Saturday Night Live: The Best of Chris Farley1998

Genre: Documentary, Comedy
Saturday Night Live: The Best of Dana Carvey The opening sequence of this video, a lively and hilarious parody of a contentious Ross Perot press conference, immediately makes one wonder whether the public, when recalling Perot's 1992 presidential campaign, remembers Perot himself or Dana Carvey's dead-on impression of the eccentric billionaire. From his position as a cast member on Saturday Night Live, Carvey became a national sensation because of his skill as an impressionist, and this video captures him at his best, doing his Perot, his President George Bush (with the trademark fractured syntax and oddly disconnected hand gestures), and a devastating Carsenio, a diabolical amalgam of Johnny Carson and Arsenio Hall. Besides the great impressions, The Best of Dana Carvey also offers sketches featuring the insufferably conceited weightlifters Hans and Franz, Wayne (Mike Myers) and Garth of "Wayne's World," and of course the Church Lady (who does her bizarre stiff-backed dance, rips into a mean drum solo, and makes her perennial sarcastic comment, "Isn't that special?"). Some sketches, such as one featuring the misbegotten character Massive Head Wound Harry, may make you wonder how it wound up on this tape, but for the most part this is very impressive collection of Carvey's best work. --Robert J. McNamara Saturday Night Live: The Best of Chris Farley The Best of Chris Farley blasts through 68 minutes of the wildly hilarious characters the comic actor created while with Saturday Night Live in the early 1990s. Farley was a comedic gem--not only because he created such bizarre, repulsively funny characters, such as Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker, or Lori Davis, cosmetics infomercial queen, but because he lived completely inside the character, delivering lines with whatever fury, stupidity, hypertension, insecurity, or femininity the situation demanded. Clearly, Farley loved making people laugh and he wasn't afraid to use his big bulk to do it, whether it entailed stripping as a Chippendale's dancer, belly flopping on coffee tables, rolling around on a couch as Tom Arnold, or punching his forehead in dismay on the "Chris Farley Show." What's great about this collection is all of those characters appear; what's disappointing is that some don't linger long enough, while others appear a bit too long. The cafeteria-lady number could've been cut short in lieu of a longer Tom Arnold segment, or Herlihy Boy could've been removed altogether in favor of complete "Chris Farley Show" segments. Still, if you forgot how side-splitting Farley's portrayal of Dom DeLuise or the French-fry-stuffing Gap girl was, this video will happily jog your memory. --Karen Karleski Saturday Night Live: The Best of Mike Myers From "Wayne's World" to the creepy hilarity of "Sprockets" and its slinky German host Dieter, this 16-sketch compilation showcases Mike Myers in his Saturday Night Live prime. Wayne Campbell and his sidekick Garth (Dana Carvey) are featured in two memorable sketches, jamming with Aerosmith and enjoying a sexy dream sequence with the babelicious Madonna. The Material Girl shows up again as the daughter of "Coffee Talk" hostess Linda Richman (who was inspired by Myers's mother-in-law) in a choice sketch with Roseanne, featuring a cameo by Barbra Streisand that is, as Linda would say, "like buttah." More obscure sketches show Myers at his most bizarre, charming, and experimental. "Lothar of the Hill People" challenged network censors with not-so-subtle allusions to masturbation and female genitalia, while Myers's penchant for all things British is frequently indulged, including spot-on send-ups of Ron Wood and Mick Jagger. His portrayal of a hypoglycemic, hyperactive 6-year-old--complete with safety helmet and restraining harness--is both outrageously funny and more than a little dangerous. (It's a miracle that guest host Nicole Kidman keeps a straight face as she feeds the "kid" a chocolate bar, with the expected results.) And while other sketches such as "Middle Aged Man" were not likely to follow Wayne and Dieter to big-screen success, they show Myers doing what he does best: conceiving original characters and pushing them to comedic extremes. --Jeff Shannon Saturday Night Live: The Best of Chris Rock Comedian Chris Rock spent several seasons on Saturday Night Live, and this compilation tape of his best moments showcases his considerable talents while unintentionally highlighting how uneven the show itself is. Even in a video selected to showcase Rock alone, he is all too often mired as the second or third banana in an SNL skit. But there are, thankfully, plenty of opportunities in this video for Rock to shine without being upstaged by other performers or left adrift by limp writing. When he appears behind the "Weekend Update" desk to deliver an editorial commentary or a news report, Rock puts his considerable skills as a comedian to perfect use. And in the skits where the focus is on him, he proves himself to be adept at characterizations, such as when he dons a colossal Afro wig to become radical talk show host Nat X, host of "The Dark Side." One peculiar surprise about the video: some of the language in the "Def Jam" parodies that was bleeped out for the broadcast of SNL is here presented uncensored, so while this is Chris Rock delivering perhaps his cleanest material, a few choice words are nonetheless delivered loud and clear. --Robert J. McNamara

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