The Best & Worst Sketches From Casey Affleck's 'Saturday Night Live'

With all the awards buzz surrounding Casey Affleck for his performance in Manchester by the Sea, it should come as no surprise that he ended up hosting Saturday Night Live. But what is surprising is that he hosted the Christmas episode, one that is usually reserved for SNL veterans or huge stars, bringing about an episode full of great sketches and plenty of cameos. Affleck acknowledged this fact in his monologue, but he didn't do anything to make us feel better about missing out on what could have been one of those great holiday shows.

Sadly, last night's episode of SNL was a pretty bland, disappointing end to 2016 for the show, and while Casey Affleck wasn't the worst host, he certainly didn't help matters any. We recap the best and worst episodes from the Casey Affleck hosted Saturday Night Live after the jump.

The Best

Dunkin Donuts – If Casey Affleck could have played an angry Bostonian the entire night, the episode might have been much better, because this sketch was hilarious. The only thing that could have made it better would have been if Ben Affleck or Matt Damon made a Good Will Hunting cameo.

Jingle Barack – In the style of Run-DMC's holiday rap "Christmas in Hollis," Kenan Thompson and musical guest Chance the Rapper teamed up to deliver a hip hop tune about President Barack Obama leaving office. The style of the video and the cleverness of the rap lyrics is what makes this stand out, even if it's not a laugh out loud hilarious as some of the musical sketches SNL has done before. Plus, the real Darryl McDaniels from Run-DMC makes a cameo, so that's cool.

Hillary Actually – Kate McKinnon's facial expressions as Hillary Clinton are the comedian's secret weapon to making this characterization work. And when she does a sketch where the former presidential candidate doesn't speak, they really shine. Parodying that rather creepy scene from Love Actually, she pleads with an elector to reconsider their vote for Donald Trump, and the content of the cards is damn funny.Casey Affleck Hosted Saturday Night Live

The Average

Christmas Miracle – Kate McKinnon's recurring character Ms. Rafferty still hasn't lived up to her first appearance after an alien abduction in the Ryan Gosling episode, but there were still some laughs to be had here.

Robot Presentation – At first I wondered if this would turn out like the Honda Robotics sketch, but instead it went in a completely different direction. With the exception of the Dunkin Donuts sketch, this was the best thing that Casey Affleck did all night, mostly because his dry personality lent itself to the apprehensive character confused by the sexual proclivities of a robot built for office work. The concept was funnier than the execution, but still not that great to begin with. Oh, and Fred Armisen was there for no good reason.

Donald Trump Christmas – Alec Baldwin is always great as Trump, but this sketch just didn't work as well is it should have. Maybe it's just because the real concern of Russian being involved in the election is still too fresh to be funny. Not even Beck Bennett's exaggerated Putin or a cameo from John Goodman can make this work better.

The Worst

New York Now – I would have preferred to watch this sketch play out with these characters chastising the children that they fired from the production. Casey Affleck was a little better in this sketch when he was poorly spouting Borat and Austin Powers lines, but still nothing special.

Mrs. Claus and the Elves – While this sketch was funny the first time around when Louis C.K. was a shoemaker dealing with these weirdly naughty elves, it wasn't as good the second time around when Ryan Gosling joined the elves and confounded Santa Claus. Now it's even less funny with the elves trying to get Mrs. Claus to punish them. Pack it up. This one's done.

Christmas Bar – While I get what this sketch is trying to do, the pacing is really bad, Casey Affleck is not good in it, and the premise is drawn out far too long. The only saving grace is hearing Kenan Thompson fail at trying to do the given accent.Casey Affleck Hosted Saturday Night Live

Weekend Update

Weekend Update felt like it was kind of sputtering out here, kind of devoid of energy and not nearly as sharp as previous weeks. Though I will say it picked up with the cut jokes from earlier in the season brought back to end the segment. Hopefully the long winter break gives Colin Jost and Michael Che some time to recover.

Putin's Best Friends From Growing Up Return – Oh, so this is why Fred Armisen was just around. I mean, sure these characters are funny, but bringing them back just for this when the segment wasn't as amusing as previous appearances feels like a waste.

The Host

When Casey Affleck was announced to host the Christmas episode, I thought that was a weird choice. Not only did it turn out to be a weird choice, but it turned out to be a bad one. This made for the least entertaining Christmas episode in recent memory. Affleck mumbled his way through his monologue, didn't do much better in any of the other live sketches, and only shined in the Dunkin Donuts sketch. Maybe it's his acting style, maybe he's just not a great comedic actor, but I wouldn't be mad if he never came back to host. But the joke about Ocean's 12 was funny, despite the fact that I still enjoy that sequel.


Kate McKinnon – Even if the return of Ms. Rafferty wasn't as funny as the first time, McKinnon is still great as that character. Plus, that Hillary Clinton sketch parodying Love Actually really showcased her facial comedy skills, something that goes unnoticed most of the time because line delivery overshadows them. Even her dead-eyed performance as Donald Trump's campaign manager Kellyanne Conway makes me laugh when the overall sketch isn't great. She just has a gift for comedy.

The Final Word

Well, this was a bummer of a way to end 2016 for Saturday Night Live. I think the writers and cast were pretty tired after doing so many runs of three episodes in a row this season, and the end of the year just fizzled out. It didn't help that there wasn't a host to give them renewed energy. What would have helped is if Chance the Rapper hosted instead, because his appearances in two sketches were energetic and fantastic. I'm sure he'll host at some point.

We'll be back in the middle of January after Felicity Jones hosts on January 14th.