'SNL' Had Its Best Show This Season Thanks to Steve Martin, Martin Short and Brandi Carlile

December 10, 2022

Photo: Mary Ellen Matthews / NBC

BY Vish KhannaPublished Dec 11, 2022

With Steve Martin and Martin Short ready to be playful and dark for some well-written sketches, Brandi Carlile rising to the occasion again as musical guest, and cameos by Selena Gomez and Kieran Culkin, Saturday Night Live had its best show of the season. Here's everything that happened this week.

The Cold Open

Bowen Yang, Cecily Strong, and Kenan Thompson appeared in formal wear to sing us a song about blocking out one's problems until after Christmas. The dark tune about repression and anxiety also featured Sarah Sherman and Ego Nwodim, and went into humorous topical critiques of the likes of Elon Musk and Adolf Hitler, all of which was rather strong in its sarcasm.

The Monologue

Comedy icons Steve Martin and Martin Short hit the stage and got right into their faux animosity, comparing the lopsided number of hosting turns between them. They continued with some perfectly timed and sharp jabs at each other and others, which culminated with each of them sharing the eulogies they'd penned for the other in the event of their deaths, which was hilarious, holy shit. So many great jokes delivered by two masters (and their writers), with a brief cameo by their Only Murders in the Building costar Selena Gomez — this was excellent.

Science Room

Martin and Short played the hosts of a PBS Kids show called Science Room, whose guests — young, not-so-bright kids played by Cecily Strong and Mikey Day — could not answer the simplest questions or participate in any exercise without flustering the hosts. This was funny.

please don't destroy: Chelsea

The pdd boys got into some awkward business when John got back together with his ex-girlfriend. The surreal friction kept escalating with a cameo from the hosts and also Sarah Sherman's actual dad. Good, frenetic stuff, as usual.

The Holiday Train

In an old-timey setting, a musical train ride to Buffalo featured Martin, Short, Cecily Strong and Kenan Thompson, who sang a whimsical song about seeing snow for the first time. As it happened, things were not all that they seemed, and this funny piece gave us an odd twist.

Santa and Sprinkles

Martin and Short played a mall Santa and elf, respectively, and greeted kids with Christmas wishes. Things went a bit askew, because Sprinkles (or Pringles?) was such a small ball of concentrated rage, and then the pair also developed an unrequited need for speed. This was chaotically amusing.

A Christmas Carol

In this remote depiction of the Dickens classic, Short played Scrooge, having just awoken from a visit from three spirits with the intention of doing good. Sadly, Scrooge began mutilating and killing small children with each coin he tossed their way (including Sarah Sherman, who maybe had a hand in writing this, as it seemed to fit her aesthetic), which was a gruesomely bloody spin on the holiday classic, and garnered some shocked laughs.

Brandi Carlile

A powerhouse, Brandi Carlile brought an element of surprise to her second episode as the musical guest. Giving new definition to a familiar quiet-loud-quiet dynamic, Carlile revisited her 2007 song, "The Story," playing a sunburst acoustic Gibson and, just as her band and a string section built the song up enough, Carlile swapped her folksy strumming and picking for a Jimmy Page-looking Les Paul and got chugging. Capped off by an astonishing a cappella display, Carlile stood out on SNL once again.

For "You and Me on the Rock," Carlile and her band, including members of Lucius, channeled her hero and friend Joni Mitchell with a lovely and sunny song of romantic devotion, which was charming and inspired.

Weekend Update

Colin Jost began by ridiculing Kyrsten Sinema's decision to leave the Democratic Party, while Michael Che made an amazing Herschel Walker joke and a darker one about Vice President Kamala Harris. Che ridiculed Jost's acting during a same-sex marriage bit, while Jost got into the World Cup by criticizing Qatar's human rights record.

Che made an amazing Kyrie Irving flat-Earther dig and then introduced Mary Anne Louise Fischer, a frantic, chaotic shopper played by Ego Nwodim, who had some duplicitous and outlandish tips for everyone wanting to get the upper hand this shopping season.

Jost gleefully reported on Chris Christie's niece's recent on-flight altercation and then made a joke about a woman who brought three buckets of faeces to a police station. Chloe Fineman and Mikey Day played Kurt and Deb from Wyoming, a couple who offered sex and relationship advice. This was just a platform for Fineman to do a number of celebrity micro-impressions, including Jost's wife, Scarlett Johansson, all of which wasn't really that great.

How to Treat Your Man

Short played this show's host, Minky Carmichael, who, along with his sidekick, Heidi Gardner's Jen Fonger-Bhang, doled out questionably harsh and sleazy advice to women who don't know how to please their men. After a series of roast-like one-liners and strange dances by Carmichael, things took a turn when Cecily Strong played an ex, who revealed some strange physiological secrets about Minky. This was very 12:55 a.m., but 20 minutes earlier than usual.

Father of the Bride Part 8

Martin engaged in a parody of one of his biggest film franchises, Father of the Bride, which also featured Short as a foreigner of indiscernible descent. Fully loaded, with Fineman playing Diane Keaton and cameos by Kieran Culkin (who actually appeared in the original film series) and Selena Gomez, this was a bit of technical mess in terms of direction, but it was nostalgic and funny.

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