Matt Damon Brings Tears To 'Saturday Night Live' With Both Laughter And Love

The Christmas episode of Saturday Night Live is one of holiday cheer and fun, and with host Matt Damon, that's exactly what we got, complete with some special guests in one of the best cold opens in awhile. But along with the laughter, we also got some heartfelt moments too, especially from our host. It was a great way to close out 2018 with SNL.

So without further adieu, let's run through the best and worst sketches of the Matt Damon hosted Saturday Night Live.

The Best

It's a Wonderful Trump – A lot of the sketches that bring back Alec Baldwin back as Donald Trump fall flat, but this is the first one that actually felt truly funny and perfect for both the holiday and the climate surrounding the Trump administration. It's an outstanding parody of It's a Wonderful Life, featuring Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro back as Michael Cohen and Robert Mueller, and the cavalcade of characters just makes this blissful alternate reality that much more enjoyable.

Best Christmas Ever – Even though pointing out the stress of being parents with young kids at Christmas is easy, this is a very well put together pre-recorded sketch. The juxtaposition is pulled off nicely, and even though it seems like a cynical perspective of being a parent at Christmas, it's still sweet at the very end. Christmas Vacation may have done this better, but I still liked it a lot.

Weezer – This is such a surprising, niche sketch, and I'd love to know where it came from. It feels like it was crafted solely for Weezer fans (of which I'm one of the bigger ones), but the presence of Leslie Jones yelling irately about when Weezer was the best is just hilarious. On top of that, Matt Damon's more subdued anger and response makes it even funnier. Man, I loved this sketch.

The Average

Oscars Host Auditions – It's another one of those sketches that features a large array of celebrity impersonations, and this one allows for some that we normally wouldn't see. Since most of the people auditioning for Oscars host are comedians, there are some great parodies of comics here like Michelle Wolf, Hannah Gadsby, and even an awesome impression of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel by Cecily Strong. It did feel a little lazy here and there though, so that kept it from being truly great.

Christmas Ornaments – Even though there were some technical difficulties with getting the right shot at certain points during the live airing of this sketch, the premise is a funny one. And man, do I wish that promotional Good Will Hunting ornament was a real thing that was sent out during Oscar season back in 1997.

Cop Christmas – Even though this sketch isn't exactly laugh out loud funny, the faux sweetness between these cops busting each others' balls was still pretty charming. Honestly, I think it would have been better if they took their treatment of Pauly to a more extreme level and made it outlandish. That would have made the charm that much more effective, in my opinion.

The Worst

Happy Christmas, Britain – In an attempt to be very British, this sketch doesn't really succeed. Even though Matt Damon looks great as David Cameron, and Kate McKinnon is on point as Prime Minister Theresa May, this just felt weak all around. A very poor use of the talk show format too.

Jingle Bells – The audience seemed to mostly be laughing at the fast-paced rendition of "Jingle Bells," but it's a very famous version of the song by Barbra Streisand. Maybe it was Cecily Strong's energetic presence that made it funnier than it otherwise would have been, but this sketch failed, especially since this format of a sketch has been done so much better with other duos.

Westminster Daddy Show – Here's a great example of a great premise wasted by bad execution. Even though the energy and style of the Westminster Dog Show is being perfectly parodied in this weird rendition, it just didn't land with me. The surprise twist of bringing Matt Damon's character into play was a nice try, but it wasn't enough to redeem the sketch for me.

Weekend Update

The energy seemed to be sucked out of the first half of Weekend Update this time, even though Colin Jost did have a fun one-off side comment about Michael Che. Also, the deadpan acknowledgement of the Traveling with Wes segment was pretty good, even if you could see the punchline coming from a mile away. But the second half featuring Colin and Michael swapping jokes brought more of what we need at the desk and that really livened things up.

Angel Reacts to Good Holiday News – This character doesn't need to be a recurring gag, but I do love the fact that they were able to have a couple good jokes about Creed II. Plus, having Matt Damon appear as her husband Tommy, putting on his Boston accent, was also a nice touch. Maybe that means this will be the end of this character.

The Host

It's crazy that Matt Damon hasn't hosted Saturday Night Live in 16 years, but it's nice to have him back for the Christmas episode, especially when he has nothing to promote. Aside from the fact that Matt Damon has great comedic chops, his opening monologue was touching as hell, and it even brought tears to my eyes. My parents were the kind who let me stay up to watch Saturday Night Live when I was young too, and it just made me feel all warm and gooey about those memories. Thanks, Matt Damon.


Cecily Strong as Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Saturday Night Live

Cecily Strong – I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Cecily Strong might be the most underrated cast member on SNL. Kate McKinnon gets a lot of the glory, but Cecily Strong is every bit as good, even if she doesn't have as many strong characters or great sketches. But in this case, even the sketches that weren't great, Cecily Strong was fantastic. But she was also in the best sketches of the night. Even when she was relegated to the side, like in the Weezer sketch, she was still funny. And that Marvelous Mrs. Maisel impression was tops.

The Final Word

This was a great way to end 2018 for Saturday Night Live. There was plenty of holiday fun to be had, a timely send-up of Donald Trump that actually gives us some hope for our future, and touching sentiments from Matt Damon. While it could have used some cameos from other SNL veterans just for s***s and giggles, this was a supremely satisfying episode. We'll be back next year with more reviews whenever SNL returns in January.