I actually picked this title up several months ago on DVD, so I was already aware of how funny this disc is. For some reason, Saturday Night Live is one of those shows that nobody finds funny until several years later, at which time its charm is rediscovered. I’m sure this has to do with the fact that the reruns and compilations cut out the majority of the filler and leave only the best bits, but I am, still surprised that the shows gets such little notariety during their initial run. Regardless, I have always been a big fan of this show, as it is one of the finest examples of the power of pure acting talent. It is simply amazing to see the level of skill that these performers bring to the table when the pressure is on and the broadcast goes live.
For my money, Will Ferrell is one of the top SNL performers of all time. There are few comedic actors that have been able to place as many characters and phrases into the everyday lexicon as Ferrell. One of the most wonderful things about watching him perform is that it is often times clear when he has intentionally strayed from the script to attempt to catch his fellow players off guard, a task that he usually succeeds at with hilarious results. Skits and characters such as Celebrity Jeopardy, the Spartan Cheerleaders, the Night at the Roxbury brothers and James Lipton are all here, and in the perfect format for the PSP. It is a cinch to watch one skit here and there throughout your day, and I guarantee that if you do, your whole day will be just that much brighter for it.
My standard complaint with all UMD releases applies here as well. Namely, the low volume level of the audio. If you plan on watching this disc without headphones, your only hope of hearing it is to be in a completely quiet room. The use of headphones is usually quite adequate for most environs, however, and they make the dialog perfectly easy to hear. While the audio is not coded in a Dolby format, and the quality tends to be a bit tinny, it is certainly not much worse than it was during the original broadcast.
I was actually a little disappointed with the quality of the video on this disc. Obviously, the title is in the original fullscreen broadcast format, and I have no problem with that. The video does have a bit of a problem with sharpness and focus, however. When the screen is as small as this one, it makes a marked difference when a character’s eyes are not sharply defined, as happens here from time to time. I was also disappointed to see that the black levels are a tad shallow. Blacks and deep blues almost bleed together, as seen on the “Space with Harry Carey” skit.
There are a surprising number of extras on this disc… way more than you would normally find on even DVD discs of this genre. To me, the most fascinating thing here is the inclusion of Ferrell’s original audition tape. It is both interesting and insightful, while shockingly not funny. Having seen it, though, it is easy to see what the producers saw in this unknown comic that made them want to take a chance on him.
Other extras include a photo gallery and an absolutely hilarious skit from a pre-show dress rehearsal, in addition to two of Ferrell’s appearances on Conan; in character. Finally, the extras are rounded out with a collection of outtakes that are everything that outtakes are supposed to be, but rarely are.
This is a wonderfully funny disc that is perfect for casual viewing on the PSP format. The combination of a low price point and quality extras make this disc an excellent value, and Ferrell is easily funny enough to support the skits. While the audio and video quality are not the best, viewers really can’t go wrong with this title.