Casey Affleck Hosts SNL: Watch Video of the Best and Worst Sketches

Despite being fronted by the bland Casey Affleck, Saturday Night Live closed out 2016 with an episode that fired on nearly all cylinders.

The Manchester by the Sea actor made virtually no lasting impression during his hosting debut, save for a mildly amusing Dunkin Donuts commercial that came directly after the monologue. For the remainder of the evening, Affleck proved unremarkable in sketches where he was completely overshadowed by both repertory players and a bevy of special guests. Instead, the writing was where this episode excelled, at times flirting with a level not seen since Dave Chappelle lorded over Studio 8H in November.

The above-average affair relied heavily on Kate McKinnon, who not only put in a return appearance as alien-abduction survivor Ms. Rafferty, but reprised her role as Hillary Clinton in SNL‘s best post-election sketch. Meanwhile, the always-sublime John Goodman factored into the latest Donald Trump-centric cold open. Fred Armisen also stopped by, albeit in two segments barely worth mention, including Weekend Update.

Lo and behold, my picks for best and worst sketches:

BEST: HILLARY ACTUALLY
The Internet is home to far too many Love Actually think pieces, but that won’t stop the dozens of new ones that’ll surface once bloggers feast their eyes on this brilliant SNL spoof. Parodying the iconic “To me, you are perfect” scene, Hillary turns up at the door of an elector and uses an absurd number of note cards to ask that she reconsider casting her vote for Trump on Monday. Among the alternatives she suggests to write in: John Kasich, Tom Hanks, Zendaya, The Rock and a rock.

BEST: JINGLE BARACK
Kenan Thompson and musical guest Chance the Rapper fronted this top-notch music video about celebrating the last holiday before President Barack Obama leaves office. Throw in Run DMC’s Darryl McDaniels, Leslie Jones giving off Salt-N-Pepa vibes and a breakdancing Jesus, and you’ve got yourself the best music video since 2013’s “Do It On My (Twin Bed).”

BEST: CHRISTMAS MIRACLE 
Ms. Rafferty, the character that famously sent Ryan Gosling into a Fallon-esque giggle fit, was back in all her glory. In this similarly hilarious follow-up, the chain-smoking loon detailed her run-in with one of Santa’s lesser-known helpers — a nine-foot tall goat man by the name of Crinklemouse (sp?) — and a Gollum-looking elf named Shart.

HONORABLE MENTION: DONALD TRUMP CHRISTMAS COLD OPEN
There was nothing particularly special about Alec Baldwin’s latest turn as the president-elect. Most enjoyable was the casting of 12-time SNL host Goodman as Secretary of State pick Rex Tillerson, who was especially funny during his interactions with Beck Bennett’s Vladimir Putin.

WORST: ROBOT PRESENTATION
Oh goodie, more branded content! [Insert shrug emoji guy.] Remember that godawful Honda Robotics sketch from the Emily Blunt episode? Well this was pretty much the same thing, only now it was a Microsoft event and the robots were engineered to function as walking, talking, antiquated gay stereotypes.

WORST: NEW YORK NOW
Affleck, Strong and McKinnon played three Long Islanders being interviewed about the world’s worst nativity pageant. There was nothing particularly chuckle-worthy about the highlights, or Affleck reciting some of his favorite lines lifted directly from Austin Powers and Borat. (Watch it here.)

What were your favorite sketches of the night? And what missed the mark? Grade the episode via our poll, then hit the comments and make your picks.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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22 Comments
  1. Scott says:

    This was the worst SNL I may have ever seen. Wow, that was unfunny.

    • Leah says:

      LOL. Don’t like your precious Trump being called out?

      • Scott says:

        I hare Trump! What a Drumph! No, just the whole show seemed crappy, like they didn’t give a fart.

      • Steven says:

        I voted for Hillary and can’t stand Trump, but I agree this episode was below average at best. The only sketch I really enjoyed was the Hillary Actually sketch.

      • xyz says:

        People are sick of politics yet you have to keep bringing it up. The episode was weak with the exception weekend update.

      • grazelled says:

        Really…it’s been over a month already, get over yourself! The show had mostly terrible writing.

      • DS says:

        That was an absolute waste of 90 minutes I will never get back–and I’m done wasting my time with such an unfunny show. Those cold openings are so repetitive and I’ve hated Alex Baldwin since he went after his 11 year old daughter–so, my dislike of him is years old. Problem with SNL–they get a laugh from something and then beat it into the ground because it worked so well the first 500 times. It’s sad they can’t evolve into better bits. Adios, I value my time way more then this garbage….. If anyone deserves to be “called out” that would be Loren Michael–he should find better writers then retire.

  2. Mark says:

    I think it’s Kringelmaus, but they probably just made it up, anyway, since it wasn’t Krampus (who is real! be good!).

  3. Bob Lamm says:

    “Antiquated gay stereotypes” have been seen on SNL forever. There hasn’t been nearly enough criticism over decades of homophobia.

  4. Susannah says:

    I can’t get the Jingle Barack song out of my head, I loved it! “I’m drinking egg nog like I don’t care, gonna hurt myself before we lose Obamacare.” Funny but true for a lot of people unfortunately.

  5. Manu says:

    Casey Affleck should be in jail.

    • LC says:

      Or at least questioned about his sexual harassment allegations. Where are all the think pieces about how people should not celebrate someone who has been accused of violating another person that popped up with Nate Parker? IMO Nate Parker deserved the scrutiny. I’m just wondering why Casey Affleck isn’t getting the same treatment especially considering he’s the front-runner to win the Best Actor Oscar.

  6. Kevin says:

    Not the way SNL wanted to end 2016 on a high note. They need better sketches to make it funny and entertaining.

  7. Haz says:

    Umm Casey Affleck is not a bland actor, he is pretty damn talented. Sorry but SNL sucks now it hasn’t been funny since 2010 or maybe even before. Kate McKinnon better drop this sinking ship fast. Also can the writers for this site please stick to TV news and keep their asshole opinions to themselves.

  8. dman6015 says:

    Gave it a B. I would have given it an A if Affleck had decided to show up.

  9. Liked it Better says:

    You missed the point of “New York Now.” The idea was that the notion of making the nativity a comedy was doomed to fail, and that the “bits” the parents (who took over the production from their own kids) tried to introduce, including plagiarizing lines from movies, were just dumb. The reporter was trying to look all hip and in on the joke, ignorant to how bad it really was. Not sure why it needed the extra “layer” of the studio newscasters, though.

    The Armisen/Bayer bit during Weekend Update, portraying the world’s most notorious autocrat as a cheap and party host, was at least something fresh.

  10. SGFan says:

    The robot presentation had me in tears actually…that was Affleck’s best. I also liked the news segment with Putin’s friends and the whispering.
    I’m not sure why TVL has this petty hatred towards Casey Affleck or movie stars in general…get over it, they are more famous and recognizable than your precious TV stars. Stay Triggered!!

  11. Bruce Wayne says:

    Anything with Fred Arminsen on it….fail.

    McKinnon’s head is getting way to big for the show.

    Colin Jost wouldnknow funny if it bit him in the butt.

    • Jill says:

      OMG I finally found someone who may hate Fred Armisen as much as I do. I can not stand that man and do not find him funny at all.

  12. Kiwi3 says:

    Three great sketches:the opening, the Christmas miracle and the music video for “Jingle Barack”!

    Otherwise, meh!
    The robot sketch and the sketch with Mrs Claus and the elves was actually offensive, not funny on any level to me. I was cringing through both.
    It was as if it was two different types of writing teams or shows in one.

  13. Amanda says:

    Great show! I love you Casey affleck! Marry me! Loved the dunkin donut skit so much! Casey is fantastic! ✌🏻️❤️ Mandy