We're talking Joker-level smiling here, like someone was holding his family hostage and telling him they won't be set free until he splits his face in half with the biggest, most insincere smile he can muster.
James, fellow guest Ice Cube and everyone watching could see right through it, of course. Sean was not even a little bit trying to hide the lie coming from his mouth. He just didn't want to be the guy to say it, even though his body language was loud and clear.
"She was great," he intoned emphatically with that smile. "She was really great. She was terrific."
Madonna appeared in the 2003 episode "Dolls and Dolls" as a woman named Liz who becomes roommates with Karen (Megan Mullally). But while critics were harsh over her acting chops in the episode, Madonna reportedly wanted to do the show because she was a fan of it, and particularly of Mullally's work.
And Mullally painted a fairly positive picture of the pop diva's appearance on the show to Entertainment Tonight, though she did note that Madonna did not know the actors' names, a story corroborated by both Eric McCormack and Debra Messing. Mullally, however, didn't care.
But that wasn't Hayes' issue with the pop star. He went into a little more detail about his experience with her at an event in London earlier this year, revealing that Madonna threw some shade his way during the table read. According to the comedian, he was trying to give her encouragement by telling her that a particular line reading was funny.
"She said, quote: 'Thank you. I live for your approval,'" Hayes recalled, as reported by NewNowNext. So now he's returning the favor.
After all, there was nothing cruel or unkind in her words, either. It's all about the delivery, and as Hayes proved, two can play at that game. He is, after all, a professional actor.
Later, he stepped into her musical world, too, as he and James paid tribute to the real reason for the season: the actor Michael Rapaport? Confused? Just think of the Christmas carol "The Little Drummer Boy" and you can probably imagine where they went with this.
You can check out that ridiculous performance in the video below: