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Caryn James

Touching Kids' Chorus, F-Bombing Sam Jackson, McCartney And A Llama: SNL's Great Christmas

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 16, 2012 8:36 AM
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Just as it did when the show returned after 9-11, Saturday Night Live found a way to eloquently acknowledge a tragedy and move on to comedy. In the eerie but appropriate cold open, the New York City Children’s Chorus sang “Silent Night,” with the line “sleep in heavenly peace” a piercing tribute to the children lost in the Newtown shooting. But after a brief black screen, followed by the kids saying, “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night,” the show’s Christmas episode turned out to be one of the best – if most retro -- of the season, with Martin Short as host and Paul McCartney as musical guest.

Anne Hathaway and SNL Do Homeland

  • By Caryn James
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  • November 11, 2012 11:17 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Someone at SNL really likes Homeland (don’t we all?) Last week, in their hurricane press-conference sketch, Mayor Michael Bloomberg explained to Spanish-speaking New Yorkers that white people were cranky because they were missing Homeland. This week, Anne Hathaway was at the center of a sketch that perfectly captured the actors’ quirks, with Hathaway recreating Claire Danes’ constantly quivering chin and Taram Killam capturing Damian Lewis’ teeny tiny mouth. And when you think about it, as Saul (Bill Hader) says about Carrie, why wouldn’t you trust a CIA agent who swills wine while popping pills, and is sexually obsessed with her source?

Mike Bloomberg, Chris Christie and Some Jersey Hand Gestures (SNL Video)

  • By Caryn James
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  • November 4, 2012 11:16 AM
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  • 1 Comment
I wonder how this will play outside New York and New Jersey, but if you’ve been watching Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s press briefings you know that his sign language interpreter has become a minor celebrity. SNL’s cold open did a brilliant take on Bloomberg and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, along with their interpreters, at press conferences.

Daniel Day-Who? Louis C.K. Does Lincoln

  • By Caryn James
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  • November 4, 2012 10:17 AM
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What if Louis C.K. had been cast in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln instead of Daniel Day-Lewis? Or, as SNL had it, what if the character of Lincoln merged with the character from his television series Louie -- stand-up comic, acerbic observer of life, and in this case emancipator of slaves and preserver of the union?

SNL: Jay Pharoah Takes On Obama, But Sudeikis' Romney Steals the Scene (Video)

  • By Caryn James
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  • September 16, 2012 9:49 AM
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The best SNL political impersonations capture some essential truth about that person’s character, hilariously exaggerated: Darrell Hammond’s gleeful,hound dog Clinton, Will Ferrell’s squinty-eyed doofus W. spouting words like “strategery.” Fred Armisen’s Obama never managed that, and so this season he literally handed the role off to Jay Pharoah. In the opening sketch, Armisen’s character introduced the president with “Wouldn’t want his job, right?” – an edgy reference to being replaced but probably better than ignoring it. And Pharoah’s Obama? So far, a little skimpy, but he seems to be shaping up as a guy who may be too cool for his own good, saying “I’m not worried. I should be,” which at least makes him a caricature with a point rather than an bland impression.

Will Ferrell And Jason Sudeikis Give Us the Secret George W. and Biden

  • By Caryn James
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  • May 13, 2012 12:49 PM
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It would take a lot more than a Will Ferrell impression to make me want George W. Bush to return for real, but Ferrell’s always hilarious fake-Bush was the highlight of last night’s SNL. In the cold open, President Obama (Fred Armisen, as usual) entered the bedroom of the Vice President, decorated in pure high-school-kid style. Jason Sudeikis was especially funny as a petulant Joe Biden, annoyed that he got no credit for pushing Obama’s gay marriage endorsement over the line. Obama left him with twenty bucks for pizza, wary about Biden’s imaginary friend George – then guess who steps out of the bedroom closet?

"You Gotcha!": Andy Samberg Plays Sarah Palin (Video)

  • By Caryn James
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  • March 11, 2012 11:12 AM
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  • 0 Comments
There are Sarah Palin impersonations eerily close to reality: Tina Fey’s instant-classic comic version, and Julianne Moore’s dramatic one in the current HBO film Game Change. Then there’s Andy Samberg’s Sarah, unveiled on SNL.

Best Housewives Yet: Real Housewives of Disney (Video)

  • By Caryn James
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  • March 4, 2012 12:17 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Lindsay Lohan hosted SNL last night and the less said about that the better. Was Lorne Michaels trying to do her a favor? Or latch onto tabloid hype? Either way, it felt like punishment for us, with a couple of exceptions. Jon Hamm showed up in a couple of great short cameos: one as the back-up host sitting in the audience; another pretending to be in love with Snooki, played by Bobby Moynihan on Weekend Update.

Jean Dujardin Drops By; Watch SNL's Charming Homage to The Artist

  • By Caryn James
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  • February 12, 2012 1:30 AM
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  • 4 Comments
OK, I surrender – if not to The Artist, to the charming, exuberant SNL dance sketch and Artist tribute starring Jean Dujardin himself.

Newt Gingrich, Moon President: "May Divorce Be With You." (SNL Video)

  • By Caryn James
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  • February 5, 2012 9:35 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Last night’s SNL started off with the best sketch of the show: Newt Gingrich, President of the Moon, with cameos by Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, Calista and a Reaganesque robot. (Everyone except host Channing Tatum.)

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