Cold Opening – Republican Presidential Debate
- Ugh, stop making Jon Rudnitsky happen SNL, his so-called impression of Wolf Blitzer sounds almost NOTHING like him; it’s just a non-effeminate version of his Anderson Cooper.
- Darrell Hammond has now replaced Taran as SNL’s Trump impersonator for the primary season and would remain so till the season ends. Meh, I never cared for his impression despite it being pretty dead-on, as it’s still stuck around Apprentice-era Trump, being low-energy, and pretty slow unlike how Trump was around the primary season in 15-16.
- Rare non-Update appearance from Colin!
- Ah, great to see Beck’s hilarious Jeb Bush officially becoming recurring, he’s going to be a blast to watch this season.
- Taran’s Ted Cruz voice still needs a lot of work, kinda surprising how he didn’t nail it by now, considering how great of an impressionist Taran usually is. I would say that he’s nailing Cruz smarmy, self-satisfied personality well, and is giving me decent laughs throughout this cold open.
- Already, I’m getting good laughs from Beck-as-Jeb’s pathetic attempts to sound tough and stand up against Trump’s bullying. Man, this is really is taking me back to how much of a trainwreck the GOP primaries were back then.
- An absolutely fantastic angry rant from Bobby-as-Christie which simply steals this entire cold open, which is yet another example of how damn excellent Bobby was throughout his tenure.
- A good laugh from Kyle’s pathetic portrayal of Rand Paul.
- I see that Jay’s Ben Carson is still as funny as ever, and his bit about being a brain surgeon is hilarious, as well as his facial expressions at the end of it.
- Ooof at the “Yeah no kidding, none of us are genius” line at the end of this open…
- An overall pretty great debate sketch, with tons of laughs, great lines, and solid satirical takes.
- Some nice moments at the beginning of this monologue with the photo of Tina & Any back in Chicago, not much to laugh at, but still endearing.
- A musical monologue, not that much to complain about from me yet again this season. As this season won’t have that many musical monologues and will actually include some actual monologues unlike how the previous season had like 10 musical ones.
- Good energy from Amy & Tina as they perform the jarringly different Christmas songs, a bit repetitive but the energy keeps it afloat to an overall decent effort.
A Hillary Christmas
- A good laugh from Hillary’s brief song about wanting a white house.
- Yet another laugh from Hillary’s “pajama”, Kate’s portrayal is still as likable and loose as it was before.
- A clever way to do our obligatory Hillary & Hillary sketch of the night. And I do like how Amy’s Hillary is warning modern-day Hillary not to be smug.
- Good to see the obligatory return of Tina’s Sarah Palin, and as always a very dead-on, funny voice and mannerism from her.
- A good laugh from Amy’s Hillary getting ready to fight Tina’s Palin.
- The usual funny Palin rambling bit which is being impeccably delivered by Tina. The whole spiel about riding is absolutely priceless, as well as the reaction from both Amy & Kate.
- Hilarious, energetic dancing at the end, a great way to end a great sketch.
Meet Your Second Wife!
- A very famous & highly-acclaimed game show sketch from this era.
- An excellent, dark reveal of the game show’s premise.
- Tina & Amy are solid in their game show hosts role. Tina is just a natural in particular here.
- A shocking reveal of Bobby’s second wife currently being in 8th grade.
- A great response from Tina to Aidy’s “I thought this was a home makeover show!” with Tina responding with: “In a way, it is”.
- This sketch, while pretty great so far, seems to be following the same pattern as the classic Match’d game show sketch from last season (I prefer it over this one, to be honest), which makes me believe that both were written by the same writer(s), could it be the Kelly & Schneider writing team? They seem to love writing pieces that rely on shocking reveals as they progress.
- A memorable, dark part with Taran’s second wife being revealed as a five-year old girl. The audience’s reactions throughout this sketch are a riot.
- I love Kenan’s whispering to himself wishing that his second wife is not white.
- A fantastic memorable bit with the entrance of Cecily, which makes us initially think that she is the second wife, UNTIL we realize that she’s pregnant with Kenan’s second wife at the moment. This moment is what makes this already-great sketch into an all-time SNL highlight and one of this era’s finest game show sketches, and by extension just live sketches in general. Easily the best live sketch of this entire season, for me at least.
- Overall, a real classic and deserving of the hype around it. I also recall being very high on the “A Winter Boyfriend For Holiday Christmas” game show sketch from the season 45 Scarlett Johansson episode and finding it to be pretty much my favorite of the MANY memorable original game show sketches in this era. I sure hope it lives up to my positive memories of it when I eventually review it.
- A real time capsule with the whole hoverboard craze going at the time.
- Funny, yet accurate visuals to this whole commercial. I’d like to assume that this is a Good Neighbor piece, as they usually do a dead-on recreation of these types of ads. And it stars Beck & Kyle alongside Pete to boot.
- An excellent visual of an elderly Beck riding a hoverboard while being lit on fire.
- The whole bit near the end with Pete is hilarious, his look alone is giving me tons of laughs. The Pee stain as well as his terrified reaction sells this whole spoof & ending perfectly.
- OH, NO. The return of this sketch.
- (*yawn*) This sketch is SO by-the-numbers with the whole bit with Kenan’s acting coach, and how he introduces himself to both Tina & Amy. The laziness of whomever writes these sketches has hit a new low this time.
- Am I supposed to be laughing at all this mugging & goofy facial tics that I’m witnessing right now?! I would say that Amy & especially Tina are committing rather well to this thin, dull, and laughless sketch far more than I would expect. A sign of their consummate professionalism and commitment, it’s sad that it’s all in service of THIS sketch.
- Awful ending.
Musical Performance – “Meet Me in the City”
- Jesse Nathan: Interestingly, instead of fading to Bruce like SNL usually does during the musical performances, the camera cuts to him.
- Bruce’s opening “1, 2, 3, 4” was rendered inaudible.
- Already, I love the holiday-themed sound of the intro.
- Great keyboard riff at the start.
- Wow, I did NOT expect Bruce to use a gritty voice for this song. I kinda like it.
- Bruce’s vocals are kinda poorly mixed.
- Okay, it seems as though that riff might serve as the main hook.
- Great saxophone bit from Jake Clemons.
- Despite my quibbles about the mixing, this performance is definitely very fun to watch, reminding me of why I liked Bleachers’ performances. Actually, now that I think about it, Bruce Springsteen is one of Bleachers’ influences.
- I like how the lighting is placed more on Bruce during the bridge.
- Having a bit of a hard time understanding what Bruce is saying near the end.
- Fun to watch the band jam as the song nears its end.
- Man, the audience is super hot throughout tonight’s episode as I forgot to mention that back in the A Hillary Christmas sketch, even Colin plays it off at the beginning of this Update.
- Always good to see another Kate McKinnon Update commentary, so sad that in a few hours from now this legendary performer will be saying goodbye in the season 47 finale.
- I’m about two minutes into this commentary and I don’t know the HELL am I supposed to make of it so far. Kate’s delivery in particular is bugging me, and her character gorging on all that food is not as funny of a visual as whoever wrote this commentary thought. Also, why in the world is Kate constantly breaking for no good reason whatsoever?! I recall it being a shocking visual to many fans, me included, as this was back when Kate was a stone-faced cast member so to see her giggling her way through a commentary without any explanation was jarring. An inside joke perhaps?
- Solid long-form story breakdown from Colin of Martin Shkreli.
- Our obligatory Update appearance from Tina & Amy, as a person who thought of their tenure behind the desk as an absolute comedy poison, I’ll go into this piece with an open mind this time.
- A good joke from Amy & Tina each to close the year with, and it helps that they were more low-key this time and didn’t pander to the audience with hacky material that they were stuck with back in their original Update era.
The Chad & Mrs. Douglas Show Collection
clips on 1970s variety show DVD are colored by alcohol, cocaine, roofies
- Aaaaaand now we get our obligatory Maya Rudolph cameo. I’m pretty surprised it took this far into the episode for her to show up, you would think she’ll have a sketch or two in the pre-Update half of the show.
- Maya’s hamming it up here, per usual. Yet, I’m getting good laughs and it’s fitting with this episode’s very high-energy atmosphere.
- A great aesthetic & look to this whole sketch, by the way. SNL always does a great job in capturing the feel of these types of specials.
- A pretty cheap laugh from the appearance of Kenan’s always-solid Bill Cosby, and a good way to end a fun piece on with that whole ending with him.
Tina & Amy’s Dope Squad
- (*sigh*) Aidy’s leaving with Kate, as I just remembered that here, it’s going to be so hard for me to say goodbye to both of them.
- As always, very solid and naturally funny delivery from Aidy at the beginning of her interview with Amy & Tina.
- A great sudden musical turn, and as usual with SNL, some great visuals accompanying this music video.
- Man, Amy’s killing it with her rapping, who would’ve thought that she would be this great of a rapper? I recall being shocked when I first heard her rapping back in her days as a cast member.
- Aidy’s absolutely stealing this whole short with her sudden turn into hardcore rapping. She also is a surprisingly solid rapper on her own.
- Random Amy Schumer cameo.
- Great delivery from Amy Schumer of her line “Wait, who are we made at?”
- Very fun music video overall, pretty much a blast with great deal of energy and commitment.
Musical Performance – “The Ties That Bind”
- Jesse Nathan: Another great intro from Bruce and co.
- Like the last performance, I’m having a hard time understanding what Bruce is saying. But unlike last time, it’s not entirely the sound people’s fault.
- I like the descending “i”s during the part where they sing “bind”.
- Great drum work.
- The backing vocals from Steven Van Zeldt and Bruce’s wife fell kinda flat.
- Another great saxophone part from Jake.
- Good ending.
- While this wasn’t as strong as the first performance, it definitely had a fun Christmas-feeling atmosphere (whether intentional or not) that I enjoyed.
Betty & Philadelphian cousin (TIF) learn of Jodi’s pregnancy
- Our obligatory Bronx Beat sketch of the night, this ends up as the final one, or at least as of the year 2022 that is.
- A no-brainer casting of Tina as a Philadelphia-accented character.
- The usual solid energy and chemistry between Amy and Maya, even when I never cared nor HATED these sketches, I appreciated the energy in them.
- Some solid interplay between the three performers, and Tina is doing an overall better job in reacting to Amy & Maya’s usual routine than some previous hosts.
Cut For Time: Christmas at Nana’s
- A pretty random pairing of Kyle & Amy Poehler as brother and sister.
- (*sigh*) Good Neighbor’s very rough season continues, it’s absolutely disgraceful what’s happening with their original material this year.
- Kyle is so great at playing these younger roles, and I’ll also be saying goodbye to this genuine and consistently creative performer tonight too.
- A pretty realistic and endearing conversation between Amy & Kyle, you could tell that Kyle always uses his real-life experience, and childhood/teen memories in his work.
- A very sweet turn with Amy & Kyle realizing that they’re each other’s best friends at the end. Boy, I’m going to miss the genuine emotions in these pieces once Kyle is gone from the show, good that I have four and a half seasons of this material left for me to cover.
- A hilarious dark ending with Nana’s head being held by Kate, and her angry delivery of her final lines is excellent.
Cut For Time: Bieber Concert
- Big thanks to fellow reviewer Jesse Nathan for notifying me of this digital exclusive that was posted some time after this episode. I’ll add it to this review as it’s posted around its time, even when it’s not a host-dependent piece. And was posted nearly two weeks afterwards. It still deserves coverage.
- Man, Good Neighbor’s very rough season continues as this is the FOURTH cut piece by them and the third consecutive episode where that happened. Jesus Christ.
- Ah, Kyle’s playing his hilarious awkward man on the street character, always a laugh riot and a perfect usage of Kyle’s underrated deadpan abilities.
- I LOVE the whole bit with Kyle asking the girl to raise her voice, such solid awkward tension.
- The rain is also adding to the awkward charm of this whole piece, I do not know if it was intentional, but the way the whole literal atmosphere around Kyle is used in this piece is nothing short of sublime.
- As usual, I love the hilariously cheap visuals accompanying this short, the one with the family stock footage in particular stand out to me.
- Very funny singing from Kyle near the end, and that girl’s reaction to him seems genuine as she’s encouraging him more, and her “Well done” is simply the icing on the cake with this piece. A fitting capper.
Goodnights/ Musical Performance – “Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town”
- Blood Meridian: A great change of pace with having the goodnights speech being delivered on the musical guest’s stage. This already tells you that we are in for a very different goodnights.
- Jesse Nathan: Crap, I nearly forgot about this one. In fact, I’m not entirely sure if I should cover this considering the fact that it’s the goodnights. But you know what? It’s still technically a musical performance, so fuck it, I’m doing this.
- Already, we have a great change of pace from the usual goodnights, as Tina and Amy are standing on the musical guest stage instead of the home base stage.
- Paul McCartney!
- The audience reaction is very fun to hear.
- Is Paul mouthing the words instead of singing along?
- Bruce actually sounds a lot better here, but that may have something to do with the fact that I’m reviewing the Archive copy of the performance, as this is not on YouTube.
- Fun seeing Tina, Amy, Maya, and Paul jamming with the band.
- Now this gets even more fun as the cast gets up on stage wearing Santa hats.
- Great to see Pete legitimately jumping.
- Ha, I love how Darrell Hammond isn’t even attempting to join in on the fun.
- Fun to see Vanessa and Bobby’s legitimate reactions.
- The deep voice singing “You better be good for goodness’s sake” made me chuckle more than it should.
- Speaking of which, who exactly is doing that voice? Judging from what I’m watching, it seems as though Kenan is singing it, but it doesn’t sound like him at all.
- I love the use of fake snow.
- I love the bit where Bruce asks Tina, Amy, Maya, and Paul if they’ve been good.
- And now the show closes out with everyone singing the chorus on a loop.
- An overall great way to end the show. I feel like I barely said anything about the music, but this was still an absolute blast to watch, and it’s now become one of my favorite goodnights in SNL history, right up there with U2’s epic third performance in the Season 30 Luke Wilson episode (though I prefer that one more).
Rating: ***** (yes, I’m going all the way)
Segments Ranked From Best to Worst
Meet Your Second Wife!
CFT: Bieber Concert
CFT: Christmas at Nana’s
A Hillary Christmas
Republican Presidential Debate
Amy & Tina’s Dope Squad
The Chad & Mrs. Douglas Show Collection
- A great Christmas show, for the most part. It also helps that this episode had a legendary band in the house. Amy & Tina fit in perfectly yet again tonight and were as fun as expected, and the hot crowd tonight also helped with the energy levels, and this whole episode was a great way to end an overall strong first half for this season.
- Season 47 comes to an end with host Natasha Lyonne and musical guest Japanese Breakfast. It’s also the end of the road for Pete Davidson, Kyle Mooney, Aidy Bryant, and cast leader Kate McKinnon.