Saturday Night Live: Jason Bateman hosts a night of happy returns

Jason Bateman (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images for WarnerMedia)
Jason Bateman (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images for WarnerMedia) /

As Saturday Night Live returned from a month-long hiatus, Jason Bateman brought consistent entertainment in his second hosting appearance.

To start season 46, Saturday Night Live produced six live episodes in six weeks, an unprecedented run for the show. Since then, fans had to wait four weeks for a new episode. The show finally returned this week with guest host Jason Bateman, a fitting choice for SNL‘s first new episode in a month, since Bateman himself has gone 15 years since his last hosting gig.

Beyond Bateman, the show was filled with some other happy returns as cast members returned to Studio 8H and got back to what they do best. Here are the highlights.

Saturday Night Live highlights: Michigan Hearings Cold Open

I don’t usually touch on the cold opens in my reviews. SNL‘s political sketches tend to get the most press already, so I try to focus on the rest of the show. This time though, I have to mention how nice it was to see Cecily Strong back on Saturday Night Live. She did some pre-taped cameos earlier in the season, but now it looks like she’s back for good and I’m very glad.

She was given a very tough task in her first sketch back. She was cast to play Melissa Carone, the “star witness” in Trump’s Michigan voter fraud hearings, just days after Carone’s testimony.

Carone herself is so ridiculous that it’s pretty much impossible for any impression to be funnier than the real woman herself. Still, Cecily did a great job, and her delivery of the line “You wanna talk about random? I voted for Trump, yet Biden won… Hmmm…. Maybe a little too random!” was absolutely perfect.

Saturday Night Live highlights: Jason Bateman Monologue

There weren’t too many jokes in this monologue, but it was well-delivered and I’m always here for SNL throwback references.

My favorite part? Seeing Kenan Thompson in the background of a Saturday Night Live clip from fifteen years ago!

Saturday Night Live highlights: Stu

Pete Davidson returned to his wheelhouse with another rap parody. His Christmas version of “Stan” clearly received Eminem’s approval with a cameo at the end of the sketch.

The lyrics here were actually fantastic, and I just enjoyed listening to it. As with Bateman’s monologue, this sketch wasn’t all that laugh-out-loud funny, but it was solidly entertaining. Plus, Bowen Yang as Elton John absolutely killed me.

Saturday Night Live highlights: The Christmas Conversation

This one was very… real. Most of the humor here came from just how spot-on this sketch was. I could believe that the script was heavily based on real conversations the SNL writers had with their parents in the past few weeks.

The best part is definitely Kenan Thompson playing Ego Nwodim’s dad, who for some reason is quarantining from his wife (Punkie Johnson) even though they live in the same house.

Saturday Night Live highlights: Morgan Wallen Party

I was surprised when I heard Morgan Wallen was going to be the musical guest so soon after he got cut from the show at the last minute. It was a good call by SNL to address it instead of just completely forgive Wallen’s reckless behavior. And inviting Wallen back was another way the night was all about returns.

It seems like the running theme of this episode was fun, entertaining sketches that weren’t necessarily laugh-out-loud funny. I loved this sketch because I love it when SNL gets self-referential, and this sketch was entirely that. The dig towards Lorne Michaels (“He’s a goddamn man, he’s got balls the size of Toyotas!”) was especially welcome.

Saturday Night Live highlights: Bits

I always love it when Kyle Mooney gets sweet. He’s a talented performer who can play a much wider variety of roles than the ones he usually gets type-cast in. Again, I didn’t laugh much, but this sketch was highly relatable and very silly. Mooney also did a surprisingly good job with the vocals–nice work Kyle!

Other Stray Thoughts

  • SNL just loves to do “dad at a sleepover” sketches, don’t they?
  • I feel bad, but Michael Che’s joke about the 102-year-old woman who survived COVID-19 had me cackling.
  • The “Santa’s Village” sketch was a bit of a mess, but Kyle Mooney as a virtual elf telling a family to “stick your hands in my tummy and get some hand sanitizer” was peak Kyle.
  • Heidi Gardner has been doing Bailey Gismert for almost three years now, and she’s still hilarious.
  • Timothée Chalamet makes his hosting debut next weekend. What are the chances Bowen Yang writes him a Sara Lee-style sketch?

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What was your favorite sketch of the night? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and keep checking Last Night On for more news and highlights.