After a bit of a stumble with Cameron Diaz and taking a week off for Thanksgiving, Saturday Night Live was back in action with The Interview‘s James Franco as host and Nicki Minaj as musical guest. From a strong cold open and Weekend Update to ridiculous sketches that even Franco had a hard time not laughing at, last night’s episode proved to be a highlight of the season so far. Let’s look at some of the best sketches of the night!
Politics Nation Cold Open
Kicking the night off was the always strong Keenan Thompson as Al Sharpton on his show Politics Nation. Diving into the failure to indict either of the police officers who killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner, this was a preview of things to come as this episode did not shy away from the topic.
James Franco Monologue
I have to say, I love James Franco, mostly because he’s always good for a laugh and is absolutely not afraid to have fun at his own expense or play with his public persona. In response to the hacking scandal that rocked Sony this past week — some believe as a response from North Korea to Franco and Seth Rogen’s new movie The Interview — Franco was joined by Rogen to preemptively disclose some information about the pair that would most likely be coming to light any minute now…
Peter Pan Live!
Peter Pan Live! was heavily tweeted about upon airing last week and Saturday Night Live took the opportunity to point out only some of the sillier points of the show. Allison Williams looks like a beautiful young lady, no matter how short her haircut was, Christopher Walken was covered in ridiculous make-up and mostly talked his way through his performance, and SNL also had a little fun with Tinkerbell as they introduced a new character called “Tonkerbell” (Aidy Bryant). By the way, mega points for the Fern Gully reference.
Star Wars Teaser
Points to the sketch “Star Wars Teaser” for having a little fun at the generation gap between the original Star Wars movies and cast and the hot, young stars of JJ Abrams’ upcoming The Force Awakens. Lightsaber walker made me giggle.
Jingle Ballerz Special
Nicki Minaj made her first sketch appearance of the night (she later played Kim Kardashian on Update) as Beyoncé in the MTV-produced Jingle Ballerz Christmas Special. Join Beyoncé, Rihanna (Sasheer Zamata), Eminem (Taran Killam), Riff Raff (James Franco), Rick Ross (Kenan Thompson), Justin Bieber (Kate McKinnon), and Kanye West (Jay Pharoah) in the Hip-Hop Nativity.
Update, a big sticking point for me so far this season, was the strongest it has been in a while featuring some pointed commentary and crowd pleasing guests including Bobby Moynihan as Anthony Crispino, Leslie Jones and her thoughts on 420Singles.com, and the aforementioned Minaj as Kim Kardashian.
In what was one of the sillier sketches of the night, James Franco plays a defeated political candidate for mayor. Defeated by a four-year-old, Franco’s Tad Rankin screams, cries and throws a tantrum over his defeat. The sketch got so ridiculous that even Franco had trouble keeping a straight face the whole time.
Porn Stars with James Franco and Seth Rogen
Finally, one of the most ridiculous reoccurring sketches was back when Franco and Seth Rogen joined Brecky (Vanessa Bayer) and her still unnamed friend (Cecily Strong) who aren’t porn stars anymore to sell Sunseeker Yachts.
SNL returns next week with host Martin Freeman and musical guest Charli XCX.