Saturday Night Live: Matt Damon / Mark Ronson & Miley Cyrus
December 16, 2018 9:24 AM - Season 44, Episode 9 - Subscribe

Christmas Episode

  • It's a Wonderful Trump - Alec Baldwin, Kenan Thompson, Aidy Bryant, Kate McKinnon, Alex Moffatt, Mikey Day, Cecily Strong, Heidi Gardner, Ben Stiller, Beck Bennett, Ego Nwodim, Matt Damon, Robert De Niro
  • Monologue - Matt Damon, Beck Bennett
  • Westminster Daddy Show - Kate McKinnon, Matt Damon, Aidy Bryant, Melissa Villaseñor, Beck Bennett, Kenan Thompson, Alex Moffatt, Ego Nwodim, Chris Redd
  • Best Christmas Ever - Cecily Strong, Matt Damon, Aidy Bryant, Beck Bennett, Mikey Day
  • The Back of the Tree - Beck Bennett, Kenan Thompson, Matt Damon, Kate McKinnon, Mikey Day, Aidy Bryant, Cecily Strong
  • Oscars Host Auditions - Ego Nwodim, Kate McKinnon, Matt Damon, Aidy Bryant, Pete Davidson, Kenan Thompson, Cecily Strong, Melissa Villaseñor, Heidi Gardner, Chris Redd
  • Christmas at the Carnegie Lounge - Melissa Villaseñor, Beck Bennett, Alex Moffatt, Kyle Mooney, Heidi Gardner, Cecily Strong, Matt Damon
  • Mark Ronson & Miley Cyrus - "Nothing Breaks Like a Heart"
  • Weekend Update - Colin Jost, Michael Che
    • Where's Wes? - Mikey Day
    • Good News Report - Heidi Gardner, Matt Damon
  • Weezer Christmas - Leslie Jones, Kenan Thompson, Beck Bennett, Heidi Gardner, Matt Damon, Cecily Strong
  • Frankie's Ale House - Matt Damon, Beck Bennett, Kyle Mooney, Kenan Thompson, Alec Baldwin, Cecily Strong
  • Mark Ronson & Miley Cyrus w/Sean Lennon - "Merry Christmas (War is Over)"
  • Happy Christmas, Britain - Kate McKinnon, Matt Damon, Aidy Bryant, Mikey Day
posted by rhizome (20 comments total)
I actually thought "Best Christmas Ever" was kind of sweet. Because it's absolutely accurate - there is a LOT of the holiday goings-on that is a pain in the absolute damn ass - but it somehow even though you still get a warm fuzzy out of Christmas Day when all is said and done for the most part, because (excepting really toxic situations) even though your family drives you up a damn tree, you still shrug and sigh because you love them and you like seeing them happy and they tried to make you happy and awwwwww.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:19 AM on December 16, 2018 [3 favorites]

During the cold open, I had a moment where I thought, "Oh god, I can't remember all of these assholes." Which I suppose is more Trump's fault than SNL's.
posted by ckape at 12:40 PM on December 16, 2018

I liked this episode a lot. At first I thought they might be doing "It's a Wonderful Trump" for the entire episode, which would have been something else, but they wrapped it up pretty nicely and moved on.

One thing I noticed was that the first 30+ minutes apparently had only Google as a sponsor, with the Kyle thing and a couple of other bits. The only real commercials came right before WU, which I took to mean that that is a "people tend to stop watching around now" slot.

Another thing was I think the Matt Damon family stuff in the monologue extended until at least the Oscars part. He talks about getting to stay up too late to watch the show, and then I'm pretty sure the first few sketches were written with an eye toward children watching, which I thought was extraodinary. I mean, I'm pretty sure Westminster Daddy Show was written for his kids. The plot was simple enough for an 8 year old to get the whole thing, he wins everything, says "I'm the best daddy!"'s all of a piece, and I thought it was cool. Best Christmas was also good for showing kids their effect on their parents! The ornament sketch would also be funny to a kid and didn't have any mature themes at all.

If not, well then I still have my imagination to keep me company. If my theory holds, the Carnegie Lounge sketch was designed to put kids to sleep before the Miley Cyrus décolletage extravaganza, though I know I was able to stay up until 1am by junior high.

I just thought this was a sweet episode all around and I hope we never get Milkshake Matt Damon.
posted by rhizome at 12:58 PM on December 16, 2018 [8 favorites]

Good episode, though I was surprised when Damon said it was only his second time hosting. I'd have assumed he was in the five-timers club by now. I guess he's made enough cameos over the years that it feels like he's been hosting more.

I liked The Back of the Tree. I'm glad to know that's a universal thing.

Daddy Show felt like a 10 to 1 sketch. It was slightly bizarre, but very funny.

I enjoyed the Oscars edition. Those lightning rounds of celebrity impressions are always fun. I could watch 90 minutes of Heidi Gardner doing Allison Janney.

Miley has some pipes on her. I'm not really sure who Mark Ronson is or why he was featured with her or why she needed three guitarists when you could hardly hear any of them. Honestly I spent the entirety of both musical performances trying to figure out how her jacket was put on to guaranty maximum sideboob without a wardrobe malfunction. Duct tape, maybe? Ouch. The musical guests as of late are usually Not For Me but I kind of respect Miley. She's ok. I guess it didn't hurt that she did a Lennon song.

Weezer Christmas was interesting but all I could think was "why Weezer?" It was weird. Was it sponsored? I don't really know enough about them to get the jokes about their albums and it was a funny sketch but why them?

After the shitshow of last week I was surprised to see DiNiro again but at least it felt like maybe they made him practice his lines this time.
posted by bondcliff at 1:15 PM on December 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

Honestly, I was so worried about Miley's jacket. That was a bold move! She is growing on me overall. She's done some questionable things in the past, but she's also grown up in front of the whole world and that can't be easy. I think she has a lot of talent and if she can just focus on the music, she'll be all right.

Daddy Show was weird and very funny. WU was actually somewhat funny with the jokes Colin and Michael wrote for each other. Colin was genuinely mortified.
posted by lunasol at 2:45 PM on December 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

I hope we never get Milkshake Matt Damon.

This was a year ago and maybe he's changed his tune and/or learned something since then, but... The Glaring Hypocrisy of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's Harvey Weinstein Statements.
posted by elsietheeel at 3:52 PM on December 16, 2018 [3 favorites]

Oh that's right, they did soft-pedal Harvey, didn't they. Hrm.

I'm not really sure who Mark Ronson is or why he was featured with her

He's a producer, notable for his work with Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen, Bruno Mars, and more.

Miley's doing an "all coloratura, all the time" style I haven't heard since Leonard Graves Phillips.

I think there's special boob tape out there in costumer-land.
posted by rhizome at 5:19 PM on December 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

I thought this whole episode was really sweet and hilarious. I didn't even think of it being for his kids, but that makes perfect sense. It was a good note to end 2018 on.
posted by Fig at 7:08 PM on December 16, 2018

I think there's special boob tape out there in costumer-land.

Yes! Flash tape! And you can see some other stuff in the "customers also viewed" section.

Did Happy Christmas, Britain seem like it ended sort of abruptly? Kate Mackinnon seemed to be reaching behind herself for somethign and then it was over. We were talking about how much a lot of the early sketches seemed to have a beginning, middle, end and punchline and it was sort of a welcome change from many other shows this season.

I don't really know enough about them to get the jokes about their albums and it was a funny sketch but why them?

People get really passionate about Weezer for reasons unknown, I think I was exactly the target demo for this sketch because I laughed. Maybe partly because when Africa started playing when the new (black) couple was at dinner I was like "Uh oh, SNL does not usually do this sort of thing well" and then it was Not The Point and I felt bad for thinking it might be.
posted by jessamyn at 8:15 PM on December 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm assuming that Happy Christmas, Britain got cut short because they were running long, but you can never discount the possibility that they just didn't have a good ending. Though the goodbyes got cut off on my local broadcast too, so I'd lean toward it being a time thing.
posted by ckape at 9:20 PM on December 16, 2018

It was definitely cut for time, Voldemort was in the middle of a line. :)
posted by rhizome at 10:59 PM on December 16, 2018

Weezer Christmas was interesting but all I could think was "why Weezer?"

That was the point of the whole sketch, I figured -- who has fans who might be this passionate, and most people have probably heard a couple of their songs and maybe is faintly aware that there is a band by that name, but it's also perfectly reasonable that a normal person doesn't know about them or even that these passionate fans exist? The befuddlement of the other people was just as much a part of the sketch as the argument. This sketch (as it was written and performed) doesn't work for the Beatles, nor for the Mountain Goats. You need someone in that sort of Grateful Dead groove, but who was bigger once but is smaller now.
posted by Etrigan at 6:41 AM on December 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

This was a pretty solid episode. "It's a Wonderful Trump" and "Oscars Host Auditions" were definitely highlights. Heidi Garner's Alison Janney impression was incredibly good. I'm imagining Alison Janney watching it at home and muttering, "Well, I'll be damned," between sips of wine.

"Best Christmas Ever" had me laughing until tears were streaming down my face. It reminded me a lot of a very similar Mother's Day themed-sketch Amy Schumer did when she was host, in which scenes of her telling her son that having him was the best day of her life were interspersed with scenes of her actually giving birth. There's something about the tension between how we talk sentimentally about things once they're past and the reality of how much they can actually suck that makes for killer comedy. Matt Damon's grim, exhausted fortitude during the "reality" parts really made it work, too. With four kids he'll have had plenty of practice with that sort of thing at home.
posted by orange swan at 12:35 PM on December 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

The thing that tipped "Best Christmas Ever" from "funny" into "funny but touching" for me was when they showed Matt Damon unwrapping those bear paw slippers and staring at them - then his wife subtly points out their kids, all three beaming at him and bursting with pride because they are convinced that they just gave him the best present ever and that they are convinced he's going to love it. And after seeing that, he tells them it's the best gift ever and he couldn't be happier.

Also my brother is a dad and he has those exact slippers, although I think he genuinely likes them
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:41 PM on December 17, 2018 [4 favorites]

I was very pleased with this episode. I'm glad they pulled out of their tailspin from two episodes ago. All of these sketches were not overlong, had great arcs, great timing, didn't punch down at groups of people, Leslie didn't break, Pete got to show his face, Melissa had a lot of parts, the ensemble pieces were good, the cameos were good, the music was good, the news was good. And pre-xmas shows are usually only meh. It's only too bad now that they seem to be hitting their stride this season, they go on winter break. Still, it's been a pretty solid season so far.

One funny thing about listening to this episode with headphones on is that during Miley Cyrus's performance I could hear the extra guitars and stuff buried in the back of the mix, and really, they weren't necessary at all. Miley could have worn a parka, earmuffs, a scarf, mittens, a tuque, snowveralls, and duck boots, and dropped the entire band, and it wouldn't have made an ounce of difference: she has a great voice. I'm glad she's grown into adulthood with few nicks and scrapes.

And holy crap I'm glad she became the superstar of the Cyrus family, and not Billy Ray.

(or Cyrus from Trailer Park Boys)
posted by not_on_display at 3:30 PM on December 17, 2018 [4 favorites]

I thought this was a pretty good episode! Matt Damon was a really good host. The Best Christmas Ever skit was so good. I, um, might have cried a little. (I'M SENTIMENTAL, OK.)

The Weezer skit had me in hysterics. That's, um, what some DIE HARD Weezer fans are like. I promise you, whoever wrote that skit has had that conversation more or less. I honestly can't think of another band that you could write a skit like that about. Maybe Rush?

I think they maybe need to take a break from writing the Trump cold open skits? During the Trump/Clinton campaign, they had only the barest veneer of satire. Now I feel like they sort of just...recite what happened, make a face, and wait for a laugh because it's all so ridiculous and terrifying?
posted by Aquifer at 6:51 AM on December 18, 2018 [3 favorites]

Oh man, his point about laughing with the people you love and the meaning of being able to stay up with his dad to watch.... that was very touching and a nice reminder to appreciate that about watching stuff with my kid.
posted by emkelley at 12:25 PM on December 18, 2018

I was about 10 years old when my brother got our dad to start letting us watch SNL, in the Bill Murray era. When I was 12, in 6th grade, my class had a rotating Current Events thing that all of us students had to individually participate in (a presentation or speech or maybe a xerox handout, nobody having to be the center of attention for more than a couple minutes). Me and two of my friends asked if we could do a group thing, so we copied Weekend Update complete with a table for a desk, and like 5 stories and a fake commercial. We kicked ass! Especially since nobody in the class was old enough to watch SNL in their home yet. Fun fact: AC/DC was extremely popular in our grade and we broke the news that Bon Scott had died the day before. You could hear the surprise!

Not to mention that after SNL's 1am end, PBS had a British comedy hour with a Monty Python episode, which is how I got exposed to that, followed by The Two Ronnies, which I still can't get into.

He really zeroed in on these feels for me!
posted by rhizome at 3:49 PM on December 18, 2018 [3 favorites]

The Story Behind SNL's Weezer Sketch
Eli Coyote Mandel (who also wrote Adam Driver’s oil-baron sketch)
Well, I'm a fan.
How did she feel about that character choice for her?
Eli: She loved it. She didn’t know anything about Weezer, but she was very much onboard.
Put this in Latin and it'll go on Leslie Jones' coat of arms.
posted by Etrigan at 1:07 PM on December 19, 2018 [3 favorites]

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