Saturday Night Live: Billie Eilish December 11, 2021

Saturday Night Live: Billie Eilish December 11, 2021
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Saturday Night Live celebrated Kate McKinnon's first appearance this season by leaning on her heavily, and Billie Eilish was an endearingly great host and musical guest. Here's everything that happened on SNL this week.
 
The cold open
 
Kate McKinnon made her first appearance on SNL this season, impersonating Dr. Anthony Fauci providing an update on his handling of communications around the COVID-19 pandemic. Fauci threw to several dramatizations covering informational and misinformational aspects about vaccines and sociocultural issues. Some good work by various cast members here, who mostly paired up for 15-30 second bits, which were all rather funny in their own ways, and made for a brisk, good open.
 
The monologue

Dressed "like Mrs. Claus going to the club," Billie Eilish poked some fun at her penchant for oversized clothing and got into her family's history as aspiring filmmakers. She discussed her mother's attempts to write a film script, with preferential treatment for her son, FINNEAS, which inspired a funny walk-on by her mom herself. Eilish also made light of her youth, which provided an opportunity to make fun of Colin Jost and her mom again in a warm, amusing monologue.
 
Creepy Christmas Cards

Alex Moffat played a husband who returned home to discover his wife, played by Melissa Villaseñor, has decorated their fridge with a billion Christmas cards. In a cool concept, each of the cards came to life with cast members and the actual Miley Cyrus, playing the kind of weird, passive aggressive people who send out Christmas cards with their photos on them. Some really good writing here.
 
TikTok Scroll

Mimicking a random scroll through the varied algorithmic TikTok landscape, this parade of bits and parodies was okay, but also nothing here really popped. The recurring ones weren't particularly worth a revisit, so, despite its quick pace and an appearance by FINNEAS, this fleeting thing plodded along to its conclusion.
 
Nativity Pageant

Heidi Gardner and Eilish played church organizers hoping to modernize a nativity production by incorporating hip-hop. Very physical and silly with "pimp walk" employed like a chant, this was short and fine.

Lonely Christmas

In this rather amazing remote, Eilish played a teen who spotted a lonely looking older woman named Margaret (Kate McKinnon) through her window in the apartment complex across from hers. Warmly exchanging signs, the good-natured teen invited Margaret over to Christmas dinner, but was increasingly unnerved by Margaret's creepy messages and the sight of her emaciated, sickly-looking son (Mikey Day). This was like a mostly silent version of Rear Window and was very well done.
 
Billie Eilish

Introduced by her parents, Elish appeared onstage as though sitting in a living room. The walls behind her soon parted to reveal the audience behind her and a staging trick that revealed that the camera was actually on the stage with Eilish, facing out front. What followed was "Happier Than Ever," a folk-country ballad that morphed into a powerful, alt-rock throw down, featuring FINNEAS on guitar(s) and a drummer, which vaguely recalled Nirvana or, perhaps more closely, first-wave Weezer. It was quite impressive.


In a more subdued setting, with window blinds and a sad, Charlie Brown Christmas tree behind them, Eilish again sang beautifully, accompanied only by her brother on acoustic guitar. Unpretentious and singing wonderfully, "Male Fantasy" was another stunning side of the multi-talented artist.


Weekend Update

Colin Jost began with some riffing on the Jussie Smollett verdict and Donald Trump and the anniversary of the January 6 insurrection. Michael Che got some big laughs for joking about the Omicron variant spreading at an anime convention, and later introduced Punkie Johnson to do some sit-down standup about going to New Orleans for Christmas. This was the most spirited and performative Johnson has ever appeared on SNL, adopting an attitude and stance that made her seem like a totally different person than we've seen on the show before.
 

Che kind of biffed a bad Jeffrey Epstein joke but still got a laugh, while Jost introduced Andrew Dismukes for a segment about his love of animals. Dressed in tiger makeup, Dismukes introduced us to Bongo the predictive octopus, who was meant to predict the winner of a football game, but instead predicted Dismukes would be dead within seven days. When the uncooperative Taco the Talking Dog appeared to show off his math skills, he instead expressed remorse about Dismukes' impending death, which was darkly funny.
 
The Night I Met Santa

In an old-timey kind of musical revue, Eilish played Leslie D, backed up by Kate McKinnon and Ego Nwodim, as she led them through a song about an odd encounter with Santa Claus. Eilish sounded beautiful here, like a throat-y 1950s torch singer, and the song itself, all about how the three singers "made it weird with Santa," was very funny, cracking Eilish up a bit.

Kyle's Holiday

In this remote, Aidy Bryant and Punkie Johnson are having a conversation when they're awkwardly interrupted by Kyle Mooney. It was the first of a few strange encounters Mooney had with Bowen Yang and a SNL page. Eilish ran into Mooney and talked some sense into him about what Christmas joy is all about, which seems to work out well for everyone except Mikey Day.
 
Business Garden Inn & Suites & Hotel Room Inn

Eilish and Kate McKinnon played two stilted hotel spokespeople, promoting a crappy hotel chain. McKinnon got to Eilish, who could not handle her performance and lost it several times, which McKinnon seized on, hamming it up, and FINNEAS returned for a great cameo. All told, very well done.