Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Emmy Episodes: Saturday Night Live

It’s always my policy to watch every Emmy-nominated episode each year, which leads me to sample a handful of shows that I don’t tune in to on a regular basis. This year, I’m making a special effort to spotlight each of those installments to offer my perspective on shows that I don’t review each week.

Saturday Night Live: Season 41, Episode 12 “Larry David / The 1975” (B+)
Nominated for Best Guest Actor in a Comedy Series (Larry David)

When I started watching Tracy Morgan’s episode, it opened with Larry David doing a spot-on impression of Bernie Sanders to thunderous applause, and I thought that it was his episode. Instead, he returned a few weeks later to host, and his opening speech is really pretty hilarious. He’s so fantastically dry, talking about how he’s not a host but more of a guest, living in a dipless house and not wanting to raise expectations. One of the greatest pleasures in life, he says, is leaving wherever he is. That ability to be disliked has worked well for him in the past, and it’s what makes his “Bern Your Enthusiasm” bit superb. The real Bernie appearing with David and doing a great impression of his “pretty, pretty, pretty” shtick was amazing, and it’s exactly that kind of thing that won Tina Fey an Emmy when she played Sarah Palin back in 2008. He doesn’t do much the rest of the episode but does end strong in a humorous over-the-top physical scene with Kate McKinnon. David has contended for over twenty Emmys since earning his first bids for writing “Seinfeld” twenty-five years ago. He has been nominated five times for acting, all for “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” so it’s a new thing for him to be contending for a guest gig like this. I think election season and his impeccable resemblance to Bernie gives him an edge, and he has a really great shot at winning an Emmy for the first time since his big year in 1993 when he wrote the episode “The Contest” and shared the Best Comedy Series trophy for producing “Seinfeld.”

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