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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > TV on DVD Reviews > Saturday Night Live - The Best of David Spade

 

Saturday Night Live

The Best of David Spade (MCA Home Video-2006)

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Copyright ©2006   PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: February 6, 2006.

David 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.

No 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.  

He’s 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.  

His 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.” 

As in 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… David Spade! 

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.

Ron Sklar

Copyright ©2006 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: February 6, 2006.