Sunday, May 9, 2010

What We Watched This Week - May 9, 2010

Betty White-fever was in full effect this week with NBC throwing everything it could behind her SNL hosting gig, from an interview with Meredith Viera on the Today Show, to those solid promos with Kristen Wiig, to a beer pong game with Jimmy Fallon. More on the actual SNL episode later, but first there were actually some other funny things on the internet this week.


The beginning of the week was still somewhat dominated by the aftermath and analysis of Conan O'Brien's 60 Minutes interview. Somebody had to take the awkward footage of Conan trying his best not to breach his contract and disparage Jay Leno and do something funny with it. This video (via Funny or Die) struck the perfect tone, letting the interview play out as is, with Conan's "inner monologue" appearing below as subtitles.




While Justin Bieber has attempted some intentional comedy in the past, the funniest moment of his short career occurred this past week when a reporter from New Zealand asked him if "bieber" means "basketball" in German. Not only did Justin not know the answer to that question, he had no idea what the reporter meant by "German." Seriously?





Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert spent most of the week focused on the failed Times Square car bomb attempt. The best segments came at the beginning of the week with Stewart presenting the "West Side Story Oil Spill Parody Songbook" and Colbert declaring "We Are All Times Squarians."


As a part of their season finale, Tim and Eric delivered a clip so perfect for the web that it was instantly picked up by comedy blogs from all over. The pure absurdity of Paul Rudd gleefully engaging with a computer that only produces variations of dancing Paul Rudds could only come from the minds of Tim and Eric (and could only feature Paul Rudd).





NPR made a very conscious attempt at viral video fame this week with their take on Lady Gaga's "Telephone." While there is no doubt something compelling about typically stodgy NPR hosts speaking Gaga's lyrics while people (who appear to be their interns) dance in the hallways, it didn't quite reach the level of Christopher Walken doing something similar more than 6 months ago.


Will Ferrell on the other hand managed to produce something unique on Wednesday night by taking the pitcher's mound at a minor league baseball game as Billy Ray "Rojo" Johnson, a mustachioed over-the-hill player with anger management issues. It was a typically brilliant comic performance, done for the benefit of the small Texas crowd at the game and subsquently the massive online audience who watched the next day. Whether Ferrell was trying out a new character for yet another sports comedy or just experimenting for the sake of it, it was fun to watch.





After a strong showing from NBC's Thursday night comedies, particularly Community's epic paintball episode, Saturday night arrived along with Betty White and every woman cast member from the last 10 years of Saturday Night Live. Last night's SNL celebrated Mother's Day by celebrating the funny women of the modern SNL era. It may not have been as exciting as seeing the presidential impersonators of the last 35 years together in one sketch, but there was definitely something special about all of these women coming together to assist Betty White with her SNL debut, something she had admitted to being "scared to death" about. While there were a lot of great throwback sketches last night, the show is exemplified by the digital short that NBC has yet to put online (most likely due to rights issues for the Golden Girls theme song). The Facebook generation may have dragged Betty White into the 21st century, but now we know she's right there with them.




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