Episode 8 of Season 39 of SNL featured Paul Rudd as host and One Direction as musical guest. It also featured the recently departed Kristin Wiig and Fred Armisen, as well as the cast of Anchorman 2...Although considering the all-out media blitz to drum up support for Ron Burgundy’s return, this shouldn’t come as a surprise, or even something that’s all that special. We also saw the first wave of Christmas-themed sketches, one of which featured Paul Rudd as a slimmed-down Santa who left Mrs. Claus for a bartender at Chili’s. The elves were not happy.
But SNL is a long show, and it can be hard to just sit on your couch and watch TV continuously for over an hour on Saturday night (or it can be really, really easy), so here’s a “condensed” version of some of the best of what went down.
5. Kristin Wiig in the “Sound of Music” Cold Open
Much was made about the Anchorman 2 cast’s presence in 30 Rock on Saturday night, but Kristin Wiig also showed up, too, appearing as one of the Von Trapp children in the “Sound of Music” cold open. But she wasn’t just a Von Trapp child, she was Denise, her baby-handed and questionably challenged character from sketches past. Let’s just say she didn’t quite fit in with the straight-laced Von Trapps. Look out for a Fred Armisen cameo at the end, as well.
4. “White Christmas”
Billed as “the first black holiday movie for a white audience,” the mock trailer for “White Christmas” is exactly that…there’s even a guy wearing a thin necklace over a turtleneck and Paul Rudd playing the Madea-like “Mama Ruth.” Since SNL only has two black cast members, I guess if they wanted to parody a black holiday movie, this was the only way they were going to be able to do it. The parody is a good one, though, but I’m not sure Jay Pharaoh approves:
3. Jebidiah Atkinson Might be the Next Stefon
Alright, nobody will be the next Stefon, but it looks like—and we can only hope that—Taran Killam’s curmudgeonly 1860s newspaper critic will step in as a “Weekend Update” regular. In November he gave a harsh review of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and this week he was trotted out to take down holiday favorites like “Charlie Brown’s Christmas,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Frosty the Snowman” (“Five minutes in I was rooting for the sun.”). Like Hader’s Stefon, it’s clear that with Atkinson, not even straight man Seth Meyers and Killam are sure exactly what’s going to happen or where they’re going to need to improvise.
2. All the One Direction Stuff
When musical guests double as cultural phenomena on the level of One Direction, SNL knows to take advantage of the star power with more than just a few song performances. This Saturday was no different as not only did 1D join the cast of Anchorman 2 to sing “Afternoon Delight,” they made questionable things happen to Paul Rudd when they signed photos on his back during a sketch where he played 1D superfan Dan Charles. So what if he’s missing the birth of his child to see Harry Stiles and company in the flesh?
1. The Return of Bill Brasky
In case you forgot, Will Ferrell is actually able to inhabit forms other than Ron Burgundy, and it was nice to see him ditch the ‘stache in a reprisal of one of SNL’s most memorable sketches. Along with Rudd, Killam, Keenan Thompson and Anchorman’s David Koechner (the perfect drunken toasting companion), he repeatedly raised a glass to the “best-damned salesman in the business.”