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Melissa McCarthy as an abusive coach is a slam dunk for 'SNL'

April 07, 2013|By Claire Zulkey

Comic actress Melissa McCarthy is known for her physical game (last night's "Saturday Night Live" had her falling in heels and dancing about ham), so it was fitting that as the NCAA tournament is winding down, the highlight from this week's episode was a sketch focusing on college basketball.

Parodying the abusive style of fired Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice, second-time host McCarthy played a similarly bullying women's basketball coach who beats up anyone who crosses her, including under-performing players, meddling teachers, even ESPN's investigative reporter.

While Rice shoved players and hurled slurs, McCarthy’s Sheila Kelly threw toasters, forced her players to cook her meals on-court and made them wear roller skates while shooting free throws as she threatened them with a baseball bat.

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Though McCarthy’s extreme bullying was the star of the sketch, it was the details that played overtime: The reproductions of practice video and the character's "only in women's basketball" haircut, suit and shoes made the sketch a win.

Without too much in current events for the show to hang its hat on, basketball pick-and-rolled its way into a few other sketches.

Kenan Thompson made an appearance on "Weekend Update" as Charles Barkley, sending up Sir Charles' fondness for gambling and constant ribbing of Michael Jordan ("the Michael Jordan of gambling"). At one point, Thompson-as-Barkley joked about shilling for Tampax, although many years ago Michael Jordan himself, hosting the show, mentioned appearing in an ad for a feminine product.

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The only thing that would be better would have been Sir Charles himself appearing on the episode. Instead, the audience had to settle for second-stringer Dennis Rodman, who looks the same as always but couldn't quite manage the line "Live from New York, it's Saturday night!" in the cold open, despite his recent time in the spotlight.

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