Published Dec 17, 2017A couple of highlights, a game performance from Kevin Hart and the always affable Foo Fighters can't save a fairly mediocre Saturday Night Live Christmas show. Here's how it all went down.
We open with Trump (Alec Baldwin) and Melania (Cecily Strong) with a Christmas message from the White House and a greatest hits of SNL Trump jokes, barely propped up by Baldwin's increasingly tired impression. They invite friends in to hang ornaments of the "haters and losers" from the year: Kellyanne Conway (Kate McKinnon) hangs a Comey ornament; Mike Pence (Beck Bennet) has a Mike Flynn; and Ivanka (pop-in Scarlett Johannson) hangs Roy Moore. Omarosa (Leslie Jones) bangs on the window trying to get in before Elf on the Shelf Jeff Sessions (McKinnon again) kicks his tiny feet from the edge of the mantelpiece. In the parade of familiar impressions and targets, Alex Moffat's Eric Trump remains the funniest, but this was a predictable start.
With a standup as host, the monologue is a reliable high point; three-time host and apparent star of the Jumanji movie, Kevin Hart, killed with a chunk about young babies. The dad lamented arguing with two-year-olds, aged dads and being in charge of fun and made for a great start to the show.
This pre-tape commercial parody is selling Pandora charms as a way to take one tiny aspect of your wife's life and turning it into jewellery: a tiny coffee cup, nurse's hat or dress and can become a default gift for every occasion. At a party, women gathered in the corner reveal that they gave a motorcycle and a threesome and got these. A pretty limp effort.
Kevin Hart is in a business meeting and fakes a family emergency in order to go to the bathroom. When his co-workers acknowledge that they know — because he does the same thing at the same time every day for eight minutes — he resists and tries to carry on with the meeting. The simple premise is totally carried by Hart's performance as he strains against nature; a flop sweat device is overkill when you compare it to the comedic subtlety of Hart slowly duck-walking out of the room having shat his pants.
Captain Shadow and Cardinal
Hart and Chris Redd play superheroes who get harassed by the cops for having secret identities, driving an unlicensed armoured car and living in a cave with a teenage boy. What seems like is going in a police harassment direction turns when they find Captain Shadow's bag of white "energy dust." Redd dancing and hype-sidekicking in the background made this a lot of fun.
Inside the NBA
Kevin Hart's Shaq is the target of ridicule from Kenan Thompson's Charles Barkley in a parody of basketball's best halftime show that closely resembled the real thing. The surprise when Hart rose on stilts brought this to another level, capped by Kenan's quip that with the long body and short arms, he looked like the letter F come to life.
A reliable rock institution that appear ready to take over the Tom Petty mantle of a band that few people work up a strong negative opinion about, the Foo Fighters offered up inoffensive new single "Sky is a Neighbourhood," then closed the show (in lieu of a 12:55 sketch) with a medley of "Everlong," "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" and some rocking out on Vince Guaraldi's "Charlie Brown Christmas" theme.
The news continues to offer up easy lobs for Colin Jost and Michael Che to hit into solid singles and doubles in their regular news segment. After a joke about the firing of White House aide(?) Omarosa, she shows up (in the form of Leslie Jones) to insist that she quit, then gets escorted out. Alex Moffat shows up as the guy who just bought a boat and unleashes a filthy torrent of X-mas-rated puns peppered with confessions about his own inadequacy: "Mistletoe leads to cameltoe and medically speaking, my missile is a toe." A shorter than unusual offering in a week when the host team were promoted to co-head writers.
Live Llama Nativity
At a community theatre production of the nativity, a live llama has been brought in, but fearing repercussions, the wise men are outfitted in protective gear a goggles and shout "ja-ee" (llama for "be cool") at it. When the llama becomes aroused, they hold a blanket in front of it, which gets an enthusiastic response from audience member Leslie Jones. This sketch was dumb and bad.
Gene (Hart) is the subordinate husband of Crystal (Jones), a couple attending a Christmas party; she humiliates him in front of everyone, including making him molest a giant teddy bear. The joke that he turns out to be everyone's boss can't save this dud.
"Active Jack" is a '70s-era kids exercise show starring Hart that's funky and catchy enough to be authentic; when PBS brings back the original cast (in the form of Kenan Thompson), the gag is that it's been 45 years and they can't do the exercises anymore. Yep.
The cast said their goodbyes on skates from the rink at Rockefeller Center. Moffat, Thompson and McKinnon looked to be the best skaters.