Just a quick note of some of the funnest content I consumed last month (in no particular order):
– I watched the 2010 MacGruber movie for the first time, in preparation for its belated TV-series-sequel. Based on a recurring Saturday Night Live sketch of the same name, this nostalgic parody of the old-timey action-adventure show MacGyver (1985–1992) stars Will Forte as an insanely-arrogant, military-grade a-hole, aided by a suicidally-submissive love-interest (Kristen Wiig), and far-more-sane-and-competent wingman (Ryan Phillippe). It has a pretty dire rating on the review-aggregate sites (48% at Rotten Tomatoes, and 43% at Metacritic), and didn’t manage to earn back its budget at the box-office, but I really enjoyed it, and would gladly watch it again (and again). The jokes don’t exactly come thick-and-fast, but they’re usually so bizarre/macabre that they hit a lot harder than a more light-hearted spoofing might. Fun fact: Multi-award-winning filmmaker Christopher Nolan is a “big fan”, and has said “there are a couple of moments in that film that had [me] howling uncontrollably.”” So there! For anyone who hasn’t seen the movie in a while (or at all), Peacock released a handy (NSFW) musical summary of the main characters/events, starring Maya Rudolph (as MacGruber’s deceased wife ‘Casey’!), which also serves as a prologue for the first ep.
– Napalm Records posted a “One-Take Singthrough” video of Ad Infinitum’s “Animals” by lead-singer Melissa Bonny, who (imho) is the dictionary definition of “star quality”.
– Renee Plaza appeared on The Drew Barrymore Show, as a front-row guest dishing on her celebrity sister, Aubrey Plaza (who is still doing the rounds promoting her children’s book “The Legend of the Christmas Witch”)… though weirdly she wasn’t included in the discussion of her elder-sibling’s recent impulse-marriage to writer/director Jeff Baena (tbf, the newlyweds had been “together” for over a decade already, so it’s not like she eloped with a total stranger!).
– Comedy Central’s A Clüsterfünke Christmas (2021) is a lovingly-crafted parody of Hallmark-style festive rom-coms, starring Vella Lovell as a cynical city-type stranded in a small backwoods town for the holidays, after being dispatched by her boss to try and buy a quaint family-run hotel from a pair of prematurely-aged sisters (Rachel Dratch and Ana Gasteyer, who also wrote the screenplay). Her requisite rustic hunk of a love-interest is played by Cheyenne Jackson… who I was simultaneously seeing as a sophisticated urbanite in American Horror Story: Hotel, causing me a little dissonance when I switched back and forth. Oh, and this TV-movie was directed by Anna Dokoza, who also helmed the first season of Three Busy Debras!
– I haven’t taken the slightest interest in Lana Del Rey before now, but a couple weeks back I heard her 2015 single “High By The Beach”, and my ears were hooked, without even knowing who the artist was! I’d also recommend watching the video, which builds to a pretty awesome/cathartic crescendo.
– Miku from Band-Maid shared a couple super-cute photos of herself cosplaying as a reindeer, possibly to promote the acoustic show that her band streamed (for pay) on Christmas Day, shortly before announcing their (hypothetical) 2022 American tour!
– Sarah Nixey released a dreamy cover of “Toyland” (from the 1903 operetta Babes In Toyland), with backing vocals and percussion provided by her children, for extra seasonal charm!
– I’ve skipped the last couple “Big Fat Quizzes”, due to fatigue/over-familiarity, but I did watch this year’s edition, largely for the reliably hilarious Sarah Millican. Her (equally “oblivious”) team-mate was Guz Khan, as they competed against Sara Pascoe & James Acaster, and Jonathan Ross & Judi Love. Despite checking various (reputable) news sites every day for the past couple years, I was still unable to answer most of the questions, and I doubt I would’ve even broken into double-digits by the end of it, if I’d been keeping score… but I had a good time, so I’m counting that as a “win” anyway!
– After “rediscovering” South Park recently, I was excited to see the 2007 Christmas Time compilation DVD appear (new/sealed) in a charity shop just before the holidays, and purchased it immediately. The disc contains seven seasonal eps from across the first eight seasons, including such classics as “Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo” (#1.9), “Merry Christmas Charlie Manson!” (#2.16), and “Woodland Critter Christmas” (#8.14). Apparently that was the last Christmas-themed episode until 2014’s “HappyHolograms” (#18.10), which aired a decade later! Not all of the eps made perfect sense divorced from their original seasons, especially where Kenny’s perilous existence was concerned, but overall it worked pretty well as a spirit-lifting pick-me-up.
– Kate McKinnon returned to Saturday Night Live after a seven-week absence, once again flexing her comedy muscles in such hilariously-odd sketches as “Lonely Christmas Ad” (link), “Santa Song” (link), and “Hotel Ad” (link), all of which co-starred a slightly-giggly Billie Eilish, who was the 2-for-1 host/musical-guest that week (ep #47.8). Meanwhile, I was also inspired to check out more of Ego Nwodim’s work, such as this surprisingly entertaining rundown of her “Night-time Skincare Routine” for Harper’s Bazaar, a “stir-crazy” rap video co-starring Pete Davidson, and an impression of “Dionne Warwick” as a clueless talk-show host!
– Sadly Paul Rudd’s historic fifth show as SNL host was scuttled by a Covid resurgence, but there were a few new (pre-recorded) sketches to enjoy, including a holiday-themed commercial shoot starring two aspiring grandmothers (McKinnon and Aidy Bryant) who kept going wildly off-script.
– Netflix Is A Joke released a gut-busting/brain-melting sequel to last year’s Holiday Film Written Entirely By Bots (aka “Carol’s Christmas Carol For Carol, A Woman Named Carol” (link))… tho if you check the video description, an actual person (Keaton Patti) is credited along with the “bots”, so I think it’s fair to say the short was “shaped” by human hands to some extent…? Nonetheless, when a horse is this gifty, you probably shouldn’t look it too hard in the mouth!