What Up with That
"What Up with That?" is a recurring sketch on the NBC television series Saturday Night Live which first aired in 2009. It stars Kenan Thompson as Diondre Cole, host of a talk show on BET. Supporting characters include Taran Killam as the show's announcer (originally Will Forte), Sasheer Zamata (originally Jenny Slate, later Vanessa Bayer) and Cecily Strong (originally Nasim Pedrad) as backup singers/dancers Pippa and Piper, respectively, Fred Armisen as Giuseppe, a Kenny G-like saxophone player, and Jason Sudeikis as Vance, an overzealous backup dancer. The sketch has incorporated unannounced cameo appearances by a number of celebrities. In addition to this, cast members frequently play roles adding to the chaos during Cole's performances, such as Paul Brittain and Abby Elliott's dancing performances as Vili Fualaau and Mary Kay Letourneau, a student and teacher who made news for their sexual relationship.
The show opens with Cole singing the show's lengthy theme song, "What Up with That". He then introduces the show's three guests, the third always being Bill Hader playing Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham. As soon as the first guest begins talking, Cole echoes their comments in a sing-song manner (often disrupting them), eventually leaping back up to begin singing the theme song again. In this manner, the encore performances completely take up the show's time, and the other two guests do not get to speak (although Robin Williams did have a couple lines in the December 4, 2010 episode, as well as Kate Upton in the February 18, 2012 episode), including Lindsey Buckingham, who, according to Cole, has attended dozens of times without getting interviewed but still remains a good sport.
In the May 14, 2011 episode, both the Bill Hader impersonation and the real Lindsey Buckingham appeared. The opening guest was that week's SNL musical guest, Paul Simon, who opened his interview by complaining about how Diondre invites Buckingham each week, but never gives him a chance to talk. While Hader's impersonation had no lines once again, the real Buckingham played guitar and spoke up for him.
In a backstage clip from the show on February 18, 2012, Cole lets Buckingham (Hader) list the US Presidents and their birthdays. This marked the first time that Hader's Buckingham ever received an opportunity to speak.
The skit has received mixed reviews. Television web site Hitfix applauded Thompson's performance, stating that it works because he can actually sing.
However, Entertainment Weekly suggested that the skit was getting old over time, asking: "How many more times can they fall back on this one?"
Its popularity is also evident in the Nickelodeon crossover episode iParty with Victorious, an episode in which Thompson guest stars as himself. When Andre (Leon G. Thomas III) reveals that he will be hosting a party at Thompson's house, Rex the puppet sings part of the What Up with That theme song.
|#||Original airdate||Host||Celebrity cameos|
|1||October 17, 2009||Gerard Butler||James Franco|
|2||November 21, 2009||Joseph Gordon-Levitt||Al Gore, Mindy Kaling|
|3||December 19, 2009||James Franco||Mike Tyson, Jack McBrayer|
|4||March 6, 2010||Zach Galifianakis||Paul Rudd, Frank Rich|
|5||October 2, 2010||Bryan Cranston||Morgan Freeman, Ernest Borgnine|
|6||December 4, 2010||Robert De Niro||Robin Williams|
|7||May 14, 2011||Ed Helms||Paul Simon, Chris Colfer, Lindsey Buckingham|
|8||February 18, 2012||Maya Rudolph||Bill O'Reilly, Kate Upton|
|9||December 15, 2012||Martin Short||Samuel L. Jackson, Carrie Brownstein|
|10||February 15, 2015||40th Anniversary Special||As part of a montage of musical sketches|
In addition to these sketches, Diondre Cole, the backup dancer, and the saxophonist appeared in the monologue of the April 17, 2010 episode hosted by Ryan Phillippe, where he questions why MacGruber has a movie while he does not.
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