This New Year’s Day, Amazon tapped Saturday Night Live alums Will Ferrell and Molly Shannon to host its live coverage of the annual Rose Parade as fictional local news anchors Cord Hosenbeck and Tish Cattigan from Pasadena, California. As least some viewers were not amused.
A look through the nearly 1,400 one-star reviews of the streaming special, produced by Funny or Die, reveal some seriously confused customers who somehow had no idea they were watching a comedy show.
“I have watched the Rose Parade for over 30 years. I'm so frustrated that the hosts have absolutely no respect for the parade or the entrants,” a woman named Beth wrote. “They seem to be more interested in doing bits than talking about the bands/floats. I would have enjoyed the broadcast so much better without hosts. I'm EXTREMELY disappointed.”
“Way to go, Amazon ... totally RUINING the Rose Parade with 2 inane idiots who thought the event was ALL ABOUT THEM!!” Sue screamed. “(Do you really think fear of horses and depression are fitting parade commentary?!!) First, we muted. Then we missed several bands and floats while trying desperately to find a decent live-stream. Finally landed with ultra-professional KTLA. You might review them to learn how it's done!!!”
And then there was this one from John: “Fantastic camera work, but someone replace the two morons hosting this!!!!!!”
There are hundreds more in the same vein, though the average has risen to three stars thanks to an even larger number of five-star reviews from those who understood that the commentary was supposed to be awkward and uncomfortable.
Last month, Cord and Tish introduced themselves in character to the world on Jimmy Kimmel Live! As Cord explained on that show, they have been hosting the Rose Parade coverage for 25 years, “except for 2007.” Asked by Jimmy Kimmel what happened in 2007, Tish replied, "It's not something we want to get into. We want to keep it positive."
One aspect of the Amazon broadcast that might have helped tip viewers off was the presence of Ferrell and Shannon’s fellow ex-SNL cast member Tim Meadows, who played himself as a reporter on the ground at the parade. Cord and Tish would repeatedly ask Meadows about his time on that show, but he did not want to talk about it. For instance, when Cord asked him what it was like working with John Belushi, Meadows replied, “I was like 12 when he was on the show.”
Other commenters, like one man named Ryan Murphy whom we have to assume is not the TV mogul, were put off by the handful of Trump jokes from the two hosts.
“Banter about Pres Trump? I am turning off anything that cannot refrain from taking shots at Trump,” the commenter wrote. “I'm not watching a parade for that. Horrible. Focus on the parade, not your personal lives please!!!!”
At one point, Tish asked Cord out of the blue, “Do you think anyone will ever name a high school after Donald Trump? He’s so polarizing — can you imagine?”
“Not a public one, but one that you could buy a high school degree from without going to class, for sure,” Cord replied.
At the end of the coverage, as the credits rolled and “revealed” that the hosts were characters played by Will Ferrell and Molly Shannon, the pair stayed in character while breaking the sunny demeanor they displayed throughout the morning and sharing their true feelings about the broadcast on a deliberately “hot” mic.
“How do you think the crew did this year?” Cord asked Tish. “They’re a terrible crew, let’s be honest.” And then, picking up his script, he asked, “Who wrote this crap? Because it’s terrible.”