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SNL: Tina Fey Returns as Sarah Palin, the Comedy Gift That Keeps on Giving

rootin-tootin', holy-rollin' lunacy

Liam Mathews

Winter Storm Jonas shut down all of New York City... except Studio 6H. As Ronda Rousey noted in her monologue, Saturday Night Live was the only show in town. The episode had plenty of lowlights, like a totally tasteless sketch celebrating statutory rape that never should have made it out of the writers' room, but there were also a number of highlights, like Tina Fey's triumphant return as Sarah Palin and a very strong Weekend Update. Here are our favorite sketches of the night.

Trump/Palin cold open: Tina Fey looks even more like Sarah Palin now than she did in 2008, and Palin's insane Donald Trump endorsement speech gave the show the perfect opportunity to bring her back. The writers barely had to do any work, since Palin's speech was so funny on its own that Fey basically just recited the strangest moments. When they did write jokes, they were killer, like, "We've seen our own children targeted by the police for no reason other than they've committed some crimes." Darrell Hammond's Trump is great too.

Screen Guild Awards: The show had a smart take on the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, with only white actors in primarily black movies earning nominations. The absurd escalation at play doubled as commentary on the absurdity of whitewashing the Oscars. The sketch also showed the value of having more than just one or two token black actors, since this sketch would have been difficult to pull off without five black cast members.

Bland Man: This pitch-perfect Bachelor parody nails all of the ridiculousness of Ben Higgins & Co.: the "black one," the ugly feet, the constant "can I steal him?" interruptions. I pointed out on Twitter a couple of weeks ago the similarity between the contestant Lace and Cecily Strong's drunk girl character, and Cecily Strong's performance here is clearly based on Lace. Tweet me a high-five for being so perceptive.

Weekend Update: Michael Che and Colin Jost are finally getting the hang of being Weekned Update anchors, and this is their strongest outing I've seen yet. Almost all of their jokes were solid. But Leslie Jones stole the show with her rant about Leonardo DiCaprio.

City Council: This weird little bit of nonsense reminded me of the reliably hilarious city council meetings on Parks & Rec, so I would be predisposed to like this even if it wasn't very good. Fortunately, there was a lot of good stuff in here, like DroneMILFs.com and Kate McKinnon's weird old Irish lady, who I hope becomes a recurring character.