Improv, Comedy, Women, Melbourne and everything in between.
Miley Cyrus is good at marketing. She hasn’t “lost it” at all, she’s not on her way to a mental breakdown – if anything, her head is probably as clear as it has ever been. I don’t love or hate her for the same reason I don’t have an opinion on the Kardashians (please don’t make me watch their show, though) – they’re just marketing themselves and they’re damn good at it. If you don’t like what Miley Cyrus is doing, simply don’t draw attention to it and focus on the more important things in your life. It’s really not that difficult, and that way, you won’t be contributing to her YouTube views!
Say what you will about Cyrus (or don’t, because life goes on), but her SNL episode this week was one of the best for the series in a long time. Perhaps it was just a fortunate series of events. As it’s the second show of the season, the writers and performers are well-rested and ready to get back to the rigorous routine that is putting on a show every week. The SNL writers were fortunate what with all the easy controversy surrounding Miley Cyrus to parody, as well as the GOP’s shutdown of the US Government last week – there’s a lot of comedic juice in there, and it showed in the hilarious sketches.
The cold open about a post-apocalyptic America after the GOP shutdown and Miley’s performance at the VMA awards was far superior to the previous week’s lengthy cold open about Obamacare. Vanessa Bayer brought out her best impersonation of old-school Miley Cyrus to haunt the current Miley about the aftermath of her racy performance. The sketch was disarmingly self-aware, with Cyrus justifying her tongue antics by claiming they were the result of many tiny strokes.
The opening monologue from Cyrus didn’t disappoint either, with lines like this:
“I used to think twerking was cool, but now that white people are doing it, it seems kind of lame”
“Now, I don’t apologise for my VMA performance. If I should apologise to anybody, it’s the people who make the bottom-half of shirts”
“I’m not going to do Hannah Montana BUT I can give you an update on what she’s been up to: she was murdered.”
Following the opening monologue was a sketch about a Fifty Shades of Grey chemistry reading,with parodies of Seth Rogan, Emma Stone, Kristen Stewart, Christoph Waltz (easily one of Killam’s best impressions), and a parody of ‘We Can’t Stop’ and the GOP shutdown called ‘We Did Stop (the Government)’ which involved a hilarious Taran Killam as John Boehner and Cyrus as Michelle Bachmann. The sketch poked fun at the Republican party, sliced a play-dough elephant in half (to my fellow Aussies, the elephant is the symbol of the Republican party) which received a strong reaction from the audience. The disappointing cheerleader/alien abduction sketch reminded me of Fey’s parody of SNL sketches on 30 Rock in “TGS With Tracy Jordan” – which isn’t a good thing.
Vanessa Bayer was the MVP of the night. With her recurring character, ‘Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy’ on the Update desk, terrified by Cecily Strong’s arrival, it was one of the evening’s standout performances. She also does a spot on Mary-Louise Parker impression, and a hilarious Hannah Montana-era Cyrus.
The females of SNL haven’t been this strong since the likes of the Fey-Poehler-Rudolph-Wiig dynasty. Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Bayer, and Cecily Strong are sure to have a promising career post-SNL. Props to newcomer Noel Wells for her excellent impressions of Lena Dunham and Emma Stone. Taran Killam is also proving to be the go-to guy for Andy Samberg/Jason Sudeikis characters – and the dude is killin’ it right now.
I still miss Bill Hader (obviously, how can we not). However, Lorne Michaels has done a top job of casting, considering the impact of the loss of key players Hader, Jason Sudeikis, Fred Armisen, as well as Seth Meyer’s imminent departure for the Late Night desk in January – teaming him up with Cecily Strong was a smart choice.
All in all, SNL’s off to a strong start for a season that was overshadowed by doubt and skepticism with the loss of the major players. Whether you like Cyrus or not, her efforts at playing both host and musical guest were met with aplomb. Also, she covered up with an oversized basketball jersey in her renditions of We Can’t Stop and Wrecking Ball, which was a bit of a relief.