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WATCH: Highlights from a Very John Goodman Christmas SNL (VIDEO)

Thompson on Hollywood By Maggie Lange | Thompson on Hollywood December 15, 2013 at 12:04PM

Not even John Goodman's jovial versatility and past hosting experience (this is his 13th time around) could revive this paltry set of sketches.
Goodman SNL Picture 1

Not even John Goodman's jovial versatility and past hosting experience (this was his 13th time around) could revive this week's paltry set of Saturday Night Live sketches. While there was no great standout, several skits gave us at least a little something. 

In the cold open about Obama's various hiccups at Nelson Mandela's funeral, while Kate McKinnon presented one of her best impressions--Angela Merkel--the skit centered on the inept sign language interpreter, a variation of a used joke that was far better the first time

Goodman SNL Picture 2

It looked like little effort was made with "Inside Llewyn Davis" star John Goodman's monologue: he just introduced himself and then sang a song called "All I Want for Christmas is Booty." 

Judging from audience response, the favorite sketch of the night was "Three Wise Guys," which brought out Grudge Match" co-stars Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone to join Goodman in track suits as they rode camels to visit the baby Jesus. There were some well-placed mob jokes, as well as a terrible camel toe joke. But seeing De Niro and Stallone riffing was a treat. 

Another easy holiday target was a faux promotion for the Hallmark Channel Christmas movie slate, including "On Dasher, On Danza" with Tony Danza.

A lost opportunity for SNL: the parody of the chaos of shopping at H&M brought several strong observations but unclear singing. Another missed chance was a half-hearted attempt to peg Goodman as "drunker uncle." There were several solid ideas this week, but the execution seemed phoned in. 

Watch these and more below: 

This article is related to: SNL, Television, Television, TV Reviews, TV, John Goodman, Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone, Video, TV Videos, Video

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.