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04/02/2011: Elton John & Elton John w/Leon Russell

Stick Figure Night Live! is a series of stick figure comic “recreations” of episodes of Saturday Night Live. Just as the show itself is performed live, the comics are drawn “live” while watching the show (with the occasional assist from DVR or some digital clean-up post scanning).


Whenever there’s a significant hiatus of SNL you wonder what the time off might bring to the table in a new episode. And with any given episode, this was a hodgepodge.

Elton John was quite good as the host, I think, handling the live element very well, not seeming a slave to cue cards, and delivering a solid monologue that was an actual monologue instead of a skit or song or whatever else (and I realize I wrote adopted when it was a surrogacy…again, the perils of life stick figuring).

As a Will Forte fan I was bummed there wasn’t a lot applause for his appearance in the ESPN Classic sketch. I wonder, with a cast so large where some cast members barely appear, maybe people didn’t realize he was gone? After they announced the female shot putters and neither was played by Elton John, I wondered how he’d appear. Lo and behold, he didn’t. Instead, we got a surprise appearance by Tom Hanks who, in short order reminded everyone that he’s great on SNL and should get as much if not more props than the more recently anointed go-tos, Justin Timberlake and John Hamm.

The fact that he showed up in the following sketch AND the digital short further supports that.

With Will Forte, Tom Hanks, Jake Gyllenhal, and Carmello Anthony showing up, anyone else wonder why we didn’t get to see Horatio Sans show up and play Elton John in a sketch with Elton John?

Hey everyone, did you know Fred Armisen plays drums?!

There were more references to Spider-Man and the Spidey Musical than I’d have expected. I know a good handful of the cast and writers and comics fans, but I almost hoped maybe we’d see something (being topical and all) on the online ado about the new Wonder Woman TV costume.

On the flip side: not an appearance or mention of Charlie Sheen or Rebecca Black and “Friday”. Nice.

With an openly gay host and with SNL’s seemingly regular leaning on gay as a punchline, the last two sketches seemed inevitable. It’s a shame the biggest laughs from the live audience seem to come whenever two men kiss. A cowboy stranger, flamboyant or not, on a unicorn…that’s the bigger laugh. Right?