally I think most don't and there's nothing wrong with my saying so.

For years, some of the best segments on SNL have been those where the cast is corpsing and trying to cover. Horatio Sans was the king of cracking up his castmates. Will Ferrell and Chris Farley and Chris Rock and Eddie Murphy were great at it. Rachel Dratch's Debbie Downer segments were funny because of the cast's reactions. Bill Hader cracked himself up as Stefon. Armisen's sexy girlfriend sketch from this past weekend was made much better because the cast was losing it over his orgasm faces.

Of course, there's a loooong tradition of this in comedy. But for me, the contrast makes the show's less funny bits feel... well... less funny.
posted by zarq at 7:55 AM on May 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


> a reluctance to take on social issues of its own time

last week's Black Jeopardy with Drake addressed "what is black" in a pretty insightful way:

"Come on man, black people live all over the world, G. You can't just put us all in one category."

"Maybe so, Jared: I'm going to go ahead and let you tell that to our American po-lice."
posted by morganw at 8:04 AM on May 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


it was all worth it for the Guitar Hero story
posted by thelonius at 8:05 AM on May 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


As usual, a Blue post about SNL is full of people congratulating themselves for having not watched SNL in years also complaining about how it's neither funny nor relevant.

Actually, I watch it every week, because my husband loves it and it's something we can watch together. I've watched it pretty consistently since I was 16 - even when I didn't have a TV and watched recaps online. So mine is not an argument from ignorance. I find a lot of it disappointing, which is galling given the investment.

When I say they don't engage with anything current, it's not that I don't notice their presidential-campaign humor. What they don't do well is social satire; they rarely even try. There is so much going on in the world that's ripe for lampooning, and the writers just ignore those opportunities and stay within a very narrow track of self-replicating tropes. How many more sketches about some suburban couple having a disagreement? How many more dates-gone-wrong or couples-night-outs or awkward-evening-with-friends? How many more something-weird-happens-in-a-high-school classroom? How many more lame racial caricatures? The show's humor mainly refers back to television and to stereotypes about a white suburban culture I'm not sure even exists. It's not incisive. The writing is mediocre. What saves it, for me, are the performances of a talented cast that's good at delivery. I agree with zarq that the corpsing is the best part, even though that's supposedly frowned upon, because it's a sign that the cast is trying to rescue bad writing. I recently read a lengthy interview with Key & Peele where they talked about how much the design of their show was intended to get away from that.
posted by Miko at 8:11 AM on May 25, 2016


I laughed until I cried over this skit, maybe it is more a statement of my life than the quality of the piece. But, I do find it very contemporary commentary as all over the US, gay people, women, and the liberal arts are relentlessly steamrolled by the current money and war politic. I mean c'mon we just had a nice visit with Vietnam to foment unrest by offering them weapons for a war that isn't happening yet, to destabilize relations with our largest trading partner. The hypertensive, white haired mess, taking over the classroom, symbolizes a lot that is happening in the arena of right wing religio-politics and education. The symbolic slaughter of the student who dares to disagree, well, not so symbolic, as the teacher just says goodbye, this is as a lot of teachers have done in the last three years. Anyway, that is my five cents.
posted by Oyéah at 8:17 AM on May 25, 2016


And then he played fucking Guitar Hero for 15 minutes.

I remember something about Armisen and Guitar Hero from somewhere else -- was it Amy Poehler's book? He had this thing where he would play Guitar Hero with his friends, and purposely not do anything. He would intentionally bomb, and get the crowd enraged and all that, and everyone thought it was hilarious.

Or so the story went. I've never liked Armisen much, and am puzzled by people I really do like liking him a lot, like Tina and Amy and Maya. I keep giving him extra chances because... I must be missing something, right?

I'm not sure why I don't grok him. Sometimes he's just too meta, like this week's monologue on his SNL audition, a comedian making fun of the industry itself, and what do I know about that to know what's funny, and other times he's plainly mean, both to his subject and to the audience, and... yeah. He's too conscious of himself to be fully committed to the bit. It's not all an act with him. Or something.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:37 AM on May 25, 2016


I get the feeling from Armisen that he does comedy because he thinks you're stupid.
posted by Maaik at 8:39 AM on May 25, 2016 [6 favorites]


We got 13 comments in before someone griped that SNL isn't funny anymore. Well done, Mefites!
posted by foldedfish at 9:50 AM on May 25, 2016


I want to laugh at this, but honestly, the mainstreaming of gore has pretty much rendered it...I dunno...sort of like little children slowly singing nursery rhymes or movie trailers going portentous-portentous-portentous-HONNNK-portentous-portentous-portentous-HONNNK they way all the big dealio ones seem to do these days. Yeah, blood and gore—man, how unexpected in modern comedy...which is sad, because this could have been the setup for something/anything else.
posted by sonascope at 10:39 AM on May 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'm a Californian. I loved "The Californians," no matter how overplayed and ridiculous it was. (Because there were never any overplayed ridiculous skits in the good old Chevy Chase/Dan Aykroyd/John Belushi/Gilda Radner/Eddie Murphy days, were there?) I liked this short too. Sue me!
posted by blucevalo at 10:54 AM on May 25, 2016


(Because there were never any overplayed ridiculous skits in the good old Chevy Chase/Dan Aykroyd/John Belushi/Gilda Radner/Eddie Murphy days, were there?)

This is a reminder that the Killer Bees appeared eleven times in the first season of SNL, including on the first five shows, specifically because the network hated them.
posted by Etrigan at 11:01 AM on May 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


I had the feeling it referenced something other than Dead Poets too, but I couldn't put my finger on it."

Dawn of the Dead?

posted by rhizome at 11:18 AM on May 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


This is the issue with SNL - a reluctance to take on social issues of its own time.

I think it does and it doesn't. The news is more incisive than it's been on SNL in many years but the sketches seem to hit and miss. I think, though, that they always hit and missed. I think they just have a tougher row to hoe with an audience that has seen a lot more better comedy all the time than maybe they had in the nineties.

I watch it regularly and I enjoy it more weeks than not. They don't tackle the issues that I want to see them being more sophisticated about, but I have a really difficult time finding a lot of that in any "mainstreamish" comedy nowadays. I am a little nostalgic for the Tina Fey days and I've found this thread particularly reaffirming because I've always had this visceral dislike of Armisen, but not for any real reason, just hated his stuff. He's clearly a talented performer but there always seemed to be something wrong with him, some deadness in the things he found humor in that I always found unpalatable. schmod's comment was a real eye-opener to me.
posted by jessamyn at 12:30 PM on May 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


Okay, I laughed. Then I laughed again thinking about it before bed. Then I laughed again thinking about it before posting this comment. (And that new girlfriend sketch was hilarious.) Is Fred Armisen a douche? Probably. Color me unsurprised that a comedian/musician is shitty at romance. I don't have to date him to think he's funny.
posted by lovecrafty at 1:12 PM on May 25, 2016


We got 13 comments in before someone griped that SNL isn't funny anymore. Well done, Mefites!

What the hell does that mean? I'm allowed to think the show isn't very funny, even if other people disagree. Jeesh.
posted by teponaztli at 1:54 PM on May 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


I should add that I found this sketch to be mildly amusing, in spite of Armisen's presence in it.

For me, I think that it worked well, because the first half of it was a loving send-up to The Dead Poets' Society that was well-acted, had amazing-for-snl production values, was largely played straight (which sketch comedians rarely have the patience for), and snuck in a few well-timed jabs about the way that the arts are taught in schools -- exactly the sort of lightweight-yet-poignant social commentary that SNL should be good at, but rarely is.

It also worked, because Armisen was the straight-man, and had very few lines. In a typical Armisen sketch, I feel like we'd see him mocking the students, or presenting a meanspirited caricature of teachers.

On the other hand, the gore was excessive, and went on for way too long. (Another trope that SNL can't seem to shake)

A better version of this sketch would have cut to black immediately after the last student stood up on his desk.
posted by schmod at 1:58 PM on May 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


"On the other hand, the gore was excessive, and went on for way too long."

That's the joke though. It's like that Salad Days sketch from Monty Python.
posted by I-baLL at 3:25 PM on May 25, 2016


I watch SNL all the time. My boyfriend regularly bugs out at how much I laugh during any given episode, because I'm a dork who laughs a lot, even when the satire is just middling. I'm easy to please.

I just felt particularly disappointed with this sketch (it was gearing up to be an amusing if blunt-force send-up of this corny attitude about poetry), and then it ended with what I thought was kind of a cheap, post-Samburg attempt at gory anti-humor, which... yeah, I'd prefer straightforward jokes to an attempt to predictably irony out of a sketch, pretty much always. I mean, I thought it was going to be a solid though unremarkable piss-take, instead it was an unremarkable attempt at ironic gore, I'm just surprised people liked it so much.

Also, while we're talking about SNL folks we can't stand, Pete Davison drives me up the wall with his cat-who-ate-the-canary schtick.

maybe I just had some kind of helicopter aunt instinct when I saw the revolving blades

this was intentional right? please say yes


I initially changed it to avoid the pun before I hit post but then changed it back!
posted by stoneandstar at 3:38 PM on May 25, 2016


What the hell does that mean? I'm allowed to think the show isn't very funny, even if other people disagree. Jeesh.

Certainly you are. Of course, feeling that the show isn't very funny, and feeling that it is important to drop into a thread about how funny this sketch is to inform everybody that nope, it's not actually funny, they're wrong, also nothing's been funny for years ... that's kind of different.
posted by kafziel at 6:01 PM on May 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


Jessamyn and I have a standing SNL date every time a new episode airs. We both agreed that this was a good, B+ season.

I tend to like Armisen's schtick; that said, I lean toward the Kaufmanesque. Not saying that Armisen's on the same planet as Kaufman, but he does have the commitment to character, absurdity, or a bit, and he plays well off of anyone he's paired with. I also LOVED the miniseries he produced with Bill Hader, Documentary Now!, which mockumentarized some of the classics of the genre (and was hosted by Helen Mirren!). And I like Portlandia for many reasons, Fred being one of them (and the episode with Jello Biafra waking up from a coma in a world of Yuppies -- of which Kim Gordon was one -- was hilarious).

Jess tends to dislike Fred, and we both are kinda anti-Kirsten-Wiig, so the fact that we did not see a Garth and Kat desk piece during this episode was very fortunate. But I loved this sketch, and thought the episode as a whole was adequate. (The Bernie/Hilary dance at the beginning, I've loved that trope ever since Gilda and Steve Martin broke the mold.)

All this said, yeah, I have heard he's a dick. Didn't hear about his having a big dick, but wevs. A lot of comedians, it turns out, have personal issues, a lot of which present as asshole behavior. That's also what makes comedians funny, sometimes: they exhibit some behavior in a way that holds a distorted circus mirror to everyday social conventions we take for granted. And I think Fred does a good job of that. So he's an asshole. So was Bill Hicks and Richard Pryor and your favorite comedian.
posted by not_on_display at 10:35 PM on May 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


I dig his art, but he tends to break a lot.
posted by rhizome at 10:42 PM on May 25, 2016


lot of comedians, it turns out, have personal issues, a lot of which present as asshole behavior

I do not know anything about Armisen, but the "coked up and drunk all the time" phase is also common in the business, it seems. That doesn't help your social relations much.
posted by thelonius at 2:20 AM on May 26, 2016


Not saying that Armisen's on the same planet as Kaufman, but he does have the commitment to character, absurdity, or a bit, and he plays well off of anyone he's paired with.
Spot on, I think. Some of my favorite bits in the last several years of SNL were his. Some of my favorite bits ever on SNL have come deep in the last half hour, where they put the weird stuff, and he's been a big part of that.

Pairings for him were huge, too. He did a recurring thing with Will Forte where they'd go on Update as a buttoned-up pair of experts about some arcane issue, and then "explain" it by singing a nonsensical, wordless song, and it always killed me. The variously-stereotyped gay couples with Bill Hader were broad, but I laughed every time mostly out of their commitment to the bit. And anything he did with Maya was always a win for me.

All that said, in retrospect I think my favorite bit of his was Nicholas Fehn, the "political comedian" who'd go on Update with a stack of newspapers and talk a blue streak without ever actually completing a sentence. (Yeah, my wife doesn't understand why that sends me into hysterical laughter, either. I might be alone on that one.)

(Oh, and HOLY CRAP his crowning achievement must be as Brutus the talking monkey on the Jonah Hill episode.)
posted by uberchet at 7:26 AM on May 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


All that said, in retrospect I think my favorite bit of his was Nicholas Fehn, the "political comedian" who'd go on Update with a stack of newspapers and talk a blue streak without ever actually completing a sentence.

You and I can never be friends, uberchet.
posted by Etrigan at 7:35 AM on May 26, 2016


feeling that it is important to drop into a thread about how funny this sketch is to inform everybody that nope, it's not actually funny, they're wrong, also nothing's been funny for years ... that's kind of different.

OK, but I didn't do that, I said I thought it was hilarious. I thought the episode was a nice departure from a show that's had a really hard time keeping my attention in recent years.

Jeesh.
posted by teponaztli at 8:36 AM on May 26, 2016


in retrospect I think my favorite bit of his was Nicholas Fehn, the "political comedian"

Me too! It was, of course, the best seeing it the first time. That kind of jabbering is common enough in real life that I didn't even get what the joke was until 30 seconds in.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 10:33 AM on May 26, 2016


...which was an update of Molly Shannon's Jeanie Darcy. :)
posted by rhizome at 1:58 PM on May 26, 2016


> All that said, in retrospect I think my favorite bit of his was Nicholas Fehn,
> the "political comedian" who'd go on Update with a stack of newspapers
> and talk a blue streak without ever actually completing a sentence.

You and I can never be friends, uberchet.


You know, okay, take this particular MetaFilter "thread" [airquotes] if I had a penny... no, a nickel, for anytime I ever heard.. even thought... Let me put it this way: if you had an elephant standing next to uberchet -- no, SITTING next to uberchet, and they were playing cards. Just do the math. I mean, the nerve of... the unmitigated gall of the 1%'ers. 2%ers as well... well, let's take ALL of the percentages into account. Or, to pull back further, ALL of the math... it's all biased, am I right?


Nicholas Fein was one of my favorite deskpiece non-standup comedians -- Alongside Kyle's current, excruciatingly wincingly bad stand-up comedian. I think he and Kyle have a lot in common. Except I'd agree with Jessamyn in, while Kyle and Fred can be lumped in together clumsily, that Kyle's characters in general have a lot more real sould and humanity to them. Just as KcKinnon's have mour soul and humanity than Wiig's. Wiig could NEVER pull off a sketch like the debriefing of alien abuctees or the near-death experience sketches.
posted by not_on_display at 5:01 PM on May 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


Kyle is much more of a comedic actor, I can see him going in Steve Carell directions. Fred is a funny guy with a lot of personality. I would love to see a movie written by Fred in which he didn't appear.
posted by rhizome at 5:47 PM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


I also LOVED the miniseries he produced with Bill Hader, Documentary Now!, which mockumentarized some of the classics of the genre (and was hosted by Helen Mirren!).

Yessss. This was a pretty hilarious series, especially the first episode--the spoof of Grey Gardens--which Bill Hader 100% carried.
posted by lovecrafty at 6:12 PM on May 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


Just throwing this in here: It's always fun to see the sketches that were eventually cut for time.
posted by not_on_display at 10:15 PM on May 26, 2016


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