Cold Opening – It’s A Wonderful Trump
- Funny seeing a parody of the classic movie, as I quite recently saw the first John Goodman episode, which had a parody of It’s A Wonderful Life with Dana doing his great Jimmy Stewart while portraying a random politician as its cold open.
- Man, even the title of the parody feels so mailed-in, half-assed, and hacky. Hey, you can say the same thing about SNL’s general writing of most of these cold opens, but I digress…
- Alec’s Trumpwin has really gone off the rails; it’s even more half-assed than usual throughout this cold open. I’m also not really caring for Kenan’s performance as Clarence. He’s got nothing on Darrell Hammond’s excellent take.
- This use of Heidi Gardner just standing there looking pretty, with a model-esque pose, is the biggest waste of her talents in quite possibly her whole SNL tenure.
- And I thought Heidi was wasted here, but that’s NOTHING compared to the very hacky cutaway to Beck-as-Pence being “himself” which is yet another hacky gay joke about him.
- Man, this cold open is TERRIBLE so far. Absolutely unwatchable. Where the hell is the comedy supposed to be coming from here?!
- Ah, Matt Damon comes back reprising his epic Kavanaugh impression, and you KNOW he’ll elevate this wretched cold opening.
- The nicknames for some of Matt’s Kavanuagh pals being “Needle Dick Nick” and “No Means Yes Nate” is fantastic and is giving me my first big laughs here.
- And now Matt had to duck out to get ready for the monologue and De Niro, the antithesis of Matt’s natural charisma and genuine funniness, has now appeared. Get me the fuck out of this cold opening already.
Rating: *1/2 (The latter for Matt’s Kavanugh)
- Matt Damon is already coming off so likable here; you can even hear in his voice how grateful he is to host the Christmas episode. I was never that big a fan of Matt Damon’s movie career, but I’ve always adored watching him in his hosting stints and cameos on SNL.
- Funny joke from Matt saying his last time hosting was 16 years ago (which is unfathomable), which was five Jason Bournes ago.
- Priceless, silly bit with Matt mentioning that his first time hosting was Fred Armisen’s first episode and his second Beck’s last, complete with a cutaway to a surprised reaction from Beck.
- Love Matt’s whole bit about not worrying if he sucks in his hosting job tonight, as he doesn’t have a movie to promote that could suffer.
- Really sweet story from Matt about staying up late with his brother watching SNL at his dad’s house, and laughing even when not getting all the jokes, due to that there’s no better thing than laughing alongside those whom you love. I always get emotional watching this part of this monologue, especially when Matt brings up his children and wife. Call me a softie, but these types of heartfelt monologues, instead of silly dancing or goofy faces, are always some of my favorites; Jason Sudeikis’ monologue from season 47 was in the same vein as well.
- Wonderful, funny, and heartfelt monologue as a whole. Matt is already coming off the perfect host.
85th Annual Westminster Daddy Show
- While this sketch may come off like a groanworthy concept at the beginning (in a season rife with groanworthy sketch concepts so far), it is actually being presented in a fun, self-aware way that makes it comes off much better.
- Matt & Kate’s comments as the “daddies” are being examined are very funny, especially how straitlaced they’re coming off. Matt’s anchor delivery is stronger & funnier than I thought it would be, which shows you what a great fit he is for SNL’s awards/pageant show sketches.
- The “Berkeley Tweedy Daddy” segment is hilarious, especially the priceless way Alex & Kenan ran around the set after being introduced.
- Aidy’s facial expressions as the examiner of the “daddies” throughout the sketch are funny and underrated, especially the whole section with Chris’ wallet.
Best Christmas Ever
- Yet another one of those “calm vs chaotic scenes” shorts from this era.
- Matt’s presence is bringing a nice, realistic feel to this short, and Cecily’s good here, though I don’t feel most of the cutaways are as funny as the ones in the Amy Schumer episode from the previous season nor the upcoming short from the Emma Thompson episode later in this season.
- Ok, the whole racist against whites crazy argument was pretty funny.
- Sweet ending.
- The premise of this sketch reminds me of the (underrated) ornaments sketch the show did in the Lucy Liu-hosted Christmas episode back in 2000.
- It’s fun seeing the cast playing such roles, and this sketch is so perfect for a Christmas episode. This isn’t as “cute” as it could’ve been, but fun and an interesting way to present a sketch.
- Ha, how many times will Beck be playing Santa this season?
- Fun seeing Matt reprising his Good Will Hunting character. It reminds me of how much I loved that movie, though it’s been so many years since I last saw it.
- Ok, I’m sure I did not need Kate doing her Giuliani, though it was thankfully brief enough not to derail this sketch.
- The hilarious cutaway to Mikey as Harry Potter steals this entire sketch for me, as is the funny voice he’s using.
- Pretty good, charming sketch as a whole.
Oscars Host Auditions
- Unlike many of these, I have really no memory of this impressions parade short.
- Ego is perfect casting as Tiffany Haddish, and while she’s not nailing the voice, she definitely nails Haddish’s general vibe.
- Great Chris Hemsworth impression from Matt, though I hoped his scene would go on a little longer.
- I’m not finding myself laughing much at most of the impressions here.
- You have a strong impressionist like Melissa, and you have her trotting out an old impression of hers instead of having her debut one or two new ones?
- At least Chris’ Kanye is always very dead-on and it’s nice to see Chris being actually used in something, considering how invisible he’s been this season.
- Matt’s Matthew McConaughey impression is absolutely fantastic. I recall hearing he did it originally on several talk shows years before this hosting stint. He’s also really nailing how self-indulgent, annoying, and way-over-his-head McConaughey generally is.
- Overall, very hit-or-miss piece. I found a lot of the impressions to be either been-there-done-that or not that good. This short also shows how generally weak a lot of this era’s cast is when it comes to impressions, aside from Kate, Cecily, and Melissa. (Beck & Alex are solid impressionists, but they were nowhere to be found in this short.)
- A sketch with Cecily as a washed-up lounge singer, complete with a lisping sidekick played by tonight’s host? I don’t even need to ask which certain writer wrote this sketch.
- What a snoozefest this sketch is; where the hell are the laughs here?! I really try hard with these solo Cecily sketches, but they almost always come off both extremely dull and completely D.O.A. (Reminding me of a huge gripe I’ve been having with Bowen Yang’s sketches in more recent SNL seasons.)
- Matt is solid here, and he’s providing me with my only enjoyment so far.
- This is the first sketch I hated since way back in the cold opening, which shows you how well tonight’s episode been doing at least.
- Why are we making a joke about the Trump inauguration crowd? That happened almost two full years prior to this episode’s airing. Surprised that Trump, who threw a fit by the way over the cold opening before this episode finished airing, didn’t respond to this joke from Colin.
- I’m surprisingly not caring for a number of the jokes here so far.
- That’s the end of Mikey’s Wes segment? The punchline was nowhere near as funny as last time, though Mikey performed it decently as always.
- The Sex Island joke is hilarious, especially Colin commenting on how awkward it is to make such a joke. This is the very first genuinely strong moment in this Update.
- Great seeing Heidi’s Angel back. I remember thinking (like everybody else) that this is the character’s final appearance, before her very surprising return in the Michael B. Jordan episode in season 48.
- Coming off as no surprise, Matt is excellent as Angel’s boyfriend, and this is a good use of his knack of nailing Boston-accented characters.
- Matt is fantastic in his interactions with Heidi and is coming off so convincing and once again, bringing realism to SNL; him surprising Angel by telling her she’s pregnant was a great and a fitting way for this character to bow out temporarily.
- Yes! Joke swap time! I remember this edition being especially priceless.
- The racist Nigerian President joke is absolutely classic and stands out as probably second to me from these joke swap bits after the Scarlett Johansson/Sammy Davis Jr. joke. The mock-shocked reaction from Che afterwards is the icing on the cake.
- I love the continuation of these delightfully offensive jokes, as Colin’s bit about what he’s about to say coming from his heart and not the cue cards is hilarious.
- A hugely popular sketch from this season, and, our second & I believe last Eli Coyote Mandel-written sketch, after his epic Career Day debut from the season premiere.
- Unlike many other rock bands from the 90s/early 00s, I’m not too familiar with Weezer’s discography outside of their Blue Album (which I thought was fantastic), but this sketch definitely still is working for me, and has one solid line after the other.
- Leslie is excellent here, and this sketch is a perfect use of how well she manages to display her anger & aggressive energy in a funny way; it takes a lot to hold yourself in front of Matt Damon. This is easily her finest performance up to this point in her run, in my eyes.
- Great ending.
- While I’m beyond sick of his constant cameos as Trumpwin, Alec is always solid on SNL outside of that role.
- Nice to see a slice-of-life sketch by this point in SNL’s run. The Christmas setting at the same time adds even more layers of realism to this already-grounded sketch.
- The cast is decent at playing tough cops, but Matt & Alec are really shining more than the others, even when Alec’s using a voice I know he used before.
- Could’ve done it without the background music, but the sentimental gifts turn is good and well-performed.
- Speaking of shining, Cecily’s always so good playing tough cops, as I’m now reminded of her excellent La La Land interrogation sketch.
- I’m not sure about the goofy wife shooting turn near the end, as I feel it’s kinda ruining this sketch’s momentum, but it’s being decently executed.
- Good ending.
Happy Christmas, Britain
- Oh, god. I can already tell this is going to be one of those “Yas Kween” Kate sketches. I sure hope it isn’t, as the likes of Theresa May most certainly don’t deserve that kind of praise.
- Geez. I forgot Aidy played Elton John once before, and now she has a random walk-on in this one as well. Hey, I’ll take her bizarre non-impression over a Horatio Sanz cameo any day.
- This isn’t as weak as I remember, but I am having a hard time understanding where the political satire is supposedly coming from.
- Pretty funny appearance from Mikey as Lord Voldemort, though the voice he’s doing needs some work. It sounded spot-on at the start, but trailed off a bit afterwards.
- This sketch gets immediately cut off due to the show running out of time.
Cut For Time: Glitter Litter Automatic Litter
- I’ve never seen this cut commercial before doing this review. I believe it’s one of the few, if not only SNL piece that I didn’t see since starting watching the show regularly with the premiere of the 40th season.
- A low-brow, cheap premise that reminds me of the classic Litter Critters commercial from the late 90s/early 00s era (SNL’s finest era for fake ads, in my eyes), but I hope this one stands on its own and not come off derivative.
- I’m enjoying the adorable cat visuals, as a cat lover & owner, but where are the laughs here so far?
- Now Matt just put on a grill made of cat poop into his mouth with a big smile. You can’t make this stuff up, folks.
- All-in-all, a big disappointment. I’m all in for SNL doing as many forms of humor as possible in a given episode, but this piece had no legs to stand on aside from the initial shock factor; Matt’s commitment was the only thing I got from this (and the cuteness of the cats).
Segments Ranked From Best to Worst
85th Annual Westminster Daddy Show
Best Christmas Ever
Oscars Host Auditions
Happy Christmas, Britain
It’s A Wonderful Trump
CFT: Glitter Litter Automatic Litter
- A solid Christmas episode, with very warm, nice vibes throughout the night. While there wasn’t (to me) any flat-out classic sketches tonight in contrast to several other Christmas episodes from this era, there was an impressive number of solid highlights, with several of them being really strong. The lowlights, as mercifully minimum as they were, will sadly hurt this episode’s rating average much like the previous episode, though by hopefully not as much.
- Matt Damon was a fantastic host, effortless in his performances and coming off like an honorary cast member; he impressively appeared in every single segment tonight, which is an incredibly rare thing to accomplish, and he absolutely nailed all of his roles, even in the weaker segments of the night. I remain absolutely baffled how this man never became a five-timer, considering both his iconic career and how damn strong he always is on SNL.
- Rachel Brosnahan / Greta Van Fleet. I’m taking a hiatus before doing this episode to take care of some things around the blog & real-life, but I hope it won’t be long (and certainly far less than my previous two months hiatus). It’s for the blog’s & my own benefit, so I hope you all understand that. Thanks.