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January 30th, 2013 MATTHEW SINGER | Headout
 

Headout: News Ratings

Ranking the “Weekend Update” anchors.

headout_3913ILLUSTRATION: Leo Zarosinski
     
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1. Norm Macdonald (1994-97)
He turned the Saturday Night Live news desk into his own absurdist playground, brilliantly mocking not so much the news as “Weekend Update” itself. Frank Stallone owes Norm his livelihood, whatever that happens to be.

2. Jane Curtin and Dan Aykroyd (1977-78)
Splitting them up just seems wrong. They were the first and only tandem that really felt like a partnership, and understood that actual news teams are inherently comedy duos. Disagree? Then you’re an ignorant something-or-other.

3. Bill Murray (1978-80)
It’s Bill fucking Murray. Any further questions?

4. Tina Fey (2000-06)
Backlash and Christopher Hitchens be damned: Fey was funny and smart without being smug, and never allowed herself to get dragged down by the two giggling ankle weights she was saddled with for six years.

5. Chevy Chase (1975-76)
He laid the template, and that alone earns him top-five placement. Plus, if we ranked him lower, he’d probably try to poison us with strychnine.

6. Dennis Miller (1985-91)
Before Osama bin Laden crashed a 747 into his brain and transformed him into a Fox News shill, Miller was the proto Jon Stewart—a fake newsman with a real ax to grind—and the most hyper-intelligent mullethead on television. OK, maybe he was a bit of a twat even back then, but he was our twat, y’know?

7. Seth Meyers (2008-present)
The current anchor, in town this weekend, is now also the longest tenured. A comic this beige belongs smack in the middle. Like SNL itself these days, Meyers is inoffensive, good for a laugh now and then, and keeps you watching just long enough to consistently disappoint you.

8. Kevin Nealon (1991-94)
He had problems following the teleprompter and stammered through jokes, but he was the last anchor to approach the position with Brokaw-esque faux gravitas, and that’s worth something.

9. Colin Quinn (1998-2000)
Now employed as a professional Twitter troll, Quinn brought to “Update” an off-putting Massholishness (even though he’s from Brooklyn) that made watching his segment feel like you got stuck at a bar in Worcester next to a loudmouth yelling at CNN like he was at a Sox game.

10. Amy Poehler (2004-08)
Hard to imagine the future Leslie Knope being anything less than likable, but her run as sidekick to Fey and Meyers was distinguished only by having the most self-satisfied smirk of any anchor in history.

11. Charles Rocket (1980-81)
Fuck!

12. Gail Matthius (1981)
Who?

13. Jimmy Fallon (2000-04)
Inaugurated the era of the smirking, tittering “Update” anchor, and for that he belongs in the basement. If only he sat next to Questlove during his tenure, then maybe he would have been halfway tolerable.

SEE IT: Seth Meyers is at the Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway, on Friday, Feb. 1. 8 pm. $44.75. All ages.



Headout Picks

WEDNESDAY JAN. 30

HARMONTOWN
[LIVE PODCASTING] Community creator and Chevy Chase arch nemesis Dan Harmon is, in all likelihood, a crazy person—who else gets fired from their own show?—but that just makes his podcast more of a must-hear. Helium Comedy Club, 1510 SE 9th Ave., 888-643-8669. 7:30 pm. $20-$25. 21+.

RARE VERMOUTH UNCORKING
[BOOZE] A 99-year-old bottle of Cinzano vermouth found in the basement of a Portland home will be made into $40 Manhattans. Sidecar 11, 3955 N Mississippi Ave., 208-3798. 6 pm. 21+.


THURSDAY JAN. 31

COMPAGNIE MARIE CHOUINARD
[DANCE] Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring has been an irresistible challenge to choreographers since Nijinksy and the Ballets Russes set it in motion a century ago. Montreal-based Marie Chouinard approaches the pagan spectacle with vigorous writhing and animalistic eroticism. Lincoln Hall, Portland State University, 1620 SW Park Ave., 725-3307. 8 pm. $20-$30.

CITY GOATS
[BOOKS] Chickens are so over. If you want to be a real hipster farmer, you need to get yourself some goats. Longtime urban goat keeper Jennie Grant reads from City Goats: The Goat Justice League’s Guide to Backyard Goat Keeping. Powell’s City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St., 228-4651. 7:30 pm. Free.


FRIDAY FEB. 1

VENUS IN FUR
[THEATER] David Ives’ sinister, Tony-nominated comedy centers on a self-important writer-director and the actress vying for a role in his play, which he has adapted from the 1870 novel Venus in Furs. Gerding Theater, 128 NW 11th Ave., 445-3700. 7:30 pm. $25-$54.

X
[MUSIC] To celebrate its 13th anniversary, Dante’s booked one of the greatest American rock bands of the last 30 years. Sure, the roots-punk ensemble hasn’t recorded new music in two decades, but it also hasn’t played a club this small since it was tearing up L.A. in the ’80s. Dante’s, 350 W Burnside St., 226-6630. 9 pm. $25. 21+.


TUESDAY FEB. 5

INFAMOUS SHIPWRECKS
[HISTORY] Author Finn J.D. John gives the lowdown on Oregon’s biggest maritime disasters. Jack London Bar, 529 SW 4th Ave., 228-7605. 7:30 pm. Free.

DAVE EGGERS
[BOOKS] Novelist and McSweeneys founder Dave Eggers signs copies of his new book, A Hologram for the King. No reading, but you can bask in his staggering genius. Powell’s City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St., 228-4651. 6 pm. Free.
 
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