(Video) SNL: Children open with 'Silent Night', sing with McCartney; Samuel L. Jackson denies (some) profanity
This week's Christmas episode of "Saturday Night Live", hosted by former cast member Martin Short and set amid the back drop of the horrific shootings in Connecticut, provided a welcomed diversion to viewers still dealing with our national grief.
The show avoided any overt mention of the tragedy and instead chose to open with tribute to the fallen via a beautiful rendition of "Silent Night" performed by the New York City Children’s Chorus, with the refrain "Sleep in Heavenly Peace." They later joined scheduled singing guest Paul McCartney during "Wonderful Christmas Time."
After the screen faded to black, the entire chorus gleefully greeted viewers with the traditional "Live from New York, It's Saturday Night" opening.
Following that stirring opening with the singing children, things became decidedly adult.
(Caution: Video contains profanity - real and possibly imagined.)
McCartney singing wonderfully in tune at age 70 on live television and cameo appearances by Alec Baldwin, Tina Fey, Tom Hanks, Kristen Wiig, Carrie Brownstein and Jimmy Fallon were all knocked out of the potential big story spot as actor Samuel L. Jackson dropped what sure sounded like an accidental "f-bomb" during the live Eastern Time Zone broadcast.
Check out this clip of the broadcast posted on You Tube - which may or may not be up by the time you read this - and decide for yourself.
Jackson followed up with a definite "bulls--t" for good measure while he was participating in the return of the "What Up with That?" sketch featuring Kenan Thompson as the show's host.
Jackson claims he didn't say "f--k" but rather "fuh," adding that Thompson was supposed to cut him off with his second eruption, but ‘‘blew it!!’’
A special "K" indeed.
Minutes after the sketch aired - Jackson took to Twitter and told his 1.82 million-plus followers: "I only said FUH not F---K! K was sposed to cut off da BULLS--T, blew it!!"
Along with this "mea culpa" photo:
One thing is for sure, there's no doubt this week's episode was live. NBC didn't take any chances - the clip of the sketch it posted on the SNL website eliminated both the purported "fuh" and the no-doubt "bulls--t." The words don't appear at the 6:20 mark.
It was the first time in memory that Jackson apologized for his use of profanity - a staple in virtually all of his films and many of his tweets. He apologized for a tweet that voiced his displeasure over the fact that Hurricane Issac did not wreak havoc on the Republican National Convention in Tampa this past August.
Thompson, who managed to maintain his composure despite the live utterance of at least one of the "seven dirty words you can't say on television" immortalized by the late George Carlin (SNL's first-ever host) said: "Come on Sam...That cost us money."
The FCC's policy against obscenity and profanity, which allows fines for broadcasters when a single profanity blurted out on a live show or for brief nudity, was dealt a blow in a Supreme Court ruling this past July when the policy was ruled invalid because it had not been given a proper hearing.
So while it remains unclear whether NBC or its affiliates who unfortunately aired the impromptu boo-boo(s) will actually be fined, it's certain people will want to see a clip of what Jackson said. They might even want to see the children and McCartney sing, too.
Musician Paul Shaffer, another SNL alum, defected from "Late Night with David Letterman" for the night and joined Short in the opening number "It's The Most Lascivious Time of the Year."
McCartney sang "My Valentine," the song "Cut Me Some Slack" that he debuted with several former members of Nirvana during the 12-12-12 concert this past week and "Wonderful Christmas Time" with the children during his three featured spots.
The show offered holiday cheer in the form of a "A Tony Bennett Christmas" featuring Baldwin as Bennett, Short as Bennett's brother Jerry and a confused Kayne West (Jay Pharoah) who unwilling took part in a Ducolax laxative ad. "When you're in the dumps when you can't take a dump" was one of the slogans.
The comedic highlight of the show was a "You're a Rat Bastard Charlie Brown" filmed spot that featured an adult and bitter Charlie Brown (Bill Hader playing Al Pacino) dealing with some of the issues facing the Peanuts character in a big person's manner.
In another sketch, the Royal Family Doctor (Hader) was briefed on protocol on how to examine the Dutchess of Cambridge (formerly known as Kate Middleton) and was given specifics names on the allowable terms for her "lady parts" by an over-the-top Short which included "The Royal Ahem," "The Governess," "The King Maker," "Her Downton Abbey" and "The Chunnel," "Dame Judi Dench," "Her Thomas' English Muffin" and "Piccadilly Cervix." Camilla Parker Bowles didn't fare nearly as well.
Even "Weekend Update" skipped any mention of the Connecticut tragedy - fittingly so - but had plenty of zingers for the rest of the week's events - real and imagined. When reporting North Korea's missile launch, Seth Meyers said it wasn't known how leader Kim Jong-un celebrated but "cake" was in the mix. He added that during the series finale of "Jersey Shore" this week it will be revealed that the entire show was a "bad dream from a Meatball with syphilis." And noted in reporting about a Chinese dog that add figures that include fractions, "it was bad enough when our kids were only competing with Chinese children." It also featured a very funny Vanessa Bayer as Jacob - a 13-year-old boy reviewing his Bar Mitzvah and the "Girl You Wish You Hadn't Started a Conversation With at a Party."
The show returns live - or possibly on a five-second delay - on Jan. 19 with Jennifer Lawrence as host.
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