Christmas comes early for “Saturday Night Live” hosts in December, with old cast members returning home to 30 Rock for the holidays and A-list comedians popping up in cameos everywhere you look. Sure, One Direction got some screams, but not even Harry Styles' tousled locks could stop Rudd, the "Anchorman" cast and returning "SNL" stars from owning the show.
Here’s how he did:
We’re not even at the halfway point of the season, and already former “SNL” stars Kristen Wiig and Fred Armisen (the latter left the show just seven months ago) have been called up to make an appearance.
They both returned for a spoof of NBC’s “Sound of Music Live,” which thankfully, is a full two hours and fifty-five minutes shorter than Thursday night’s ordeal with Carrie Underwood. Wiig reprised Dooneese, the creepy girl with the huge forehead and tiny hands, as one of the Von Trapp kids. She swallows Captain Von Trapp’s whistle, eats a frog and sings her version of “Do Re Mi” that includes the lyrics “Ti, a drink that comes from a toilet.” Armisen surprises the audience at the very end of the sketch, appearing as Lawrence Welk, waving his baton and summing up the Dooneese origin story perfectly: “I think it’s safe to say the hills are alive with radioactivity.”
Paul Rudd, not wanting to be overshadowed by One Direction, invites his “man band” (“Anchorman 2,” co-stars Will Ferrell, Steve Carell and David Koechner) onstage to sing “Afternoon Delight” acapella - an homage to the famous “Anchorman” performance. The One Direction guys join in with harmonies, and the whole act is actually very funny and sweet. About halfway through the song, it’s clear Rudd – who somehow hasn’t aged since he played Josh in “Clueless” back in 1995 – could actually be in a boy band himself. If he proved anything else last night, it’s that he’s the most baby-faced 44-year old in the business.
BEST SKETCH: DAN CHARLES, ONE DIRECTION’S #1 FAN
Paul Rudd plays an older obsessed One Direction fan who likes bragging about his 1D knowledge to little girls and taunting them when they get questions wrong. Even though he misses the birth of his child over an autograph signing, he still has that nice paternal touch when he braids a girl’s hair as they wait in line for the band. Not creepy at all.
WORST SKETCH: POLITICS NATION WITH AL SHARPTON
Since there was no mention of the Obamacare website debacle in the cold open, we are subjected to an Obamacare-themed parody of Al Sharpton’s MSNBC show as the second sketch of the night. While Kenan Thompson is always up for the job of playing Sharpton as a bumbling, out of touch fool, there really wasn’t much to laugh at in this sketch past the first time “Sharpton” misread the teleprompter. At least it was over quickly.
ODDS AND ENDS:
No mention of Rob Ford tonight. RoFo needs to step up his game.
“SNL” sketches work really well when they’re centered on a good retro song. Two weeks ago, it was host Josh Hutcherson lip-syncing to The Outfield’s “Josie” and this week, it’s Rudd and Vanessa Bayer dancing to Fleetwood Mac’s “I Don’t Want To Know.”
In a touching moment, Jacob the Bar Mitzvah boy (Vanessa Bayer) says goodbye to Seth Meyers on “Weekend Update,” This is the first time anyone has mentioned his upcoming mid-season departure all season.
Congratulations, Directioners for holding in your screams until (near) the end of the performances. No small feat, especially since both songs were fairly quiet, acoustic numbers.
SHOW RATING: 4 our of 5 stars