James Franco is an interesting guy. He does some truly weird things in the name of art and to follow his muse. He’s also, in what seems by total accident, a pretty funny guy when he’s in pretty funny moments. On the other hand, Saturday Night Live, well any sketch show really, has its ups and downs. For every sketch you tell your friends about, there’s ones you just plain forget because it didn’t stick with you. Most of season 40 of SNL has been like this, some moments you talk about, and some groans about others. It’s this exact reason it’s silly to romanticize specific eras of the show or declare one cast as better than the other. SNL works best when it’s commenting on politics and the buzz of the times. Because of this, a risk in one generation seems silly to the next. Keep saying “in my day,” and see where that gets ya grandpa.
Season 40 has been a microcosm of the last 40 years of SNL. Ups and downs between weeks and even between sketch to sketch. Franco turned in a fine performance for us all, when he had good material to work with, he was great, when he didn’t, it was painfully obvious. The writers turned in a solid episode last week and were hoping to return with Franco for his third go ’round of the show. Franco was down to play ball, brought his The Interview co-host and BFF Seth Rogen along for the ride and for the most part they were a lot of fun. While Nicki Minaj continues to make me question why she’s famous because, I still don’t get it.
Cold Open: Politics Nation
There are some giant news stories happening right now that SNL can very easily take to task. However, this open wasn’t one of them. This joke becomes nothing but Al Sharpton not being able to read a teleprompter. It garners some chuckles but lacked the political/commentary bite even something like the unfortunately cut-from-dress sketch possessed.
Here’s Franco’s chance to talk about his brother and promote his movie. As it turns out, it’s also his chance to talk about his recent Instagram indiscretions, invite co-star and pal Seth Rogen on stage and take naked pics, which is a trend of sorts. We might have a record for shortest monologue of the season as well.