White House Tree Trimming Cold Open
Donald and Melania celebrate the most successful first year presidency by declaring coal is coming back in a big way, everyone is getting a tax cut for Christmas and the War on Christmas is over. And to make it official, they’re decorating a Tree of Shame with all of Trump’s enemies — Comey, Spicer, the Mooch, Flynn, etc. Some of the best laughs come from Beck Bennett’s Mike Pence who doesn’t like “Deck the Halls” because of the “gay apparel,” Kate McKinnon doing double duty as Kellyanne Conway and the Elf on the Shelf (Jeff Sessions) and Leslie Jones as Omarosa. And as an added bonus, Scarlett Johansson returns as Ivanka. A pretty good start to the night.
Kevin Hart Stand-Up Monologue
With Kevin Hart’s third hosting gig, SNL probably didn’t think they’d start the show or end the year with a monologue that caused an internet uproar moments after it aired. It started out fine when Hart started talking about all the threes in his life right now — the hosting, the tour, the new baby — and he probably should not have gone there with the baby. His set drew criticism for being sexist (kids only look forward to play time with dad because moms aren’t fun) and ire for even bringing up the baby since he publicly admitted to cheating on his wife while she was pregnant. Probably not the best choice of material even though the studio audience seemed to enjoy it.
A Pandora holiday ad that showed men who knew absolutely nothing about the women in their lives, giving them Christmas gifts of little charms representing a Starbucks cup, a dress, a shoe, a martini glass to prove they do know what their wives like. Humorous but maybe a case of reverse sexism?
Office Phone Call
Hart plays a man in an office meeting who gets an emergency call from a family member and has to leave. But it’s the same call he gets at every after lunch meeting and his co-workers know what’s really going on. Some scatalogical humor sold by Hart’s performance, the sudden perspiration and fart sound effects.
Another pre-taped piece features Hart as the superhero Captain Shadow with Chris Redd as his sidekick The Cardinal (who can’t keep his mouth shut). Things are good for the duo until the Captain is pulled over for speeding and it only gets worse from there. After a few bits of sexist humor, now we’re on to racial injustice!
Inside the NBA
A spoof of the TNT sports program that featured Kenan Thompson’s Charles Barkley, fresh back from helping Doug Jones get elected in Alabama (even though he bet on Roy Moore because … Alabama), and Hart as an apparently brain damaged Shaq who just spit out a word salad every time he spoke. Hart did a great job with all the nonsense he was given and Kenan’s retorts were funny, and the whole thing ended with a pretty awesome sight gag.
Colin Jost and Michael Che seemed to be back to their old selves this week — and perhaps the announcement earlier in the week that they were named co-head writers of the show (two of four) helped things — as they took jabs at the Alabama election, the calls for Trump’s resignation, the Golden Globes, net neutrality and more. Leslie Jones stormed on to the set as Omarosa to explain that she quit her job, she changed her security code and the locks on her office door, and threw herself into the bushes as she escorted herself out. And then she escorted herself off the set (with the help of security). Unfortunately, The Guy Who Just Bought a Boat returned to skip in comments about his inadequate penis while tossing out some — for a change — clever puns and word play. One of the shorter WU segments of the season.
A school Christmas play couldn’t afford a camel so they had to go with a llama, which came with all kinds of warnings and a completely rattled cast that feared for their lives. An okay sketch, the llama was adorable and barely threatening, but then they had to rely on a penis joke to get laughs.
This was the end of the night sketch that came a bit early. Hart and Jones played a couple attending a Christmas party with Hart’s character being completely henpecked by his wife, who after he failed to kiss her under the mistletoe was forced to make out with a giant teddy bear. And the other people at the party were his employees. A weird, unpleasant and unfunny sketch.
During a PBS pledge drive, a clip from the “Active Jack” exercise show for kids was shown with Hart as the host performing the theme song. After the clip, the PBS host announced the original cast (some of them, at least) was reuniting 45 years later (with Kenan as the older Active Jack) to perform that song and … it didn’t go so well. Some laughs to end the night.
Foo Fighters performed “The Sky Is a Neighborhood” and a Christmas medley. Not my cup of tea musically speaking, but the rocking versions of some classic holiday tunes weren’t bad.
SNL has had a history of closing out the year with a great Christmas show, bringing back past cast members and guest stars to really give the show a boost. This had none of that. As much as Jimmy Fallon annoys me, he usually presides over a good holiday show. And where the heck has Justin Timberlake been hiding? He’s got a new movie out too so he could have signed on to host this show. Kevin Hart did a fine job with what he was given but outside of the Cold Open and the Weekend Update, the writers really didn’t give him much to work with. Hopefully the holiday break will recharge them for the new year.
Saturday Night Live airs live in every time zone coast-to-coast Saturdays starting at 11:30 PM Eastern time on NBC. On January 13, Sam Rockwell hosts with musical guest Halsey.
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