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Saturday Night Live: Kevin Hart Does James Brown; Kate McKinnon Mocks Bieber's Underwear Ads

Plus: The Oscars become a target

Liz Raftery

Saturday Night Live kicked off 2015 this weekend with an episode that featured host Kevin Hart and musical guest Sia. But the real highlight from the evening was Kate McKinnon's Justin Bieber impersonation, which needs to become a weekly feature starting immediately.

After an opening monologue that felt mostly like a truncated standup routine, Hart was allowed to run free through subsequent sketches that included a James Brown impersonation and a tongue-in-cheek bit about Brooklyn stereotypes. Some of the episode's strongest writing came through in the cold open - a tribute to Martin Luther King that also lampooned the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for its all-white lineup of Oscar nominees this season. It was a nice switch from the tepid cold opens that have been prevalent in this mediocre (at best) season.

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Check out highlights from the episode below:

MLK Cold Open: Kenan Thompson plays the ghost of Martin Luther King, Jr., who's dismayed to learn, from a student trying to write an essay on King's legacy (Pete Davidson), how little has changed since the Civil Rights movement.

Justin Bieber's Calvin Klein commercials: Kate McKinnon resurrects her Justin Bieber impersonation in a pitch-perfect mockery of his ridiculous Calvin Klein ads.

Bushwick friends: In this great bit, Hart teams up with Thompson and Jay Pharoah as a trio of friends who have shared interests that are very ... 21st-century Brooklyn.

Get On Up: Hart throws himself into this sketch, poking fun at James Brown's stage persona as he tries to convince his band mates to get "more funky."

Weekend Update: The Oscars remained punching bag fodder through "Weekend Update," with co-host Michael Che lamenting the dearth of good roles that are available to black actors and actresses. Colin Jostactually works in a few pretty good Mitt Romney barbs.

Kevin's son: This sketch is worth it primarily to see Pharoah's impression of Kevin Hart, as he plays Hart's long-lost son, the product of a one-night stand with his mom, Leslie Jones.