Saturday Night Live Report Card: Season 43, Episode 9: Kevin Hart

It's hard to believe it's already time for the final SNL of 2017, but here we are. It's that magical time of the year where we all just want to roast some chestnuts on the fire, drink some hot cocoa, and watch some SNL Christmas sketches! Kevin Hart returns for his third turn as host, and I'm hoping for a strong episode after a weak one last week.

Cold Open: White House Tree Trimming:
This was a great way to start the show. This was easily the show's best Trump-y cold open this whole season. It relied on both Trump and other characters, and wasn't just another "Trump Says Dumb Things" sketch. They aren't exactly the most original sketches, but I do appreciate that they're improving. Baldwin's Trump not making weekly appearances is helping greatly. This sketch also somewhat reminded me of the old Clinton Halloween Party sketch, with various guests coming to a holiday party, though this one had ornaments instead of costumes. Also, it was great to have Scarlett Johansson back!
My Score: 9/10

Kevin Hart Monologue:
This monologue is one of the reasons why I like Kevin Hart so much. He can just come out and be himself, and it can be really funny. It's not an elaborate monologue, and it never relied on the cast for help. Hart's just a funny guy, and that's really all it takes for a good monologue. (Though being funny isn't exactly a guarantee that a monologue will be good.)
My Score: 8/10

Holiday Jewelry:
Like most commercial parodies, I found this to be very entertaining and I really enjoyed watching it. It wasn't quite as LOL funny as other commercial parodies (like last season's hilarious CHONK), but it was still really good. Considering what would come up next, this is even better.
My Score: 8.5/10

Office Phone Call:
And here is where the show went straight into the crapper (pun intended). This was a truly awful sketch that has no business existing. This show can do so much better than poop jokes, especially ones this horrid. How did this air so early in the night? That right there was a sign that we were in for a rough show. You don't need to be clairvoyant to know that.
My Score: 2/10

Captain Shadow and the Cardinal:
I wanted to like this, but I thought it was just okay. It really wasn't really that funny or interesting (it felt super long for some reason), but it was still decent. Airing after the ten millionth poop joke sketch really helped though. Still, Redd really tried to sell the sidekick character, and he was easily the best part of the sketch. I wouldn't mind seeing him return.
My Score: 7/10

Inside the NBA:
This was just not really good. I enjoyed the references to Charles Barkley campaigning for Doug Jones in Alabama, but that's really about it. After that it just went downhill and was really boring and I didn't laugh at all.
My Score: 6/10

Weekend Update:
I came into Update this week hoping for great jokes about the Alabama senate election, and that's about all I got. Everything else was pretty tepid. The bit with Leslie Jones as former White House.... something Omarosa was okay at best (she was put to better use earlier in the night). Some of the other jokes weren't all that good. It's all just very disappointing, because after a rough night I was hoping for a better Update, which is usually good at the very least. And then Boat Guy came on. And you know what? I didn't hate him this time. He wasn't great, but I will take back what I said during my review of the premiere (Boat Guy just isn't a character that works for me, and it's probably always going to stay that way). He's grown on me.
My Score: 7.5/10

Nativity Play:
Well, at least the llama-camel was cute.
My Score: 5/10

Christmas Party:
Oh my God, someone please put me out of my misery.
My Score: 4/10

Active Jack:
After all the garbage before this, this was a welcome treat. It wasn't like it was fantastic, but it was a marked improvement on what preceded. The first half of the sketch with Kevin Hart wasn't all that great, but I loved the second half with Kenan as a geriatric Active Jack, joined by Kate McKinnon (and, unfortunately, not Melissa Villaseñor). I really loved the reveal that Villaseñor's character is not longer with us.
My Score: 7.5/10

This was the worst SNL of the season. The Larry David and James Franco episodes weren't very good, but even they had multiple sketches that were very good. This had two. And those were at the beginning of the show. After that, we just had a plethora of mediocrity, with some true garbage stuffed in there. With someone as funny as Kevin Hart serving as host, this should have been a million times better. The Foo Fighters Christmas medley and the ice skating with the cast was great though!
Grade: D
Score: 5/10
Pass or Fail: Fail
MVP of the Week: Scarlett Johansson
Sketch of the Night: 
Cold Open: White House Tree Trimming
Worst of the Night: Office Phone Call

Top 5 Hosts of the Season:
 Chance the Rapper
2) Saoirse Ronan
3) Tiffany Haddish
4) Kumail Nanjiani
5) Gal Gadot

What did you think of this week's SNL? Did you like it better than I did? What was your favorite sketch this week? Let me know in the comments and vote in the poll below!

*Photos courtesy of*

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