Elite Eight

Then there were eight.  We move into the Elite Eight, which boasts a diverse cocktail of performers from the 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s.  Jane Curtin, the only remaining female, continued her Cinderella story joining Dan Aykroyd as the only originals left.  Eddie Murphy, Will Ferrell and Chris Farley rolled, earning their one seeds.  Dana Carvey proved the most formidable two seed, navigating his way out of the Sweet sixteen.  And Jimmy Fallon delivered a shocking knockout punch to one seed John Belushi, to move on.

Don Pardo

(1) Eddie Murphy vs. (3) Dan Aykroyd

How apropos, the co-stars of Trading Places go mano-a-mano for a spot in the Final Four.  Both diaper dandies, Aykroyd started the show when he was only 23 years old, Eddie was only 19.   Each had an extensive catalog of material during their time on the show.  Eric Idle, of Monty Python, professed that Aykrod’s acute ability for characters made him the only SNL member capable of being a Python.  Eddie Murphy became the only cast member to host the show while still a regular, he even opened the show with, “Live from New York, It’s the Eddie Murphy Show” (which was not far from the truth).  Aykroyd, my favorite member of the original cast, has his hands full with Eddie.  I love the Festrunk brother, “two wild and crazy guys”, the Blues Brothers worked well as a sketch and on the big screen, and his knack for impressions cannot be ignored.  Eddie was on another level though, Eddie had a weak cast around him but it couldn’t slow him down.  He churned out some of the most memorable sketches the show ever produced, and had no one to lean on, no one to play off ; he carried the show in every sense of the word.  Eddie punches his ticket to the Final Four.

ADVANCE: Eddie Murphy    

Swan Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jH9sAENQNV8

Rockefeller Center

(1) Will Ferrell vs. (2) Dana Carvey

This is the toughest call of the tournament so far.  I have been watching youtube, hulu and any other clips I can find on the internet of the two for the past hour now and still no clear answer has appeared.  So let’s flesh is out.  These guys command so many laughs and have the innate ability to take over sketches, I am throwing out any sketch where they share the load with another cast member, take out Waynes World, Hans and Frans, the Music teachers and the Chearleaders.  Round one, political impressions; it must be stated that Dana and Will own the two best presidential impressions in SNL history, coincidentally they happened to be father and son.  Dana’s skewed but eerily accurate George Bush, lines up against Will’s buffoonish, child-like Bush Jr. and I refuse to choose between the two.  Move to Dana’s eccentric Ross Perot versus Will’s manly dance party host, Janet Reno, just the absurdity of Janet Reno hosting a dance party gives that to Will.  Then you mix in Will’s, Inside the Actors Studio host, James Lipton and Dana’s abrasive John McLaughlin of the McLaughlin Group, and you have two targets not prime for comedy shows that became instant fan favorites, Dana takes that one.  Move over to sports, Will employs a loony Harry Caray and Dana shows off a super dry George F. Will, that one has to go to Will. Empty the bag with Dana’s Dennis Miller and Johnny Carson, Will counters with Neil Diamond and Robert Goulet, round one belongs to Will.  Round two, original characters, Will’s nude model or Dana’s Chruch Lady, round two, Dana.  Round three, signature sketch, Will brings his cowbell, Dana deploys his pepper mill.  This one goes to the cards; in a split decision, Will advances.

ADVANCE: Will Ferrell

Swan Song:  http://www.hulu.com/watch/19596/saturday-night-live-pepper-boy

The Killer Bees

(4) Jimmy Fallon vs. (11) Jane Curtin

Jimmy and Jane, our two lowest seeds alive, each can see the Final Four on the horizon, but only one can advance.  Jane looks to continue her improbable run, while Jimmy hopes to do what Kristen, Gilda and Bill couldn’t.  I would like to make a strong case for both but my fondness for Jane can only take her so far.  Jane just never took over sketches, she never asserted herself as a star.  Jimmy had no such problem; he could carry a sketch and rise above other cast members.  Not every game is a great game; the clock has struck midnight for Jane.

ADVANCE: Jimmy Fallon

Swan Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvBLw_rD3nk&feature=related

Studio 8H

(1) Chris Farley vs. (3) Phil Hartman

A somber matchup, that pits Chris Farley against Phil Hartman, both legendary performers who lost their lives much too soon.  While, Chris and Phil were both fan favorites, they were equally revered by their cast mates.  In a cast that featured Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, David Spade and Norm Macdonald, they all conceded that Chris was the funniest.  Adam Sandler nicknamed Phil, “the Glue”, Lorne Michaels explained, “He gave to everybody and demanded very little.”  Aside from being good guys they both were wickedly funny and talented.  Phil had the natural ability to play anything.  He performed a strong Clinton, Sinatra and Phil Donohue, which became his signature impressions.  He didn’t skimp on characters either, the Caveman Lawyer and Frankenstein demonstrated some oddball alter egos.  Many overlooked Hartman’s talents but his capacity to play in ensembles and perform concrete bit parts should not go unnoticed.  Chris, far from an impression guy, though he did have a fe,w and not heavy on recurring characters either, he had Matt Foley, the motivational speaker, still found plenty of camera time.  Farely possess some of the most popular sketches in the history of the show, El nino, Chippendales and the Japanese Game Show, just to name a few.  Farley captures this one with his unbridled enthusiasm and his thirst for laughs.

ADVANCE: Chris Farley

Swan Song:   http://www.hulu.com/watch/4169/saturday-night-live-clinton-at-mcdonalds (how omniscient are the first lines in this sketch)


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