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Matt Damon Turns in the Best Episode, So Far, of a Bad Season of 'Saturday Night Live'

By Dustin Rowles | TV | December 16, 2018 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | December 16, 2018 |


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Matt Damon hosted the Christmas episode, and while it’s not saying that much, Damon turned in the best episode of a bad season, so far (and really, the only host that came close was Jason Momoa last week, and Seth Meyers in week 3).

It’s a Wonderful Trump — In this reality, Trump didn’t win and everyone is much happier. Sarah Huckabee is rich in the private sector; Kellyanne is speaking to her husband; Eric is (slightly) less dumb; Cohen is not in jail; Mike Pence is a DJ; a Muslim immigrant solved the hair-loss problem; Mueller is spending more time with his grandkids, and Kavanaugh isn’t on the Supreme Court. Kind of a crap cold open, except for Matt Damon’s reappearance as Kavanaugh, which is hilarious. Trump, naturally, takes the exact wrong message from this alt-reality. (Watch here) (Score: 3 out of 10)

Matt Damon Cold Open — Matt Damon — who is here to promote nothing — gives a nice monologue about his life since he last hosted the show, 16 years ago, and about watching SNL with his Dad as a kid. It’s a pleasant, slightly funny, very sweet monologue, very Dad, and really kind of heartwarming. (Score: 7 out of 10)

Westminster Daddy Show — It’s like the Westminster Dog show, except it is Dads, who are judged according to their Dadness. Lots of Dad jokes about Dads here, and while it’s not gonna go viral in the morning, it’s a genial, amusing sketch. (Update, from Lainey: Hey, Dustin - before you publish the SNL thing, I _feel like_ you maybe misinterpreted the Westminster Daddy Show. It wasn’t about dads. It was about “daddies” — hot older men. Daddy is a slang term for hot guys in their 40s and 50s, who have money. It’s not a parental term.) (Watch here) (Score: 5 out of 10)

Best Christmas Ever — An adoring married couple with kids look back fondly on a Christmas Day that, like every Christmas, is absolutely murder, a pain in the ass from the minute they wake up until the second their kids’ heads hit the pillow. “Even when it’s the worst, it’s the best.” Damn right. This one speaks to me. (You won’t understand this one, Mat, because your kids are goddamn angels). (Score: 7.5 out of 10)

Drunk Santa — This sketch takes a closer look at all those shitty Xmas Tree ornaments in the back of the tree — drunk Santa, the vacation ornament, and the For Your Consideration Good Will Hunting ornament (Matt Damon) that says, “Happy Holidays from Harvey Weinstein,” etc. This one shouldn’t be funny — it’s a live green-scene sketch, for God’s sake — but it’s much better than it has any right to be. (Score: 6.5 out of 10)

Oscars Host Auditions — It’s one of those sketches that is just basically an excuse for all the cast members to crack out their unusual impressions, but this is the closest we’ll ever get to seeing Tiffany Haddish, Hannah Gadsby, Chris Hemsworth, Michelle Wolf, Rami Malek, Rachel Brosnahan, Sarah Silverman, Alison Janney, Terry Crews, Kanye, Roseanne, or Matthew McConaughey host the Oscars. Pretty good set of impressions, too (Damon takes on McConaughey and Hemsworth). (Score: 6 out of 10)

Diane and Sonny — A lounge act tells randy jokes between verses of “Jingle Bells.” This is not that funny, but definitely feels like a lounge act that probably exists somewhere in Florida. (Watch here) (Score: 4 out of 10)

Weekend Update — Most of “Update” this week is meh — the jokes aren’t bad, but they aren’t great, either, although I do have a weird crush on “Every girlfriend from every boxing movie ever” (who appears with her boyfriend, Tommy Ray Donovan (Matt Damon)). The end of “Update,” however, proves to be … well, you know what? You’re just going to have to watch this — it may very well be the best thing that Chost has ever done. You know how Seth Meyers has Amber and Jenny do “Jokes Seth Can’t Tell”? This is the opposite of that. (Score: 6 out of 10)

Weezer — Three couples — new neighbors — get together for dinner, and two of the dinner-party guests (Matt Damon and Leslie Jones) get into a super intense, weirdly personal, knock-out, drag-out argument over whether Weezer is any good anymore. I don’t know why, exactly, but this is a fantastic sketch, and I love it (#TeamTodd) (Score: 8 out of 10)

Frankie’s Ale House — Things turn sentimental with a group of cops “breaking balls” with their buddy at a bar on Christmas. (Watch here) (Score: 4.5 out of 10)

Theresa May’s Happy Christmas Britain Extravaganza — Matt Damon’s David Cameron wig is what makes this sketch work. Also, the humiliation heaped upon Theresa May. Also, maybe the fact that the sketch abruptly ends before the participants in the sketch thought it would. Ooops. Show’s running long. (Watch here) (Score: 4 out of 10)

Additional Notes

— Miley Cyrus put an unbelievable amount of trust into her double-sided tape during her first performance. In her second performance, however, she performed that John Lennon Xmas song with John Lennon’s son, Sean.

— Just a quick note, for those who saw or heard about Pete Davidson’s Instagram post yesterday — he did appear on the show briefly to introduce Miley Cyrus the second time. He’s OK. And we sincerely wish him the best.



Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.


Header Image Source: NBC


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