Cold Opening – Blocking It Out for Christmas
for Christmas, singing (BOY), (CES), (KET), (SRS), (EGN) block anxieties
- It feels right getting a non-political cold open with Steve & Martin hosting the show.
- The Mariah Carey joke feels a bit tired, but Bowen’s delivery of it was decent as expected.
- I’m not really liking, so far, how this cold opening is focusing on Bowen/Cecily/Kenan as the three have been getting a little too much airtime & seem to get most of the laugh lines, but I’ll try to not look as this as a caste system cold open, and be thankful we’re not getting a political cold open, especially how wretched the last one was.
- Some ok lines about Elon Musk from Cecily, even when it feels funny in retrospect considering he hosted not that long ago.
- Decent LFNY fake-out with Mikey, but having Cecily say it instead is even more evidence that the show (or Lorne) sees her as one of its big stars.
hosts prematurely deliver each other’s eulogies; Selena Gomez cameo
- Oooh, I KNOW I’m going to love this monologue.
- Man, it sure is an amazing sight, seeing these two comedy legends hosting together onstage.
- Ah, I see that we’re getting the usual hilarious banter between the two of them. These two did not lose a touch when it comes to that.
- Martin’s line about steve being at the urinal for 32 minutes is freakin’ hilarious.
- I do love the turn with Steve & Martin doing eulogies for each other, and the request by both to the band to play increasingly sadder and sadder music is funny. The sad puppy part is especially hilarious and feels very Steve Martin-y.
- Love Steve’s “not much of a turnout!” about Martin’s funeral audience.
- The “I know Steve always looked down on us, because he always looked down on everybody” line from Martin is hilarious & very Martin Short-esque.
- Steve’s “too late!” when saying dead Martin didn’t want to be cremated was hilarious, and caught me so off guard.
- Martin’s line about Steve looking motionless and stiff in his casket, then suddenly saying in a Martin Short-esque way “so lifelike!” had me absolutely howling.
- And here comes our obligatory Selena Gomez cameo & it is interesting to see her do the usual tag at the end instead of our hosts.
The Science Room
dumb kids frustrate (hosts) during a lesson about snow
- Wow, didn’t think we’ll see this sketch back. But considering that I loved all the previous ones, I’m not mad seeing it again.
- Mikey & Cecily are still eerily convincing playing these roles, and their chemistry and characterization is as strong as ever.
- The whole Dr. Science and Mr. Science bit is a good way to use both our hosts in this sketch, instead of having them appearing separately in sketches.
- The lines here aren’t as funny as usual, but as expected, Steve & Martin are giving this sketch a major boost with their performance, especially Martin’s straight man reactions; an area I’ve always felt he was underrated in.
- Why are we repeating some of the previous jokes here? The balls bit, which was hilarious to me in previous times, fell quite flat for me here.
- The Mario line was funnier than it had any right to be.
- I do love the bits with Martin choking the skeleton and the ending with Steve losing it at Mikey.
Please Don’t Destroy – Chelsea
indiscretions alienate Martin Herlihy, John Higgins, Ben Marshall [real]
- I did expect a PDD short for Steve & Martin as soon as both were announced as hosts, so I’m glad to see that I’m right in my prediction.
- As soon as Ben and Martin started talking about John’s ex Chelsea, I knew she’ll end up showing up, and there she was, fittingly played by Sarah.
- The reveal of the Chelsea’s family relatives watching on Zoom the whole time was worth a solid laugh.
- Decent use of Steve & Martin, especially that they’re playing themselves here.
- I love the quick high-five between Steve & Chloe after he gives Martin Herlihy a quick burn.
- Steven & Martin are great here, especially how much Steve’s style of comedy is fitting nicely with the PDD format; he’s really shining and it’s so fascinating seeing him in this type of a digital short.
- The usual solid escalations in this short, and fun absurdist visuals; the stenographer and Zoom audience bits are the funniest here for me.
- First Sarah, then Chloe, and now Che. This short has to be the one that used most cast members so far.
- The ending with whom I assume is Sarah’s real dad felt the same as the one with Sarah’s Angie in that classic short from last season.
- Solid PDD piece, per usual.
The Holiday Train
a la White Christmas, bears in human form (CES) & (hosts) sing “Snow”
- Boy, is Cecily Strong going to star in every sketch tonight? And do we need Kenan here? Hopefully, Steve and Martin will give this a boost.
- I’m getting big A Magical Christmas vibes from the Amy Adams season 40 episode, but so far this sketch doesn’t seem as magical or fun to me.
- Someone far more knowledgable with movie musicals could tell that this is an homage/ripoff/niche reference/etc. but I don’t care for these inside bits, as this sketch feels aggressively Anderlette to me.
- I’m conflicted in how I feel about this sketch. While I appreciate the sweet, feel-good vibes it’s going for, and it must be a blast for the performers to perform (Cecily in particular), this is going over my head and some of it feels too inside and self-indulgent.
- Some sloppiness with Kenan & Martin speaking over each other.
- And now Kenan breaks character, for no reason, ONCE AGAIN this season. It’s really becoming something how fucking unwatchable this guy is becoming.
- James is great as the old-timey train conductor, as he always is when playing these old-timey roles; in the way Dan Aykroyd, Phil Hartman, and Bill Hader used to excel in playing, but he wasn’t given much to do in this sketch, which turns out to be his only appearance all night. I do not understand this extreme underuse of James this season so far. With his range and clear talents, he should be all over many episodes, getting important utility roles and holding sketches together, instead of an out-of-date Kenan who cannot get through an episode so far this season with breaking for no reason. Absolutely inexcusable.
- The ending is basically the same from that aforementioned sketch, but there were enough feel-good vibes from Steve & Martin to not make this sketch weak.
A Visit with Santa
irritable elf (MAS) clashes with department store Santa (Steve Martin)
- Is Bowen going to play every single role as basically himself?
- Ah, this seems to be our expected Steve & Martin-centric sketch of the night. Them being a mall Santa and and his elf assistant is already hilarious to me.
- Martin’s elf sudden yelling at Chloe to stop her wishes had me laughing out loud.
- It feels painful seeing Andrew yet again, for the second episode in a row, barely in the show.
- The whole Speed turn is funny, even parts of this sketch feel one-note, Steve & Martin are absolutely making this sketch fun and their chemistry is as fantastic as ever here.
- Great ad-lib from Martin when he accidentally uses his actual legs instead of trying to look shorter.
- I love Sarah’s characterization when playing a child. She’s giving me strong Gilda Radner vibes.
- For some reason, the cutaway to a deadpan Bowen at the end made me laugh out loud. He’s always great at mining laughs from me when he does that.
A Christmas Carol
Ebenezer Scrooge’s (MAS) coin tossing blinds orphans (SRS) & (MAH)
- A Christmas Carol is one of my personal favorite stories, and to do a parody of it with Steve & Martin hosting is ALREADY having me onboard.
- Perfect casting of Martin Short as Ebenezer Scrooge.
- Holy hell at the turn with Martin’s generous offer with the throwing of the coin towards Sarah resulting in it entering through her eye!
- Not only am I enjoying the atmosphere of this short so far, but I’m also absolutely LOVING the heavy Monty Python vibes I’m getting from it.
- Sarah’s straight man performance and angered reactions towards Martin are fantastic.
- Ah, and now we’re getting a clear homage to Monty Python with the “Just a flesh wound!” variation with Sarah STILL alive & fine while both her eyes are gouged by the coins!
- Steve’s performance as the ghost is so Steve Martin-y that it is perfect.
- Great turn with the coin hitting the floor and then the barrel and then breaking Tiny Tim’s stick which causes him to fall into the sewer.
- I’m LOVING the escalating chaos at the end with the myriad of chaos-causing carnage; some terrific gory visuals, in particular the horse knocking Mikey’s entire head off & its blood spilling all over Molly’s face, and then Mikey’s head causing Tiny Tim to fall back into the sewer.
- Classic ending with the glass shattering after Scrooge closes the windows, causing EVEN MORE carnage. Loved Martin’s look at the end.
Musical Performance – “The Story”
aggressive Mary Anne Louise Fischer (EGN) shares holiday shopping tips
Kurt (MID) & Deb (CLF) turn each other on by doing celebrity voices
- The “Santa may exist but God doesn’t” joke seems like a variation of a joke told a few seasons ago.
- Good to see Ego back at the desk, especially after getting cut earlier in the season. I’m enjoying how this season of Update has more variety so far in its correspondents, unlike last year.
- Ego’s performance is solid as usual & I’m enjoying the touch of realism she always brings in such roles. Her lines about shopping around Christmas time are pretty relatable, elevated more with her delivery.
- The Nordstrom Iraq line in particular is pretty funny.
- Very Che-esque joke about removing R. Kelly from the streams.
- These last two episodes it felt that Chloe was slowly fading into the background after being prominent for the first two months of the season, and now she’s back behind the Update desk. Good move from her.
- It feels odd seeing Chloe being paired with Mikey, who has really aged these past few seasons quite a bit. Then again, he’s in his 40s, so I assume he’s looking normal. And I’m still getting the vibes that he’s on his way out.
- Chloe once again doing Drew Barrymore, Anna Delvey, Meryl Streep, and now Scarlett Johansson, and this time with the “big change” of them being roleplays during sex, yawn.
- Boy, this commentary feels endless. I’m assuming this is another collaboration of Chloe’s with Jimmy Fowlie, the new James Anderson wannabe in the writing staff (right down to him copying Anderson’s infamous “funny” last names shtick). So far, I’m not impressed by their work together.
- Oh, and now we’re getting desperate, with Mikey doing Stewie from Family guy as a roleplay.
- Overall, this commentary pretty much killed Update & the episode’s energy so far. I love Chloe Fineman, but if she’s just going to rely on material like this and trotting out old, tired impressions of hers instead of originality, then I think she has no value to the show currently.
in the ’90s, sexist (MAS) gives advice to audience
- Is this the first time Heidi appeared tonight? It sure feels like it.
- Lots of energy from Martin as expected, but so far I’m waiting for the sketch to take off.
- Big night for Sarah, appearing in lots of sketches so far. Between last week’s episode and tonight’s show, Sarah is becoming more of a core cast member & I couldn’t be happier about that.
- Martin is throwing in some Ed Grimley dance moves during his frequent dance sequences here.
- Of course, we’re getting an overlong, annoying, and obnoxious sequence with Cecily Strong, the designated star the show. (*groan*)
- Overall, aside from Martin’s energy, this sketch was a dud.
Musical Performance – “You & Me On The Rock”
Father of the Bride Part VIII
Kieran Culkin [real] & other castmembers return for Father Of The Bride 8
- Yet another sketch this season relying on nostalgia, but I’m actually familiar with this movie, so this might work fine for me.
- Pretty fun Diane Keaton from Chloe, which is serving as a somewhat of a palate cleanser of that awful desk piece she just did.
- Boy, Martin is going very Martin Short-y in his characterization here, especially when talking to Heidi.
- I’m enjoying some of the promo lines, even when I don’t feel the need to point some of them out.
- Good to see Selena in her obligatory sketch appearance. But having Kieran Culkin doing a cameo was such a welcomed surprise to me, as it reminded me of how good of a host he was last season.
Segments Ranked From Best to Worst
A Christmas Carol
A Visit with Santa
Please Don’t Destroy – Chelsea
The Science Room
Father of the Bride Part VIII
Blocking It Out for Christmas
The Holiday Train
- Expectations were incredibly high considering who our hosts are. And tonight’s show delivered, for the most part. There was a number of terrific & very fun Steve & Martin-centric pieces in tonight’s episode as highly anticipated, and both of our hosts came off fun, funny, and energetic throughout the night. While there were a few things that didn’t work for me, they were thankfully kept at minimum. And aside from the two major highlights of the night (the monologue & [especially] A Christmas Carol), the rest of the show consisted of a number of pretty good sketches. And it goes without saying that the night had a lot of fun & Christmas-y vibes. Also, much like last season, the musical performances by Brandi Carlile were wonderful and added positively to the fun vibes of the night. So, not a perfect episode to me, but a fairly solid & consistent one.
My Favorite Moments of the Episode, Represented with Screencaps:
- Austin Butler hosts the Christmas show with the return of Lizzo as musical guest.
My full set of screencaps from this episode is here