Saturday Night Live: Scarlett Johansson helps get things back on track

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 22: Colin Jost and Scarlett Johansson attend the world premiere of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures "Avengers: Endgame" at the Los Angeles Convention Center on April 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 22: Colin Jost and Scarlett Johansson attend the world premiere of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures "Avengers: Endgame" at the Los Angeles Convention Center on April 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images) /

Saturday Night Live kicked off the holiday season with some of its best sketches of the season with help from host Scarlett Johansson.

For late night fans, it isn’t quite Christmas season until Saturday Night Live starts with its holiday sketches.That special time of the year finally arrived over the weekend as Scarlett Johansson returned to host an episode full of holiday laughs.

Season 45 of Saturday Night Live has seen a lot of familiar faces return to the show. Whether it is cameos in the cold open and sketches or returning hosts, SNL has shown a tendency to go with the familiar at times. And while this was Johansson’s sixth time hosting the show, there was a refreshing energy to the episode bolstered by some original sketches.

Christmas time usually brings that out in SNL’s cast and writers. Holiday traditions and shared experiences provide plenty of inspiration for sketches and this year was no different. Yes, politics remained a part of the process but sketches managed to bring something new to the table rather than just mocking the latest from President Donald Trump.

The cold open perhaps best exemplified what worked in the episode. Dedicated Saturday Night Live fans were growing a bit tired of the celebrity cameo trend to open the show. And for both Alec Baldwin and the audience, there is only so much President Trump the viewers can take.

So instead, SNL relied on the talent of the cast and used a creative premise to kick of its first Christmas episode while also not completely ignoring the biggest story in the country. The result was one of the best cold opens from a purely sketch comedy perspective of the season.

Scarlett Johansson followed with a monologue celebrating her role as Black Widow in Avengers: Infinity War. It wasn’t exactly the most current reference but the show acknowledged as much. It also gave an excuse to take another shot at Pete Davidson’s light workload this season. The bit closed out with a sincere moment on stage between Johansson and her fiance Colin Jost.

Once the sketches got rolling, there were two clear MVPs: Cecily Strong and Bowen Yang. Strong is once again making the case that she is Saturday Night Live‘s best asset. After being snubbed by Emmy voters last year , Strong has responded by coming back better than ever. Look no further than “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” for evidence:

Bowen Yang is proving right everyone who predicted he would be Saturday Night Live‘s breakout star. The writer-turned-performer has stolen about every sketch in which he has appeared while also developing some original characters. After delivering one of the best one-liners in the monologue, Yang revived his “Weekend Update” character known as “Trade Daddy.” Then he teamed with Johansson for “Celebrity Sighting.”

The most popular sketch of the night was undoubtedly the “Children’s Clothing Ad.” It joins another recent Christmas sketch in Matt Damon’s “Best Christmas Ever” by being far too accurate to ignore. Parents watching the sketch could relate to the struggle of getting kids to pose for Christmas portraits and younger viewers were reminded of what it was like to get dressed up in itchy sweaters and to act happy.

Like every host this season, Scarlett Johansson was up for anything and delivered when she had to in each sketch. Perhaps it was her familiarity with Colin Jost and the cast or it was the Christmas spirit,  but things looked to be a bit more relaxed than past weeks. Johansson ensured that she will be back to host Saturday Night Live again and again. It’s hard to say if it will be for another Christmas episode but Johansson has already made her contributions to what will be some of SNL”s best holiday sketches of all time.

Next week’s show is sure to bring even more Christmas and holiday themed sketches. The Dec. 21 episode will be the biggest of the season as Eddie Murphy returns to host. The Saturday Night Livelegend has had plenty of time to to think about what characters he may update for 2019. Murphy will have the challenge of competing against the standard set by Will Ferrell for alumni returning to host this year as well as the challenge of living up to his own reputation. If anyone can overcome that, it’s Eddie Murphy.

Related Story. Five of Saturday Night Live's best Christmas sketches. light

What did you think of Scarlett Johansson as host? What do you think of season 45 so far? Let us know in the comment section below. Keep checking Last Night On for more on Saturday Night Live and the rest of late night television.