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SNL's very exclusive five timers club is open only to those few who have hosted Saturday Night Live 5 times (and up). Long unknown to the public, the very existence of this secretive brother-ship was not revealed until the joining of Tom Hanks in 1990. Therefore it is by this standard that his entry in the Best of Saturday Night Live series is best judged. See here for the first time the road leading up to membership of '5TC', and take note, hopeful hosts.
The first step is giving good monologue. Don't just talk about yourself and plug your latest release, make fun of both these situations. Hanks knows this, having dissected his own good guy reputation as well as the nature of the monologue itself on several occasions. Also leave the singing and dancing to Christopher Walken. In a good show, the monologue should be the only part where the host appears as him or herself. If you show up under your own name in another skit, it is obvious the writers are straining to find good stuff for you to do. This leads us too...
Step 2: blend into the cast. The best hosts are often mistaken for having been cast members during their heyday. This is not just because of frequent appearances on the show, but owes more to seamlessly joining in during skits. For instance, Tom all but disappears into the background in the famous Aerosmith on Wayne's world skit (well, he is playing a roadie), plays it straight in the hilarious Tales of Ribaldry, and has a silly supporting part in the Spartan Cheerleaders (making it the most dubious choice in this special). Although The Hankster appeared most regularly during the Dana Carvey years (He was churning out five comedies a year during this period), evidence presented here proves him to be one of the few to do a decent show during the disastrous 1985 season, and an older, wiser Tom is equally well at ease with the late nineties Will Ferrell laden line-up.
Once you have been asked back a few times and a good working relationship with the cast has been established, it is time to think about possible recurring characters. SNL cast members thrive on them, but only host eligible to be Five-Timers are allowed to repeat themselves. Tom developed no less than three: Mr. Short Term Memory, a Girl Watcher along side Jon Lovitz and a very Seinfeldian Stand up comedian. Truth be told, nowhere do recurring characters overstay there welcome more than on SNL, so thankfully in each case only the first appearance is included here. Finally, in comedy timing remains everything. Although the Hankster has been getting first dibs at all the best dramatic parts in Hollywood ever since his Oscar winning two punch, he is still a comedian at heart. Whether bantering with Lovitz at the 25th anniversary, skating and panting his way through an Olympic cold opening or playing two very different game show hosts, his deliverance is spot on.
Additionaly, the DVD offers up a couple of surprises amongst the extra features: a dress rehearsal version of Robert Smigel's infamous nude beach skit (the one with the penis-song) that did not make it into the Tom Hanks show, but was redone a week later with Matthew Broderick. Lastly there is a tacked on animated 'photo gallery' featuring a still of The Hankster and Mr. Peepers, a skit missing from on the actual compilation. Very disappointing to those of us who watch the extra's before the main feature.
9 out of 10
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