Charles Barkley *Sports Metaphor* on ‘SNL’

Senior Pop Culture Editor
01.09.12 12 Comments

Assuming you forget about the “Work It”-like segment, the one featuring a MAN dressed as a WOMAN (wacky!), the Charles Barkley-hosted episode of “SNL” was like an ugly, high-scoring game of basketball between two bad teams; it may not have looked pretty, and your expectations were low to begin with, but you were kept entertained throughout. (I feel like every website used a vaguely defined sports metaphor to highlight their appreciation or hatred of the episode, so there’s ours. BOOYAH.)

None of the sketches were top-to-bottom perfect, and some were complete duds (the aforementioned “Joann’s Announcement,” “Rick Santorum Cold Open,” “New Mayan Calendar”), but Barkley did a better-than-anticipated job (certainly better than the last time he hosted, in 2010) and there were some memorable lines in there. In that sense, it was a very Tumblr and Twitter-friendly episode (and the highest rated “SNL” since Jim Carrey hosted, due largely to its NFL lead-in). In another, though, I doubt we’ll look back fondly on this episode at season’s end.

Now grab my belly, make a wish, and watch the following clips.

So, yeah, Charles Barkley mumbled a lot, broke his lines frequently, and was clearly reading from cue cards, but that doesn’t mean his monologue wasn’t funny, at least to those who watched basketball in the 1990s. The Michael Jordon wedding slam was nasty and hilarious, and it’s been too long since Muggsy Bogues was mentioned on national TV. Also: Barkley, Bogues, and MJ were three of the six NBA players who played in the ToonSquad vs. Monstars game in Space Jam.

One more thing: from here on out, Kelly Clarkson will be referred to only as “Turkey Leg.”

Like the “NBA on TNT” itself, this sketch was supposed to be about the NBA, but discussed anything but the NBA. Kenan Thompson’s Barkley impression was spot-on, and Barkley’s tone-deafness worked to his credit when he impersonated Shaq (“I had to wear a baby hat once. When I was a baby.”) Bill Hader, as Ernie Johnson, stole the segment, though, with his seemingly off-the-cuff remark, “We’re all black friends.”

Kazaam > Blue Chips > Steel > Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home


/uses Benny Agbayani jersey as a tissue.

“Because I don’t not hate your voice, I think.” It’s a big hit in the Peter King home.

“For those of you at home, ‘awkward’ is a white people word that can be applied to every situation” was the line of the evening. It overshadowed everything else in the otherwise underwhelming “White People Problems,” including dodging the fact that after Jay Pharoah and Kenan appeared, the show didn’t have another black person to cut to. (The Wrap contends “SNL” “re-us[ed]” this segment from a Louis C.K. bit, but that seems a stretch.)

A great idea that should have gone further. I would have loved to have seen Ass Dan and some of the other Insane Clown Posse fans to have made a brief appearance. DJ Supersoaker even sounds like a porn name.

Who’s the more obnoxious, one-note recurring character: political satirist Nicholas Fehn or the wee Lord Wyndemere? I can’t choose; I hate them both so much.

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