Jason Momoa commits fully to so many ridiculous characters in a brilliantly sharp holiday-themed episode that will have you turning your Elf on the Shelf around.
For the second week in a row, "Saturday Night Live" brought a pretty solid night of entertainment, with only two truly disappointing sketches. And even in those, Jason went all in on the premises.
Part of what made his hosting stint so successful is that he was clearly acting in character throughout, and could barely be seen reading any cue cards. It's rare that a guest host immerses themselves so well into sketch comedy like this, but it really feels like something Jason is a natural at.
There's an infectious joy in everything he does -- just watch him being interviewed anywhere and by anyone -- and he brought that to "SNL" as well. He was clearly having a blast, and his energy seemed to bring the cast even more to life, lighting up the whole show.
As usual, we're ranking all the sketches from worst to first, including the Cold Open and the regular "Weekend Update" segments. We'll skip the musical guests, because they're not usually funny - unless Ashlee Simpson shows up. We wrap up with a look at the cast-member who had the strongest week.
A Christmas Carol
This sketch was as extra as Scrooge's (Mikey Day) fourth ghost, and made about as much sense. If the idea was to watch Jason Momoa take off his shirt and then twerk with Scrooge and Tiny Tim (Kate McKinnon), then it worked. If it was supposed to be funny, well that wasn't as successful.
Cecily Strong's obnoxious Brit character, Gemma, was paired with Jason Momoa for what was supposed to be a romantic sleigh ride with Gene (Kenan Thompson) and his girlfriend Leslie Jones. Unfortunately, this one just kind of sat there and didn't really have a point other than allowing Cecily to act out with her outrageous accent and character. But Gemma is flat and limited as a role and there was nothing around her to really make this work.
MONOLOGUE: Jason Momoa
Jason Momoa brought plenty of charm and self aggrandizement to his monologue, complete with his own theme song about how strong and powerful he is. But he does it with such tongue-in-cheek charm, it comes across as both adorable and swole. Parliament Funkadelic's "Aqua Boogie" may have been the most bizarre way to close a monologue, but Jason's enthusiasm when he joined Chris Redd, Leslie Jones and Kenan Thompson in bringing the funk classic to life was infectious. The whole thing was a bit disjointed, but every piece was fun.
What if Donald Trump was black and his presidency was "Empire"? If you've thought he gets away with anything and everything now, just imagine how much he'd get away with if he was black! Yeah, this was about as short a sketch as you'd predict. For that, the premise was ingenious, but the execution lacked punch.
Khal Drogo's Ghost Dojo
A Dothraki public access show, how did we not realize just how much we needed this "Game of Thrones" spinoff? Jason Momoa returned to the character that made him a household name for a show that saw him and Kenan Thompson interview various Westerosi ghosts (characters who've died), like Hodor (Beck Bennett) and the High Sparrow (Pete Davidson). Stick around for the "Jerry Springer" moment when King Joffrey (Kate McKinnon) is reunited with the woman who poisoned him, Lady Olenna Tyrell (Aidy Bryant). This was pretty impenetrable to anyone who's not seen "GoT," but for fans of the show, it was spot-on laughs and we are definitely here for Khal's thoughts on aftershows.
"Trump: Endgame" is what Colin Jost dubbed Robert Mueller's forthcoming report, and things are getting tense at "Individual #1 Tower." He and Michael Che had plenty of funny barbs at various White House officials and the state of the Trump administration, but they have all our love for their Matthew Whitaker comparison.
Aidy Bryant then dropped by as a seventh-grade travel expert who just shared her own teenage vacation adventures with her family. But Aidy's delivery was so adorably sweet, she totally made this work.
Colin went dark with a SpaceX joke, while Michael applauded scientists for continuing to study and warn us about global warming when we clearly do not and will not care until it is way too late. And then we learned that "The Little Mermaid" song "Kiss the Girl" promotes toxic masculinity and should be banned and we're ready to die in the blazing inferno that our own planet will become.
It was a little odd to see Michael hop over Colin to get his own feature segment, but we have to admit, his monologue about bidets was pretty funny. He did, however, also defend Kevin Hart after the actor stepped down from Oscar hosting duties. "Didn't the Academy nominate Mel Gibson for an award just last year?" asked Che.
"Also, if Kevin Hart isn't clean enough to host the Oscars then no black comic is. The only black comic I know that's cleaner than Kevin Hart is booked for the next 3-10 years," he added as a photo of Bill Cosby flashed on the screen.
After starting off innocuously with Beck Bennett nervous about meeting Melissa Villasenor's parents (Heidi Gardner and Jason Momoa), it got weird right away as he went and hid in the house, taunting them with a child's voice to come find him. It came together, though, when Jason went all in on the gag and totally started looking for Melissa's boyfriend. It was weird, but delightfully so.
COLD OPEN: Trump Boys Bedtime
Sometimes when you go fanciful with real characters, they lose their magic, but Mikey Day and Alex Moffat as the Trump brothers has taken on a life of its own, and Don Jr. (Day) tucking Eric (Moffat) into bed at night is a natural growth of these hilarious impressions. Add Robert Mueller (Robert De Niro) as the monster in Eric's closet, and the banter reaches a delightful new level. "Getting elected president was the worst thing to ever happen to your dad," Robert told Eric after Don Jr. left. It was a bizarrely earnest plea at the end of an otherwise brilliant opening.
What if appliances were marketed to men? Yeah, take every stereotype about "manly" products you've ever seen in a commercial and apply them to home appliances and you've got the premise of this. It certainly shines a light on how ridiculously produces are marketed to specific genders. The appliances themselves are an over-the-top stereotype, too, pointlessly made stronger and more obnoxious, like a riding mower, so you'll still feel like a man (we guess). For people who love the song "Kiss the Girl" in the home.
Day of the Dorks
Basically an homage to comedies like "Animal House" and "Revenge of the Nerds," Jason Momoa steps into the classic role of the aging frat boy who's been at the college way longer than normal. Only he played "Beef" more like the Incredible Hulk than an actual human being, and nothing brings out his rage more than "DO-O-O-O-ORKS!" Mikey Day again played straight man against his increasingly erratic behavior as Jason immersed himself into the stupid and it totally worked.
This may have been Pete Davidson's best sketch performance yet as a deranged Rudolph who's finally had enough of all the ribbing and jokes from all the other reindeer. The only part of this sketch that didn't work was Jason Momoa's terrible beard as Santa which swallowed up his nose. But Pete absolutely nailed the darkness inside Rudolph as the rest of the male cast shied away from him as the other reindeer. The story of Rudolph has been mined so many times for laughs, but it worked brilliantly here.
Elf on the Shelf
The elves check in with Santa Claus, only the kid Jason Momoa watches is 13 years old now, and he wants a new kid. Let's just say, there comes a time in every elf's life when they no longer want to watch a teenage boy all day for ... reasons. Jason's demeanor throughout only added to the hilarity. "What does your human want for Christmas?" "I don't want to say." "Oh Scrabby, you spelled flashlight wrong." Yeah, they went there, and Jason sold every bit of dismay beautifully.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Props to Pete Davidson for committing more than he ever has to sketch work these past few weeks, and really standing out in a great way this week. There's more in that comedy tank than we've seen so far, so it's nice to see him stretching out.
This week, Jason actually carried the lion's share of the laughs, but we're going to give our player of the week to one of the hardest working members of the cast who rarely gets the big laugh because he's so very good at playing the straight man, Mikey Day.
He was everywhere on the night, from his brilliant Don Jr. to Scrooge in the very extra "Christmas Carol" and the asexual sleigh driver. His smarmy delivery worked perfectly as the head of the anti-dork fraternity and he was innocently clueless as an Elf on the Shelf.
While Alex Moffat's Eric Trump gets all the laughs, Mikey is the glue that holds their appearances together, and he proved that role again and again throughout the night, and throughout his time in the cast. A modern day Phil Hartman, Mikey has become essential to the success of "SNL."
"Saturday Night Live" continues next week with host Matt Damon and musical guest Mark Ronson w/ Miley Cyrus at 11:35 p.m. et on NBC.
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