Saturday Night Live's annual star-studded Christmas episode kicked off with a more solemn tone last night.
In honor of the 20 children and six school employees who lost their lives in the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newton, Conn. Friday, the New York City Children's Choir took the stage and performed a touching rendition of "Silent Night."
The performance took the place of the comedic sketch that typically opens the show, but the host of the evening, SNL alum Martin Short, still performed the show's signature monologue, returning to the late night laugher for his third hosting stint.
"I can't tell you how humble your response makes a comedic icon like myself feel," Short said after receiving a rousing round of applause when he took the stage. "It's an honor to be here. SNL has always been my first love, followed by the movies, theater, and then money and then family."
And since this is the time of year when "the most babies are made," the Cat in the Hat star proceeded to sing "It's the Most Promiscuous Time of the Year," make out with an audience member's wife and kiss the new female cast members. He then headed backstage where Kristen Wiig, Jimmy Fallon, Tom Hanks, Samuel L. Jackson, and Tina Fey all made lightning-fast cameos.
Unfortunately, except for Jackson, that was the last we saw of them (what a tease!).
The Django Unchained star popped up again as a guest on the "What's Up With That? Christmas Spectacular" skit, where Keenan Thompson and Jason Sudeikis reprised their roles as the show's host DeAndre Cole, and his track-suit-loving, MC Hammer-dancing sidekick. Portlandia's Carrie Brownstein was also a guest on the show, and while she stayed silent the whole time, Jackson, was very vocal, accidently dropping an F-bomb when DeAndre kept cutting him off (his trademark).
Although Jackson later tweeted he said "fuh" and not "f-ck" on the show, Thompson was visibly a little shocked (and tickled) when Jackson said the word, almost dropping out of character and laughing as he said, "Come on Sam…that costs money."
Alec Baldwin was also on hand to reprise his role as Tony Bennett for the "Tony Bennett Christmas skit," introducing his younger brother Jerry Bennett (Short).
Paul McCartney, who served as the musical guest on the show, appeared in the "Holiday Pageant" skit with Short. The pair played musical duo Caleb and Monty who auditioned for their town's Christmas parade, performing "Holiday Time, Holiday Cheer." Monty (McCartney) played the triangle and sang nothing because, as Caleb (Short) said, "you do not want to hear Monty sing."
"I have the million dollar voice. You don't," Caleb said before breaking out into song and a very awkward looking dance number.
Monty did sing soon after though, switching into ultra-cool Paul McCartney mode and breaking out into "Wonderful Christmas Time" with a full band and the children's choir returning to the stage. McCartney also performed "Valentine" later on in the show, and hit the stage again with Nirvana's Pat Smear, Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, performing "Cut Me Some Slack".
Short went on to bring on the laughs in several more skits.
In the faux commercial for the New York Actor's Studio's performance of "You're a Rat Bastard, Charlie Brown" several of the cast mates gave spot on impressions, taking on Al Pacino as Charlie Brown (Bill Hader), Philip Seymour Hoffman as Pig Pen (Sudeikis), Edie Falco as Lucy (Kate McKinnon), Larry David as Linus (Short), and Forest Whitaker as Freckle (Thompson), among others.
And then on "Royal Family Doctor," Short played a gap-toothed Buckingham Palace representative who visited Kate Middleton's OBGYN (Hader) to let him know how to deal with the Duchess of Cambridge's "Downton Abbey," telling the doc that it was unacceptable to use the word "vagina" and that he should instead refer to it as "the Governess" or "ma lady," for example.
"Do you see any cause where you'll have a need to examine the royal butthole," Short also asked, which he said should be called the "Church of Taint Andrews."
(Saturday Night Live and E! are a part of the NBC Universal family).
So, tell us, what did you think of Short's third crack at hosting the show? Did he sink or swim?
Sound off in the comments.