I asked for an end to genocide.

Cold Opening – The New York Children’s Chorus performs “Silent Night”
At first, I assumed this performance was in response to the Connecticut shooting.  Then I figured it was just be the kids singing.  But as it turns out, it probably was in response to Connecticut.  Anyway, they sounded good.

Martin Short’s Monologue
What really made this monologue work was the timing of the revelation of the guest appearances:  Oh, Kristen’s stopping back.  And Jimmy’s here, too!  And Tom Hanks!  And Sam Jackson?!  (Oh, but he’s too scary to kiss.) B+

Tony Bennett Christmas
I really enjoyed that reference to Imagine Dragons.  I could totally buy that Tony Bennett would show off that he’s cool by showing that he knows Wiz Khalifa.  But Imagine Dragons?  That’s going a little deeper. B

Royal Doctor
The hackiness was a little hard to bear, but some of the puns were genuinely funny.  I think my favorite among the acceptable terms for Kate Middleton’s vagina was “the Chunnel.” B-

You’re a Rat Bastard, Charlie Brown
It’s a mash-up culture now in the 21st century, and SNL knows how to mash ’em up like few others, as evidenced by putting Charlie Brown in the context of foul-mouthed, crotchety, or just plain crazy actors.  Martin Short was especially commendable for capturing the essence of Larry David. B+

Paul McCartney (with Joe Walsh) performs “My Valentine”
Kisses on the Bottom is certainly not my favorite stage of Paul McCartney’s career, but I can’t say that this performance lacked in skill and polish. B

Weekend Update
-The Jokes: Seth definitely tickled my funny bone enough to make me mark this down as his best routine of the season.  Simply put, there were several jokes I marked down as memorably laughable: the Chinese dog, the deer pope (a nice bit of surrealism), the Bob Marley class at 8:00 AM, and Kim Jong Un celebrating with cake (a nice, Norm MacDonald-esque surprise of a punchline). B
-The Segments: – Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy: Thank you, Seth, for explaining what it was about this segment that made it work (“a low-level roast of your family”).  Well, tha-eet is tha-eet. B
-The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation with at a Party: The Girl…’s stingingly sarcastic echo of “You mean ships that are bipartisan?” was a little scary, and brought a new level to this segment.  Of course, every other line was hilarious as well, especially the Secret Santa one. B+

What Up With That?
One of the guests flipping out had to happen eventually.  Good call making the guest who did it be Samuel L. Jackson. B+

Paul McCartney (with Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, and Pat Smear) performs “Cut Me Some Slack”
This rocked. A-

Old Friends at Restoration Hardware
I have been getting a Monty Python vibe from several SNL sketches lately, and while this sketch may have seemed rather low-key compared to most Monty Python sketches, it had an MP feel in that each line was initially hiding some bizarre aspect of the truth.  The 25 bagel a day-diet was its own unique thing, however. B+

Holiday Pageant Auditions
A little loud (but not quite too loud), but the timing was right.  I also, naturally, appreciated how this sketch led right into the next performance. B

Paul McCartney (with the New York Children’s Chorus) performs “Wonderful Christmastime”
For those of you do not place this song too highly among Christmas tunes – really, truly despise it: come on, it’s not that bad.  Sure, it is rather saccharine, but it’s got rhythm.  And the kids helped it along. B

Overall
Christmas episodes tend to have a fair amount of guest appearances, but this volume of guesting was damn near unprecedented.  (I guess everyone stayed in NYC after the 12-12-12 concert.)  Somehow, this episode didn’t feel overstuffed: everyone played a part, and nobody was overwhelming.  There weren’t really any huge standout performances (except for Cecily as The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t…, of course), but everyone was about as good as they needed to be.

I thought that this was going to be the third time in three appearances that I highlighted The Girl You Wish Hadn’t Started a Conversation with at a Party as the best of the episode, but there were actually some other sketches I highlighted those other times.  So, for the FIRST time, here’s The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation with at a Party as the best of the episode: