Sunday, June 1, 2008

Mouth Whoopie

Stayed in last night, did work and watched the beginning of Saturday Night Live, even though it’s the Shia LeBeouf-hosted one that just aired a few weeks ago. One of the first sketches was the one below, in which the host of a 70s game show called It’s a Match is found murdered and the C-list celebrity panelists respond to the detective’s question like they’re still on the show. It’s funny.

I liked this the first time I saw it, enough that I actually found it on Hulu and rewatched it, mostly to see Kristen Wiig’s facial expressions and try and figure out who Amy Poehler is supposed to be making fun of. But having watched it online so many times made me notice something about last night’s rebroadcast of it: It was different in at least two places. For one, Casey Wilson’s character’s response to the detective’s question about what she was doing last night at 2 p.m. has completely changed. In the online version (and possibly the version I first saw on TV), she says “I was eating pound cake, and crying on my waterbed.” In last night’s, she responds “Mouth whoopie.” In last night’s version, the sketch ends with the entire cast responding in unison “How dead is he?” to Shia LeBeouf’s character. Online, only Fred Armisen’s character gets that line.

I know enough about SNL to understand that each episode gets filmed twice: once for the version we see on TV and once for a longer rehearsal version that’s also performed for a studio audience. And I know that occasionally, sketches from the dress rehearsal version replace those from the original live broadcast or even subsequent reruns. That’s no mystery. What makes me feel weird about this difference is how it makes the live broadcast a little less special. It’s something that’s always appealed to me about SNL — the notion that everybody in at least one time zone all seeing the same live performance at the same time. But once little bits and pieces of that original broadcast get trimmed down or replaced altogether from with bits from another taping, it loses a bit of its pop. (The previous time I noticed something like this, it regarding the two different versions of the Drew Barrymore “Body Fusion” sketch — one with the end referencing The Ring, one not, but both seeming to be official NBC-sanctioned versions. But being a digital short, it didn’t bother me as much.)

Of course, the discrepancies in the “It’s a Match” sketch also leave me wondering whether it’s funnier to have a washed up actress eating pound cake and crying on a waterbed or referring to oral sex as “mouth whoopie.” Even though “pound cake” got less of a response from the studio audience, I think I’m more inclined to pick it. You know, because we’ve all been there.

EDIT: Okay, Correspondent Prancer informs me of who the It's a Match characters are parodying. Pam Sumpter is Brett Somers (who looked like this and who died in 2007). Steven Nielsen Perry seems like a Paul Lynde/Charles Nelson Reilly composite. (Lynde looked like this and died in 1982; Reilly looked like this and died in 2007.) Sarah Annette Boob is most likely Debralee Scott (who looked like this and died in 2005). Nancy Nan George is fairly obviously Marcia Wallace (who looks like this and who voices Mrs. Krabappel on The Simpsons.) Chipsey Boday is Nipsey Russel (who looked like this and died in 2005.) And Dirk Densten is Doug Henning (who looked like this and died in 2000.) Keep on keepin' on, Marcia Wallace!


  1. not "let's make a deal", they were doing "match game"

  2. As a former SNL junkie, I always had similar feelings about the dress rehearsals being aired on later dates. I was of two minds about it, really. Obviously, the first being that SNL live is something special. No matter how sucky the show might be that season, it's an institution almost. You know you're watching it as it's happening and, again, as a junkie, you're probably sitting back imagining all the cast getting into wigs and such as the commercial break comes on. Or perhaps that's just the geek in me.

    However, having many friends who had attended the dress rehearsals, I was always a bit jealous. Especially when they'd tell you that a sketch went over better during dress.

    Of course, the night this particular episode aired, we had nasty weather and our show was pre-empted by an hour or so, so it really is a moot point for this particular episode.

    Another great thing about SNL live is when the fantastic faux pas happen that become the talk of the media for weeks to come. I remember watching the Ashlee Simpson debacle and immediately jumping online to see what everyone was saying. Good times.

    Oh. And completely unrelated (and I realize I'm being especially verbose and apologize for that), a former co-worker of mine used to leave dirty complaints in the comment box where we worked. And everyone he signed as Charles Nelson Reilly.

    And there you have: your random, overdone blog comment of the day. :)