When the 2016 Oscar nominations were announced nearly two weeks ago, the response to the overwhelmingly white line-up of talent proved instantly controversial. Film fans and industry veterans alike gathered around the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag to make their voices heard, especially decrying how films starring black actors and directed by black filmmakers — like Creed and Straight Outta Compton — somehow managed to only receive nominations for the white people involved in making them. With material this ripe, of course SNL was going to take a swipe at the Academy Awards this week.
The moment former Alaskan governor and 2008 Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin endorsed Donald Trump for President of the United States, you know the producers at SNL hurried to get Tina Fey on the phone. The beloved former cast member, who just hosted the show last month, famously took on the role of Palin eight years ago and many people believe that her scathing imitation actually did lasting harm to the real Palin’s political chances. In any case, this event allowed SNL to pair Fey’s Palin with Darrell Hammond‘s Trump. Thanks, reality!
With Star Wars: The Force Awakens star Adam Driver hosting 2016’s first episode of SNL, a Kylo Ren sketch of some kind was inevitable. After all, you don't get the actor who plays the villain in one of the biggest movies of all time to appear on your comedy variety show and not have him reprise that character. And we'll give the show this much: we never would have predicted a faux episode of Undercover Boss set on Starkiller Base, with the angry, murderous Kylo Ren going undercover amongst his troops as a radar technician named Matt.
It’s a testament to the staying power of certain public figures that they’ve been played by more than one SNL cast member over the years. People like Hillary Clinton, the former First Lady turned former Senator turned former Secretary of State turned current Democratic Presidential frontrunner, linger on long past Saturday Night Live cast rotations. So what is the show to do when one of its guest hosts used to play a vital and very much in the public eye politician back in the day? Put her on stage with the current version, of course.
Dual guest hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler brought a lot of magic to last night’s episode of SNL, but the former cast members and Sisters co-stars probably hit their peak with a sort-of-music-video about their “Dope Squad,” aka the team of perfectly ordinary people who make their lives better on a daily basis. And while they may be wearing tight leather outfits, wielding weapons, and posing dramatically in front of post-apocalyptic imagery, the subject matter is far more mundane…and then Amy Schumer shows up.
SNL delivers the greatest Christmas gift of all by inviting both Tina Fey and Amy Poehler to host the 2015 finale together, the way nature intended. With their new comedy Sisters in theaters this weekend (take that, Star Wars), the duo hit the SNL stage in top form with a handful of surprise guests, a couple of classic characters and a whole, whole lot of joy. Read on for our ranking of this week’s sketches from best to worst.