Russell Brand put his most charmingly obnoxious foot forward on last weekend’s episode of "Saturday Night Live," doing his damnedest to impress and to blot out the fact that the musical guest was none other than famed Rihanna-beater Chris Brown.
We’ll get to SNL’s atrocious lack of heart in their musical guest selection for the Valentine’s Day episode in a bit, but first let’s focus on the good. The pressure-cooker of rib-cracking awkwardness that was the O’Reilly/Obama Super Bowl interview for the cold-open spoof reenactment:
Russell Brand’s monologue was a well-received bit that seemed to have run longer than any other in the show’s history. He compared his fame in America to that of his British homeland, employed an American accent (very odd), discussed his marriage to Katy Perry and more:
Playing an ordinary American joe who’d won a six-week vacation from a Travel Channel host (Kristen Wiig) in "Vacation Giveaway," Brand managed an American accent as he ho-hummed his way through Wiig’s maniacal enthusiasm. Why have this as a recurring sketch, when the joke stops at square one? Your guess is as good as mine. Whatever the case, we’ll skip the clip, because if you’ve seen it once you’ve seen it… enough.
Three cheers to Bill Hader for his insane facial contortions & tough-guy passion in the British Movie skit ‘Don’ You Go Rounin’ Roun to Re Ro’. It’s a can’t-miss British film, if you like movies you can’t understand:
Weekend Update was interesting this week for two reasons: Fred Armisen’s Mubarak impersonation got in some powerfully cutting jabs against American influence in the region, and Lil Wayne/Eminem collaboration was downright awesome. Jay Pharoah’s Weezy impersonation was a mess, but Taran Killam’s Eminem impression was so fantastically barky that we’re sure to see it again:
"Livin’ Single"’s super single host Dina DeAngelos got a little too sexually friendly with her guest (Brand) much to the dismay of her friend and not-so-secret admirer, DJ Terry. The results aren’t too far from their "Miley Show" spoof (which we’re sure to see when Miley hosts at March’s onset).
On skippable entry was “A Spot of Tea,” with Brand, Hader, and Andy Samberg in old-lady drag, using falsetto voices as they attempt teatime on a faultline. Another, the "Royal Taster" bit was terribly obnoxious, featuring Brand as a volatile royal highness with a very cruel streak. Unfortunately, it was nearly totally humorless.
The Spider-Man Lawsuit law firm of Gublin and Green was great, offering to represent anyone injured watching or acting in the disastrous Spider-Man stage production on Broadway:
In another fit of subversive political goofery, George Washington arrives in modern times thanks to a time machine, and Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner don’t waste any time in attacking and killing the confused father of our nation (could’ve gone a little heavier on the Boehner orange makeup, though):
That brings us to the main event, the fecal stain on showbiz that proves once and for all that the star machine is not to be messed with. Chris Brown, musical guest and woman-beater extraordinaire, sang "No BS" and "Yeah 3x" on the SNL stage, a decision that likely came down to Lorne Michaels’ ratings greed.
The distaste on Brand’s face was obvious as he introduced Brown’s second performance:
The feeling wasn’t helped by Brown’s "romantic bad boy" impression, dropping the following lines right out of the gate: "How my ladies doin’ tonight? 3 in the morning, you know that I’m horny…." Right. Because at 3 in the morning, there’s nothing any sane girl on Earth would rather do than to be near Mr. Beatdown with an erection. Brown was shunned at the closing credits, having brought his entire crew onstage as an insulator between himself and the rest of the cast. Was it a random coincidence that for the first time, possibly ever, the entire cast was out of camera shot in the closing goodbyes? I think not.
Brand will forever hold a place of respect in my heart for the look on his face when thanking Brown at the show’s conclusion, surmising all the grin-and-bear-it he possibly could, transparently loathing the fact that he has to give lip service to one of the most sickening, undeserved comeback stories in showbiz history.
Why is it too much for this lifetime SNL fan to enthusiastically play party to Brown’s revival? Why can’t I turn the other cheek and enjoy entertainment for entertainment’s sake? There’s one reason: I don’t have the memory of a goldfish. I remember what his fists did to Rihanna’s face on the way to the Grammys exactly two years ago, and some things should never, ever be chalked up to "forgive & forget". Not for entertainment’s sake. Not for any sake.
Let’s recap that very recent day in 2009, for those a little short on memory:
“Rihanna is pictured with large welts above each of her eyebrows, marks on both of her cheeks and a split lip. The most graphic photo is a close-up; her left eye bloodied and bruised, with four lesions on her face and multiple cuts on her bottom lip,” Radar informs.
“A ruler is being held up which shows the reddish swelling to span two inches – from the bottom of her eye almost all the way down to her mouth. In another image, Rihanna is shown pulling her busted lips apart to show numerous lacerations on the inside of her mouth,” says the same 2009 report.
For the producers of "Saturday Night Live" to promote such a disgrace of a man, for any purpose whatsoever, is a massive, wretchedly ugly stain on the long-running series. Condolences to Russell Brand for having to share the bill with such an undeserving individual.