Saturday Night Live
Steve Martin and Martin Short, Brandi Carlile
December 10, 2022
Here’s a fun little SNL fact: this is not the first time Steve Martin and Martin Short have co-hosted the show. Back in 1986, Martin, Short, and their Three Amigos co-star, Chevy Chase shared hosting duties for what was also a holiday-timed episode.
As a matter of fact, the most enduring sketch of that night was “Steve Martin’s Holiday Wish,” a bit that I’m sure you’ve seen as it is often included in SNL Christmas holiday specials:
Just note-perfect Steve Martin.
This week’s SNL was lacking Chevy Chase — but not missing him. Over the years, Martin and Short have developed their own delightful comic dynamic, which carried the monologue. The two veterans kept the entire proceedings tight, funny, and professional and seemed to delight in playing off the younger cast. It was a warm satisfying cup of cocoa of an episode.
The cold open this week stays away from political caricatures, and instead devolves into song, “Block It All Out to Christmas,” in which the cast members urge us to block out the problems in the world and our personal lives until after the holiday season. Copious amounts of alcohol are urged.
Our hosts, the now-classic duo of Steve Martin and Martin Short, do their fake rivalry schtick in the monologue, which ends with the two roasting one another via eulogy. They are both very funny and sharp, but the win goes to Short for working a “dick in a box” reference into his. Also, Selena Gomez joins her Only Murders in the Building co-stars for a quick hug. (Wait, Steve Martin has hosted 16 times?! 16?)
Martin and Short’s first sketch of the evening is another installment of “The Science Room,” a recurring bit in which the hosts play a pair of TV science show hosts who have to deal with a pair of exasperatingly stupid children played by Cecily Strong and Mikey Day. It’s fine, but I’ve seen better iterations, notably by Jason Sudeikis and Adam Driver.
The Please Don’t Destroy boys land a more successful bit this week, in which one of them brings up an ex-girlfriend, only to have the other two talk shit about her. The reveal is that he’s planning to propose to her — and she’s sitting right there, hearing everything they had to say about her. Somehow, it manages to spiral even more out of control from there.
Kenan Thompson plays a man who meets three cheerfully strange passengers on a train who are excited about traveling to Buffalo to see snow for the first time. But there’s A TWIST! And it’s absurd — unless you’ve been paying close attention.
Martin plays a mall Santa who promises the children who visit him everything they ask for while Short is his Elf with serious anger issues. It’s fine until the writers realize they’ve run out of rope, and the bit ends on a weird note about drugs.
In this take on Dickens’s classic “A Christmas Carol,” in a fit of his newfound generosity Short’s Scrooge tries to toss money down to street urchins, only to brutally maim and blind them. A LOT of fake blood was used in this gloriously gory sketch.
“Weekend Update” was strong this week with solid jokes about Krysten Sinema, Britney Griner, President Biden, Herschel Walker, Judge Alito, and Chris Christie’s out-of-control niece.
Ego Nwodim visits the “Weekend Update” desk as Mary Anne Louise Fletcher, the chaotic shopper responsible for the mess that Ross for Less always is. She comes armed with some shopping tips for the holiday season.
Mikey Day and Chloe Fineman also join the “Weekend Update” desk as married authors who have written a book on keeping the spark alive in one’s marriage. Their tip? Do celebrity impressions in bed. It’s a long way to go to have Fineman do an uncomfortable — but funny — impersonation of Scarlett Johansson at Johansson’s husband, Colin Jost.
Martin Short handles this sketch alone in which he plays Minky Carmichael, the wildly misogynistic 90s talk show host of “How to Treat Your Man.” He gives terrible advice to the audience of women while doing a variation of the Ed Grimley dance, until receiving his comeuppance from Cecily Strong’s character who has plenty to say about Minky’s little minky. It’s this unexpected swerve at the end that saves the sketch.
The final sketch of the night is an eighth sequel to Father of the Bride, in which a menopausal 52-year-old Annie is marrying her eighth husband. Martin Short revives his Franck, and there is a well-earned surprise cameo that I won’t ruin here.
Final Grade: A-.
Saturday Night Live airs at 10:30/11:30 p.m. Saturdays on NBC and streams on Peacock