Sunday, December 18, 2005

Samberg busts out

Last night's SNL featured Jack Black and Neil Young, and while this go around by Jables wasn't nearly as mediocre as the last time two years ago, it was still below Jables' high comedy standard. His Santa Claus/Debbie Downer sketch was funny, as was his monologue song about King Kong.

What was more notable about this episode was the DV short "Chronic of Narnia" by new guy Andy Samberg (left) and vet Chris Parnell (right). While I'm usually loathe to praise Parnell, who has a great bunch of tools but has still not found his voice after lo these many seasons, I have to say that this was perhaps the funniest sketch he's ever had a hand in. He and Samberg bang out this gangsta rap about the most banal of afternoons, going out to Magnolia for cupcakes and then uptown to see "Narnia." The "hardness" they project was pitch perfect, to the point where they actually came off as sounding very Beastie, circa "Ill Communication."

I have to give a lot of credit to new fish Samberg, who up to this point has been a Kutcher-like cypher, mostly inert. This sketch, coupled with his hermaphroditic alien/"Enemy Mine" sendup later on, proved to me that he has some chops. Welcome to the party, kid.

Also notable - since he assumed "writing supervised by..." credit, you have not seen a whole lot of Seth Meyers, going back about six or seven episodes now. He is one of their most versatile males, a real counterpart for Amy Pohler. Two people I have been glad to do without these last few weeks, however, have been Horatio Sanz and the recently-partruated Maya Rudolph, two performers who overwhelm the show even in small doses.

And remaining on the chonically underused list: Wil Forte; Fred Armisen; and my man Bill Hader.