First let me state I am well into my forties now but I’ve been a huge Elton John fan since my early teens. I am writing this to get this off my chest and for no other reason. John and writing partner Bernie Taupin were the driving force behind my wanting to become a musician and writer. They along with Joni Mitchell, Harry Chapin and The Beatles helped me mold a part-time hobby into one of the great passions of my life. Along with Paul McCartney, Elton is one of my heroes. To his many credits John is a Grammy, Oscar, Tony Awards winner, an honorary member of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Songwriters Hall Of Fame and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1998. When I first heard the news that EJ was not only going to host Saturday Night Live last night but also be the musical guest with Leon Russell I was ecstatic. I rushed home from the daily grind to make sure the VCR (yes, I still have one of those) was tuned up and ready to record by 11:28 P.M. John had been a musical guest before but never hosted. His TV appearances over the years, especially the past 10 years could probably be counted on one hand; this was going to be something special.
From the opening monologue and its content I knew John or at least I as an audience watcher was in big trouble. He is obviously not an actor though his Pinball Wizard appearance in the rock opera ‘˜Tommy’ was fab; let’s face it, he’s not Cher. And I mean that in the acting sense. There are a handful of musical artists who have made the crossover into film acting. Cher came to mind simply because she’s an Oscar winner and a damn fine actress. John was obviously nervous and certainly not in his element. His eyes never left the teleprompter. Okay, Sir Anthony Hopkins or Robert DeNiro he’s not. I can actually get past all of that. My problem with this 90 minute show was the content. Unless you live under a rock everyone knows Sir Elton is an out and proud gay man. No surprise there and bravo to him for living his life as such. I couldn’t be happier for him. His Elton John Aids Foundation has raised millions of dollars for the cause. I myself am not hugely political. I am for gay rights across the board, pro choice, blah blah blah, the whole nine yards. That not withstanding; every single sketch on the show that featured John except for two (where he played himself) was gay oriented to the extreme. That still isn’t the problem: the problem is they weren’t funny. Maybe it’s me but I don’t think so. I have a great dark British sense of humor. I know funny when I see it or hear it. This show missed the mark terribly. If John thought it was humorous and got a good chuckle out of it, kudos Elton, really. I just didn’t get it.
The male gay stereotype was all over the place like white on rice. It wasn’t necessary. Sure it’s camp and fun in doses but skit after skit leaves what humor was there dry and old. For me it was difficult trying to find the joke never mind laugh at it. If that’s the best the writers of the show could come up with maybe a little education is in order. Drop the stereotype and comments for shock value and write for John like you would for any other guest hosting the show. We know he’s gay and have known it for years. But that’s not all he is. He’s much more than that. The best segments came when John does what he does best: play music. The numbers with Russell were priceless and fun. It’s too bad SNL let the opportunity go to waste and blew the rest of the show. The focus should have been creating an atmosphere were the jokes weren’t at John’s expense even though in the monologue he delivered them. You guys should have let him sing it. Maybe then it would have been funny. Elton my dear, in regards to your future hosting duties; please choose them wisely and showcase your real talents. SNL didn’t do you justice and missed the great opportunity of having you on in the first place.