What You Missed on SNL: Stand Up Comedy’s Oscar Host Contenders

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Last night was 2018’s last live episode of SNL, and everyone was watching to see if Pete Davidson would make an appearance after he posted suicidal thoughts on Instagram yesterday. Yes, Davidson was at work last night but he didn’t make any appearances in sketches or on Weekend Update. He appeared in a prerecorded digital short, and stepped on stage briefly to introduce the musical guest’s second performance but otherwise took the night off from performing. If Davidson came on stage for the goodbyes, we didn’t see him.

Despite the somber mood surrounding Pete’s mental health issues, the cast delivered the best show this season with host Matt Damon, musical guests Mark Ronson and Miley Cyrus and celebrity guest appearances from Ben Stiller and Robert DeNiro.

The cold open starring Alec Baldwin as Trump managed to actually be funny and fresh even though we’ve long tired of Baldwin’s impression. The parody of It’s a Wonderful Life looked at what the world would be like today if Trump had never become President, and the result included smiles for everyone and more hair for non-President T.

Matt Damon delivered a touching monologue about his first time watching Saturday Night Live when he was eight years old, highlighting the impact that the show has had on kids and parents everywhere over the decades and eliciting awwwws from the audience.

Sketches were funny and largely Christmas themed including a cute bit about what happens to the ornaments relegated to the back of the Christmas tree, a parody of the Westminster Dog Show replacing dogs with eligible “daddys”, and a holiday celebration ruined by Weezer.

Weekend Update, always sharp, included one of Michael Che’s impression attempts- always hilarious, and Che and Jost were at their best, talking about Michael Cohen, Chris Christie and Beto O’Rourke. Even Weekend Update character “Angel” was a hit.  Colin and Che went bold last this week with a special year end segment, a Christmas joke swap. Che and Jost made each other read jokes live on air that the other person has never seen before. All of them of course, were offensive. Why isn’t this a weekly bit?

Two digital shorts stood out- the first starring Matt Damon as a husband and dad looking back on a not-so- perfect Christmas day. The second short was stand up centric,  looking at the potential candidates to host the Oscars this year now that Kevin Hart has stepped down. Who will risk everything for the chance to gain nothing? Oscar candidates included Tiffany Haddish played by newcomer Ego Nwodim shouting “She Ready!” and wearing her signature dress, Kate McKinnon as a screeching Michelle Wolf, Aidy Bryant performing a perfect Hannah Gadsby, promising to host but then in the middle of it, quit hosting, and later Bryant doubled down as Mitch-Hedburg looking Roseanne seeking a comeback. Sarah Silverman’s audition (played by Melissa Villasenor) pointed out that she doesn’t say controversial things anymore, and Kate McKinnon closed the bit appearing as the ever-uncontroversial Ellen. Cecily Strong- perfect as fictional stand up comedian Mrs. Maisel- also auditioned.

And SNL gave everyone a Christmas gift inviting Sean Lennon to perform And So This is Christmas with Miley Cyrus. Saturday Night Live returns in 2019.

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