Senator Al Franken’s long association with “Saturday Night Live” (airing Saturdays at 8:30 p.m. PT/11:30 p.m. ET on Global) stretches back to its first season, leading many fans of the show to wonder how this week’s episode would handle Franken resigning from the Senate amidst numerous allegations of sexual harassment.
As it turned out, that was addressed in the cold open of the James Franco-hosted episode, featuring Kenan Thompson as a mall Santa and Kate McKinnon as his elf assistant while an array of children paraded through to sit on Santa’s lap.
Along with listing off their Christmas gift wishes to St. Nick, the kids also had questions — lots of questions, uncomfortable ones about allegations surrounding President Donald Trump, candidate Roy Moore and Franken, with one kid asking, “What did Al Franken do?”
“OK, wow, uh, let’s see…” replies the flustered mall Santa. “I guess you could say that Al Franken is on Santa’s naughty list this year.”
Another standout sketch surrounded host James Franco playing himself, returning home for the holidays to be greeted by his cousin Mandy (cast member Heidi Gardner), who kind of misunderstands Franco’s latest movie, “The Disaster Artist”, which chronicles the making of one of filmdom’s all-time worst movies, Tommy Wiseau’s “The Room”.
“OK, little Jamey, whatever you say,” quips Mandy, “but remember when you used to make good movies?” The highlight of the sketch comes courtesy of a surprise appearance by Franco’s “Disaster Artist” co-star and real-life sibling, Dave Franco.
“Weekend Update” had a lot of ground to cover this week, ranging from President Trump throwing his support behind accused pedophile Roy Moore, Franken’s resignation and much more. With sexual harassment continuing to dominate the headlines, offering her own unique take was Cathy Anne (Cecily Strong), a.k.a. the woman who’s always yelling outside Michael Che’s window.
Speaking of sexual harassment, one of the evening’s funnier sketches involves allegations of sexual harassment in an office, leading to the firings of a repentant boss (Franco) and universally beloved (but unbelievably pervy) security guard Charlie (Thompson).
The highlight of the episode, however, came in a hilariously over-the-top sketch in which Franco plays an over-enthusiastic gift-wrapper at a department store. Things go off the rails when a paper cut causes his finger to start bleeding, eventually spurting blood like a firehose in an apparent homage to Dan Aykroyd’s iconic Julia Child sketch. Franco’s sketch, however, takes things way further when he then accidentally chops off a finger on his other hand and then, inexplicably, his foot, resulting in blood-spewing hilarity.
“Saturday Night Live” airs Saturdays at 8:30 p.m. PT/11:30 p.m. ET on Global; you can also watch full episodes online. Tune in on Saturday, Dec. 16 for the final episode of 2017, when host Kevin Hart will be joined by Foo Fighters.