Cold Opening: I guess we’ll be seeing a lot more of Beck Bennett (aka, the new voice of Launchpad on the upcoming DuckTales reboot) as Vladimir Putin, given the new and horrifying political climate. It’s a nice change from the usual Donald/Kellyanne dynamic, especially because I wish the show would do more to parody her. She’s done some things that are worth ridiculing, but her role continues to be the horrified, forced-ally of Trump. It’s a way to keep Kate McKinnon in the spotlight, but is it really making the best use of her considerable comedic talents?
In other news, John Goodman is the first cameo of the episode, making an appearance as Rex Tillerson. I would say that Alec earned that role with his political appearance, but he’s basically a recurring cast member at this point.
Monologue: Casey came off as rather awkward, but I’m not sure if that was part of the joke or not. In any case, it’s no Jimmy Fallon singing about Christmas, but it was okay. Alec Baldwin and John Goodman appeared again, so that's something. You can watch it here.
Dunkin’ Donuts: I guess these are the kind of people who frequent Dunkin’ Donuts. Well, there’s one sponsor that’s not going to be on NBC anymore. I kid, the commercial parody is really funny, taking the ‘actual customers’ promise to its logical conclusion, with a rowdy, rough housing jerk.
Robot Presentation: YES, Fred Armisen. I feel like it’s season thirty-seven again. Seriously, couldn’t he have hosted? In any case, I see what they were trying to do with this sketch. It’s progressive, but intentionally awkward. Beck Bennett, clad in makeup that makes him look creepy, plays a gay robot, making Casey Affleck’s character uncomfortable. It’s a by-the-numbers sketch, but it’s not bad. I do have to question why the presenters outed one of the other robots at the end, though. Come on, be nice! Robots have feelings, too. You can watch it here.
Jingle Barack: Kenan Thompson and Chance the Rapper singing, Jesus breakdancing, and marriage equality. I’ll miss President Barack Obama and this shows that the SNL cast and crew will, too. It’s a really catchy video and a great tribute to boot.
Christmas Miracle: Happy holidays, everyone. SNL gives us the gift of the third appearance of Ms. Rafferty, the most unlucky person ever to have a supernatural encounter. It’s really just an excuse for Kate McKinnon to do some weird voices, but let’s be honest, do we really need an excuse to have that happen? Hey, TBS, if you need another recurring character on People Of Earth, I recommend Ms. Rafferty.
Chance The Rapper Performance #1- “Finish Line/Drown”: I don’t know a lot about musicians in general, so I had to look up the name of the song on Wikipedia. I like it. It’s soothing.
Weekend Update: This edition featured some scathing burns from Colin and Michael. If this is going to be the second to last episode before the inauguration of an evil sentient Cheeto, then they’re going to get some solid burns in. Similar to Fred Armisen’s appearance, I enjoyed seeing him return to the Update desk with Vanessa Bayer as part of the recurring “Two Best Friends…” bit. You can watch it here, here, and here.
New York Now: Was I supposed to be laughing at the in-universe, cheesy comedy group? I just found it to be boring, to be honest. The highlight of the piece was the brief part with some of the performers being so focused on her work that she was neglecting her teenage son. I think it would have been funnier with more of a contrast between the very moral group making a comedic sitcom take on the birth of Jesus and their children wreaking havoc in the background. You can watch it here.
Hillary Actually: This proves it, Kate’s Hillary Clinton impression is just as funny when she’s completely silent. I’m not saying that this was a last-minute plea from SNL to the electoral college to vote for Hillary Clinton, but I’m not saying that it wasn’t, either.
Chance The Rapper Performance #2- “Same Drugs”: Once again, I liked it. I should look up more of his work. You can watch it here.
Mrs. Claus & The Elves: Ugh, I’ve never liked this sketch. I just find it creepy, rather than funny. I know why people like it, but it’s just not my kind of humor. If you want to, you can watch it here.
Christmas Bar: To quote a certain velvety-voiced fictional newscaster, that escalated quickly. An awkward meetup with a stereotypical Brooklyn turns into a knife fight, with everyone doing the same bad impression. Is Brooklyn made up of a hive mind? SNL is in New York, so are they actually delivering a warning message about aliens through comedy? Wait, maybe they’re impersonating Woody Allen, which makes it go to more levels of creepiness, given the recent allegations against Casey Affleck. Anyway, it wasn’t the strongest sketch to end an episode on, but it wasn’t awful. You can watch it here.
Overall Thoughts: I’ve always had a soft spot for the Christmas episodes. They have a sense of happiness and joy. Thankfully, this year was no exception. Filled with some quality guest stars and a ton of great sketches, it definitely made for a memorable episode. I just hope that the political situation will be better when the show returns on January 14th, with Felicity Jones as the host. Save us, electoral college, you’re our only hope.
Zachary Krishef is an evil genius. Do not question his knowledge of Saturday Night Live trivia or Harry Potter books.