Revisiting Jenny Slate

Hey, remember Jenny Slate?  From Saturday Night Live?  Most famous for dropping an F-bomb in one of her first sketches?  Unfortunately, she didn’t get to do much else during her short tenure on the show.

It’s too bad that she didn’t get much of a shot.  She’s funny and charming, and I was excited to watch her on the show after seeing a bunch of the videos she made with Gabe Liedman before being added to the cast.

Well, she appears to be doing quite well post-SNL.  She co-wrote the adorably hilarious (hilariously adorable?) short film “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” (and voiced Marcel), which got some ink in Entertainment Weekly.

And now she’s making more videos with Gabe Liedman!  Here’s the first of their “Bestie x Bestie” series, of which there are currently three, all well worth watching.

I’ve long been of a defender of Abby Elliott, but even I must admit that if SNL only had enough space for one of them, Ms. Slate deserved the paycheck.

[Bestie x Bestie videos via a ton of sites, notably Videogum and Best Week Ever]

I’ve abandoned my child!

I’m not sure who is responsible for the video below (Tomfoolery Pictures, I suppose?) or who is currently popularizing it on the internet (I was introduced to it by a tweet from Slate), but it has absolutely made my day.

Genius. I’m not sure I would actually want to play the game if it were real; I’ve never been a fan of side-scolling platformers that require precision jumping. But it certainly makes me want to go watch the movie again. It also reminds me of this sort of stupid but still hilarious SNL sketch that is just delightfully evocative of late-2007.

Music Video Monday

Note to self: don’t try to do these entries when you’ve just finished sorting through your day’s worth of Google Reader and have like thirty tabs open and tons of stuff running on your computer.  It makes YouTube videos take FOR-EV-VER to load.

Janelle Monae – “Cold War”

I mentioned in a different post that I heard a whole lot about Janelle Monae before I actually heard anything by Janelle Monae.  Johanna only recently bought this album, and I’m still trying to form my opinions.  But I like this song quite a bit, more than I did her previous single, “Tightrope.”

That said, this sounds A LOT like “Going On” by Gnarls Barkley.  Like, tons.

And, while obviously very different in tone, the video reminds me quite a bit of the famous D’Angelo video for “Untitled (How Does It Feel)”.  I would post that video here, but EMI has disabled embedding.  It’s absence has nothing to do with my comfort level with my own sexuality.

Duck Sauce – “Barbra Streisand”

This has been all over the place lately, but it’s a fun watch/listen, so I figured I would pay it forward.  It sparks a bit of a philosophical battle in my brain, as I’m always both attracted to and repulsed by masturbatory NYC lovefests like this.

Picture 4

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I’m actually excited about streaming something on Netflix!

Netflix Instant Queue

Don’t let the title of this post fool you.  It’s not that I’ve never enjoyed streaming something through Netflix; that’s a feature I use regularly.  It’s just that it seems like nothing I’m ever really, really excited about watching is available.  I always decide I want to kill some time by streaming something and then struggle to find something worth watching, as opposed to deciding what I want to watch and then being pleasantly surprised by its instant availability.

That changed today with NBC Universal’s announcement that they’re going to allow Netflix to stream a ton of their content, including Battlestar Galactica, 30 Rock, The Office, Friday Night Lights, and, the kicker…

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Saturday Night Live Cast Members


Saturday Night Live is one of my favorite shows of all time, and has become sort of a weekly touchstone for me.  During the writers’ strike of 07-08, there were other shows that were better, but SNL is probably the one I missed the most.

I’m also of the (seemingly rare) opinion that it’s better than it’s ever been.  I think the recent decade was by far the strongest era for the show.  People love to talk about how it isn’t as good as it used to be, but I think this is just a case of selective memory.  It’s easy to talk about how great the original cast was or how hilarious the early nineties were when you are only remembering your seven or eight favorite sketches.  Go back and watch the full episodes sometime and let me know what you think.

So, a few caveats before we begin.  I have seen a lot of SNL, from every era, but I don’t claim to have seen, or to remember, every single sketch they’ve ever done.  I’m particularly weak in the mid-1980s.  Also, as I’ve said, the last decade has been my favorite, and it might seem like my list is weighted a little too much towards these cast members.  But that’s why I say these are my favorites, and not the best.  Lastly, this is not a complete list, but I tried to include any cast member who had any real impact on my enjoyment of the show over the years, for better or worse.  Apologies to Ellen Cleghorne, Jerry Minor, and Nora Dunn.  I remember all of you, but I don’t have much to say about you.

So, that said, let’s get started.  Here they are, my sixty favorite Saturday Night Live cast members of all time.

60) Molly Shannon (1995 – 2001)

Oh, late-90s SNL.  Other than Will Ferrell, it was all so terrible.  I always particularly disliked Molly Shannon.  All of her characters were sort of the same, and she didn’t seem talented so much as loud.

59) Victoria Jackson (1986 – 1992)

I thought I remembered hearing something about how Victoria Jackson was a crazy person now, and a quick trip to her Wikipedia page revealed that she’s a Tea Partier.  Like a go on Fox News and say Obama is aspiring to be Fidel Castro Tea Partier.  Here’s another illuminating bit of information from Wikipedia: “Raised by devout Christian parents in a home without a television, she was trained in gymnastics by her father from ages 5 to 18.”  Hmm.

Anyway, I don’t remember anything she did being particularly funny, and her high-pitched voice is annoying.  Add that to “crazy” and she winds up at number 59.

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Television, 2000-2009

This has been a great decade for television, so much so that the list of my favorite shows of the decade pretty much doubles as the list of my favorite shows of all time.  Other than Seinfeld and the nineties-era Simpsons, I’m struggling to think of a pre-2000 show that would make the cut.  It’s amazing how far television has come as a medium over the past ten years.  Anyway, here they are, not the best, necessarily, but my favorite shows, 2000-2009 (clips when available and appropriate):

30) Sealab 2021 (Adult Swim, 2000-2005)

A bizarre show for a bizarre decade.

(I couldn’t get the embed code from Adult Swim to work for my favorite clip for some reason, so here’s the link. If I can figure it out, I’ll fix it.)

29) Extras (HBO, 2005-2007)

It’s not The Office, obviously, and parts of the series finale were painfully earnest.  But Ricky Gervais (on television, at least) is always worth my time, and about half of the guest stars were hilarious.

28) The “House” Series (Frontier, Colonial, etc.) (PBS, 2000-2006)

It’s almost always entertaining to watch the types of people who sign up for reality television on PBS.  For instance, Michelle Rossi-Vorhees, of Colonial House, is simultaneously attempting to recreate the life of a female pioneer in 1628 while staying true to her 21st-century ideas about feminism and atheism.  In doing so, she basically undoes the premise of the show, but it makes for great drama, and the PBS veneer allows viewers to pretend that it’s not just a higher-class Wife Swap.  Very sad that there hasn’t been a new installment since 2006.

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