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.
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.
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