***** = Excellent, a possible future classic
**** = Great
*** = Average
** = Meh
* = How'd this get past dress?
Cold Opening - Return of the Boston Teens
• I was actually (pleasantly) surprised to see this tonight. Beforehand, I thought that out of all of Jimmy’s recurring characters, this and Jarret’s Room would be the ones they definitely WOULDN’T have brought back tonight, because he, Dratch, and Sanz would be too old to still pull off high school/college student roles. Cleverly, the writers wrote that into this sketch by aging Jimmy and Rachel’s characters.
• Always nice to see the underrated Rachel Dratch back on the show. She looks like she hasn’t really aged at all since the days when they used to regularly do these Boston Teens sketches. Jimmy, on the other hand, has definitely noticeably aged a little bit since those days.
• Overall, a very strong Boston Teens sketch that immediately got tonight’s show started on a high note. This always used to be one of my favorite recurring sketches from the late 90s/early 00s era, partly because they never ran Boston Teens into the ground and they always shook things up in each installment to make them fresh and different - something that recurring sketches nowadays need to take some serious notes from.
• Now that we know Horatio Sanz was there tonight, it’s kinda strange that they didn’t have him appear in this as his Frankie character. Maybe they wanted to keep Horatio’s appearance later in the “I Wish It Was Christmas Todaaaaay-aaaay” song as a surprise. Plus, it would’ve been strange seeing him play his Frankie character anyway now that he’s so thin and has a beard.
Monologue - Jimmy Fallon
• Wow, this was freakin’ fantastic! As expected, Jimmy brought tons of energy and enthusiasm, and it was a lot of fun seeing the whole cast get involved with him. This kinda reminded me of an even more upbeat version of Mike Myers’ monologue from 1997.
• When the whole cast is dancing at the end, get a load of Taran in particular. He was going wild!
• Loved Jimmy’s self-deprecating line “I laughed and ruined all of those sketches” when reminiscing about some of the classic sketches from his era.
• It was cute how you could see Andy and Vanessa quickly sneaking by in the background shortly after their Jewish bit.
• I know Seth Meyers seldom appears with the rest of the cast anymore, but I’m surprised they didn’t work a quick appearance from him into this monologue. It would’ve been easy, plus he usually appears in the monologues whenever a former castmember hosts (such as in Tracy Morgan and Amy Poehler’s monologues).
Sketch - Today
• Another early sign that tonight’s episode was going to be great: a Today Show sketch that was actually... *gasp!*... tolerable?
• While this was far from anything great, I was surprised by how much I found myself actually chuckling tonight at Kristen’s Kathie Lee impression, which I usually can’t stand. She had some pretty clever insults tonight at Hoda’s expense, particularly the “electronic device boyfriend” jokes.
• As for Nasim taking over the Hoda role... whatever. I’m completely indifferent on Nasim as Hoda, just like I’m indifferent on Nasim in general these days. IMO, Michaela Watkins was the only one who did justice to the Hoda role (yes, I still kinda miss her).
• Strange how Jimmy didn’t appear until the very end of this, but then again, the hosts are usually always wasted in these Today Show sketches. Anyway, I was surprised to see Jimmy playing Regis, because I never knew before that he could do an impression of him. His Regis voice was pretty impressive; I’d argue that it’s actually more accurate than Darrell Hammond’s Regis.
Commercial - Michael Buble Christmas Duets
• A fun and nicely-executed impressions-showcase piece that featured much better writing than any of last week’s plethora of impressions-showcase sketches.
• All of Jimmy’s various impressions in this were hilarious, especially his Russell Brand. Not only did he imitate Brand’s voice perfectly, he also nailed Brand’s physical mannerisms and everything; fucking perfect! I’ve been waiting forever to see someone on SNL do a Russell Brand impression (I still want Bill Hader to play him in the future, though).
• My other favorites were Taran’s Scotty McCreery, Jay’s Kanye, and surprisingly Fred’s Thom Yorke (which is the most Fred has made me laugh all season).
• Abby’s Ke$ha is surprisingly bad; one of her weaker impressions. They couldn’t find any other singer for Abby to play here? It would’ve been kinda funny if she repised her Katy Perry impression for this, considering Katy Perry herself hosted last week and I always like it when SNL parodies recent guests they just had on.
Miscellaneous - Jimmy Fallon’s Mirror
• A nice callback to one of Jimmy’s best sketches ever, the Mick Jagger Mirror sketch.
• I remember hearing before that Andy did a Jimmy Fallon impression in his SNL audition, similar to how Jimmy himself famously did an Adam Sandler impression in his audition. Does this mean that a few years from now, a future castmember will do an Andy Samberg impression in his audition? THE TRADITION MUST STAY ALIVE, PEOPLE!
• That being said, Andy’s impression of Jimmy didn’t quite live up to the hype (bad wig, too; it looked more like Andy’s Mark Wahlberg wig). Still, Andy was funny and I can see what he was going for with the impression. I also got a good laugh from the bit where he tried to avoid doing the Seinfeld impression since he obviously couldn’t pull it off.
• You have no idea how happy I was when it was announced that there would be no Barry Gibb Talk Show sketch tonight. That sketch needs to be put to sleep for good; it’s run its course and was only classic the first time they did it.
• Since Jimmy and Andy both do a Nicolas Cage impression (Jimmy’s is slightly better, IMO), it would’ve made sense for them to work that into this sketch if it wasn’t for Andy doing the “Get in the Cage” segment on Weekend Update later in this episode.
Sketch - Don’t Make Me Sing
• No. Just... no. Not even the good vibes from this episode could make this awful sketch watchable. It only succeeded in slowing down the show’s momentum at this point.
Commercial - Half-Jewish Half-Italian Completely Neurotic
• At first, I thought Fred was reprising the same “one-man show” character he played years ago in that Drama Club School Announcements sketch from Dane Cook’s 2005 episode. I think Fred even wore the same Jew-fro wig in both sketches. His character from that School Announcements sketch was brilliant and hilarious, unlike whatever this unfunny mess was supposed to be.
• I didn’t care for this commercial at all. To me, it was on par with the typical sad garbage Fred puts out these days; almost entirely laughless. Fred is just a pale shadow of his former self now, and the huge contrast in quality between his one-man show character in ‘05 and his one-man show character tonight just proves that.
• Oh, and yep, I’ve read The Doc’s comment about me in his review of this sketch, and got a great laugh from that. You know me too well, Doc. You know me too well.
Miscellaneous - Seasons Greetings from Saturday Night Live
• Very nice to see this “I Wish It Was Christmas Today” song back, and it made me feel kinda nostalgic for the days when they did these regularly.
• It’s hard to explain why this sketch has always worked, as repetitive as it is. I think it’s the giddy/silly/jokey nature of these that makes it fun. For me, these sketches actually got better the more times they did it. I remember that the first two times they started doing these back in the 2000-01 season, I didn’t get it at all and was baffled that they ended up making it recurring. Then it soon grew on me and I ended up looking forward to whenever they would do these.
• This is the first time Horatio has appeared on SNL since his dramatic weight loss. He looks so much better now compared to his former SNL years, and it’s so weird to now see him the same size as Jimmy. Kattan, on the other hand, has not been aging well at all. It feels strange when you realize that Horatio is now thinner than both Kattan AND Tracy.
Weekend Update - Seth Meyers, featuring Nicolas Cage and Jude Law, Jimmy Fallon, Amy Poehler, and Tina Fey
• Best jokes: Poverty line
• The “Get in the Cage” segments are getting tired, but tonight’s had a few inspired moments such as the revelation that they were in the middle of filming a Nicolas Cage movie right then and there. Also, has anyone noticed that the celebrities who cameo in these “Get in the Cage” segments are always people who’ve hosted SNL in recent years (Jake Gyllenhaal, Bradley Cooper, and now Jude Law)? On that note, I predict Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will be the next celebrity to cameo in it.
• The Weekend Update Joke Off segment... wow! It was absolutely incredible seeing both Update teams of Fallon & Fey and Poehler & Meyers sitting side-by-side, competing against each other. The strip club jokes could’ve been better, but it doesn’t matter. It was just so much fun seeing all of them together and they were all clearly loving this. I also got some pretty good laughs from the various fake buzzer noises each of them would make when ringing in. Overall, this segment was a strong way to end Update tonight.
Sketch - Beethoven’s Symphony Orchestra
• An unusual experimental sketch that you can tell was written specifically for Jimmy. I can’t picture this same sketch being done with any other hosts.
• As strange and unconventional as this sketch was, I enjoyed it for the most part. It had a nice likeable laid-back tone and Jimmy did a great job carrying it.
• Out of all the castmembers playing the orchestra members, I’d say Paul Brittain was the funniest here, as the Hitler ancestor.
• You just KNEW they were gonna milk the interaction between Jimmy and Horatio here. I liked Jimmy’s comments about what a dick Horatio’s character is.
• The Triangle Sally bit actually bugged me. I know it was just a small part, but to me, it symbolized a lot of what’s wrong with how SNL’s writers use Kristen Wiig in general. Instead of just giving Kristen the same type of role the rest of the cast had in this, the writers just HAD to give Kristen her own out-of-place quick segment featuring her trying to “steal the show” by playing such an over-the-top hammy character that didn’t fit in with the rest of the sketch at all. It’s so forced. My point is, Kristen Wiig IS capable of playing subtle roles perfectly, but the SNL writers apparently aren’t aware of that.
• They couldn’t find a part for Jay Pharoah? He was the only castmember not included here.
Sketch - War Horse
• Another odd sketch, but also one that I enjoyed, even moreso than the Beethoven sketch.
• I liked the whole increasingly-silly nature of this, especially when they got to the point where the boy was replaced by a simple puppet held by Kenan.
• It was interesting seeing Jimmy starring in this type of sketch, because he didn’t usually do oddball roles like this back when he was a castmember.
• Jason singing the theme song for the play while Jimmy was doing the Robot in the background was absolutely hilarious. I’m laughing just thinking about that part.
• As usual, Taran Killam has the great ability to make a small role memorable. I got a big laugh from his fading delivery of the line “GOOD LUCK, ENGLISH BOYYYYYYyyyyyyyyyy........” as he walked away.
Sketch - Tim Tebow Meets Jesus
• Ever since spoilers about this sketch came out earlier this week, I was really looking forward to this and knew it would be a great sketch. I was not let down. A great concept for a topical sketch, backed up by solid performances and clever writing.
• At first, it seemed strange that Jimmy wasn’t in this, but it makes sense in retrospect now that we know the goodnights were held at the Rockefeller skating rink. Jimmy wouldn’t have had enough time to get from the final sketch to the beginning of the goodnights in time, thus why they ended the show with a host-less sketch.
• I particularly liked Taran’s over-eagerness in interacting with Jesus, and Jesus constantly having to tell him “Easy, boy”.
• Overall, a strong end to what is easily one of the best episodes of the season so far.
• Boston Teens
• Tim Tebow Meets Jesus
• Michael Buble Christmas Duets
• War Horse
• the Weekend Update Joke Off segment
• Don’t Make Me Sing
• One-Man Show
Best Performer of the Night:
• Jimmy Fallon
CASTMEMBER / HOST COUNT DOWN
ARMISEN: 5 sketches (Monologue, Buble Duets, Don’t Make Me Sing, One-Man Show, Beethoven)
ELLIOTT: 5 sketches (Boston Teens, Monologue, Buble Duets, Don’t Make Me Sing, Beethoven)
HADER: 5 sketches (Monologue, Don’t Make Me Sing, One-Man Show, Beethoven, War Horse)
MEYERS: 1 sketch (Update)
MOYNIHAN: 5 sketches (Boston Teens, Monologue, Today, One-Man Show, Beethoven)
PEDRAD: 4 sketches (Monologue, Today, Buble Duets, Beethoven)
SAMBERG: 7 sketches (Monologue, Jimmy’s Mirror, Don’t Make Me Sing, Update, Beethoven, War Horse, Tim Tebow)
SUDEIKIS: 4 sketches (Monologue, Beethoven, War Horse, Tim Tebow)
THOMPSON: 4 sketches (Monologue, Beethoven, War Horse, Tim Tebow)
WIIG: 6 sketches (Monologue, Today, Buble Duets, Don’t Make Me Sing, Beethoven, War Horse)
BAYER: 3 sketches (Monologue, One-Man Show, Beethoven)
BRITTAIN: 3 sketches (Monologue, Update, Beethoven)
KILLAM: 6 sketches (Boston Teens, Monologue, Buble Duets, Beethoven, War Horse, Tim Tebow)
PHAROAH: 3 sketches (Monologue, Buble Duets, Tim Tebow)
JIMMY FALLON: 10 sketches (Boston Teens, Monologue, Today, Buble Duets, Jimmy’s Mirror, Don’t Make Me Sing, Seasons Greetings from SNL, Update, Beethoven, War Horse)