SNL Ranked: Tina Fey and Amy Poehler Give Us the Gift of Pure Joy
SNL delivers the greatest Christmas gift of all by inviting both Tina Fey and Amy Poehler to host the 2015 finale together, the way nature intended. With their new comedy Sisters in theaters this weekend (take that, Star Wars), the duo hit the SNL stage in top form with a handful of surprise guests, a couple of classic characters and a whole, whole lot of joy. Read on for our ranking of this week’s sketches from best to worst.
Special Offer (Bayer, Killam, Rudolph!, Poehler, Fey, Thompson)
70s singers with substance abuse problems sing Christmas songs for a compilation album, and this sketch is filled — like, bursting — with gifts: Maya Rudolph drunkenly tossing presents at some kid’s head, Amy Poehler trying to suck up a giant pile of cocaine with a vacuum that does not work, and in perhaps the most ballsiest move SNL has made since their ISIS sketch with Dakota Johnson: an astonishingly hilarious Bill Cosby joke during a rendition of (what else?) “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”
Is this the best sketch of the year? Maybe. It did make me grab my face Home Alone-style due to sheer delirium.
Meet Your Second Wife (Fey, Poehler, Moynihan, Killam, Thompson, Bayer, Bryant, Jones, Strong)
A game show sketch not hosted by Thompson is a rarity, so it’s not surprising to see him as a contestant in this one, in which Fey and Poehler introduce men to their future second wives — who are all girls aged 15 and under…way under. This is some classic Fey-Poehler brilliance. Two things: one, Moynihan should be a bigger star in general (and he’s great in Sisters), and two, when can we see Leslie Jones and Aidy Bryant in a Fey-Poehler project?
A Hillary Christmas (McKinnon, Poehler, Fey)
You may have been curious about how SNL would revive Poehler’s Hillary Clinton and Fey’s Sarah Palin, and this sketch magically provides both. In a Christmas Carol-esque sketch, 2008 Hillary visits 2015 Hillary via time travel, and — in her own language — also why not 2008 Sarah Palin, you know? Unlike the Trump impressions, you can’t really compare Poehler and McKinnon’s versions of Hillary; the former was perfect for the softer, more commercial Hillary of before, while the latter is impeccable as the harder, gutsier future (?) president. And there are some great jokes at the expense of Trump and “human Birkenstock” Bernie Sanders:
Tina and Amy’s Dope Squad (Fey, Poehler, Bryant, Schumer, Downey Sr., King)
Taylor Swift’s video for “Bad Blood” was so underwhelming for the highly-anticipated event-ness of it all, making it an easy target for this riff — Tina and Amy are asked how they juggle work and family (no one ever asks this of men) during a junket, which segues into this high-concept music video about their nannies, gynecologist, mammogram tech and their super random cool friends (Robert Downey Sr., Gayle King and Amy Friggin’ Schumer). The ladies of SNL have made music videos their thing, and as far as that goes, this one is a solid entry, though I expected something a little more searing from Tina and Amy. It’s still good! It’s still fun! Just not the best.
Bronx Beat (Poehler, Rudolph, Fey
How do you get Tina and Maya back and not do Bronx Beat? So obvious, but so, so great. Topics include Wookiees, husband farts, Eatsy, and Christmas. Tina Fey’s Philly accent is incredibly, hilariously awful and unlike any actual human accent in existence, except for maybe half of what Tom Hardy does. Idea: let’s give Tina Fey all of Tom Hardy’s roles.
Hoverboards (Mooney, Davidson, Bennett)
May cause death? NOICE. What’s dumber than a hoverboard (that’s not even really a hoverboard)? An explosive hover board that will randomly burst into flames. Happy holidays!
Mash-Up Christmas Monologue (Fey, Poehler, Moynihan, Thompson, Killam)
“We’re like sisters, which made it easy to play sisters in our new movie…Star Wars.” I’ve missed these two on SNL so much! And if anyone can knock out a song in the opening monologue, it’s these two, who showcase their differences with very, very different song choices — Poehler’s is bright and poppy and sweet, while Fey’s is full of doomsaying and dead babies and…vaguely pagan? Anyway, this is fun!
Weekend Update (Che, Jost, McKinnon, Fey, Poehler)
First (and only?) of all, even if it was Tina and Amy’s idea, they should have been given the entire Update segment — not just the final two jokes. That said, McKinnon’s new Aunt Deenie character who describes soap operas she barely watches while eating reheated baked salmon is instantly her new best character. And I love how McKinnon has become such an SNL MVP that she makes everyone crack up in 90 percent of her sketches. Bless her.
Movie Set (Fey, Poehler, Thompson, Zamata)
When you give me a setup riffing on the best film of the year (Carol, obviously), I expect brilliance. Unfortunately, combining the utter silliness of a former acting coach on The Jeffersons with such serious material isn’t nearly as funny — it would probably make a more satirical statement if they mocked a self-serious movie that wasn’t very well-directed, like The Danish Girl.
GOP Debate Cold Open (Rudnitsky, Hammond, Killam, Pharoah, Davidson, Bennett, Mooney, Moynihan, Strong)
Can we just have Darrell Hammond back for every Donald Trump sketch? He’s so much better than Killam’s version, and Killam’s smarminess is better suited for Cruz anyway. That said, Moynihan and Pharoah are on point as usual as Chris Christie and Ben Carson, respectively, and Bennett’s cartoonish Jeb Bush is a revelation; unfortunately, as usual, this Republican debate cold open goes on for too long and it’s mostly just fine.