Spade is the Saturday Night Live cast member who most closely
resembles the sensibilities of your college roommates and co-workers, only
he’s funnier. His All-American ordinariness actually broke the ensemble mold
with his sharp edge and cold heart, and now his best bits are preserved in
this sarcasm-drenched collection.
matter what character he plays – the Gap girl, Martha Stewart, Dick Clark’s
receptionist, even Tom Petty – he’s always David Spade, and we prefer it
that way. We don’t want him immersing himself in characterization, for that
would smother the sneer that we hold dear.
Though he was kept on a short leash during the run of the lukewarm sitcom
Just Shoot Me, we get the purer, more potent form of Spade during his
shorter-than-you-thought six-year run on SNL (1990-1996). When he
returned to host the show in 2005, he observed, “It’s nice to be back now
that the pupil has become the teacher.” In fact, he’s more “listenable” than
watchable -- his persona actually doesn’t seem to be an easy fit for sketch
comedy, and yet his mouth always wins you over.
at his most powerful when he’s left unchecked (“Spade in America” is an
insult-fest that feels good as long as it’s not aimed at you or at those you
love). His easy, breezy way with words (all the while carrying a powerful
undertow) is what earns him a DVD retropective and a registered – if not
heartfelt – respect.
sketches aren’t exactly Top Ten classics when considering the immense canon
of SNL offerings, but there are some gems here that deserve to be
buffed. For instance, he accepts an offer from Sean Penn to get a tattoo
(administered by Penn himself!). While choosing his selection, Spade states,
“I like it, but you know who has it already? Katie Couric. And we don’t want
to be twinsies!” While sitting through the painful procedure – and in order
to help the time pass – Spade asks Penn if he remembers where he was when he
heard that Wham! broke up. He even gets the rock
of an actor to smile.
Needless to say, the audio commentary (along with former SNL writer
Matt Piedmont) does not disappoint. While observing a sketch, Spade
comments, “This is very real. It cuts close to the bone.” During another
sketch, he admits, “This is the thinnest premise in history,” as if we
didn’t know. We also learn that Spade was inspired for the Gap Girls sketch
by overhearing an actual Gap girl in Arizona say to a co-worker, “You weren’t at the folding meeting.”
all of these SNL collections, there is added osmosis at no extra
charge: Phil Hartman playing everything from Jesus Christ to a PBS
fundraising announcer; Spade’s buddy Chris Farley imitating a child, a girl,
and an offended airline passenger. You’ll even get Teri Hatcher playing…
Spade’s false bravado of ad-lib actually comes as comfort, even when he is
portraying what he was built to portray (adolescents and assholes). It’s a
rare performer who acts remote but keeps our remotes from flipping and makes
us never want to say buh bye.
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Posted: February 6, 2006.