There were plenty of surprise gifts during this week's 2013 Christmas episode of "Saturday Night Live" and viewers were left with one of the best shows the long-running series has delivered in several seasons.
The show featured unannounced visits by Paul McCartney, Madonna and Barry Gibb in the first 35 minutes, joining musical guest Justin Timberlake and host Jimmy Fallon.
And things were just getting started. The show was so packed with musical brilliance that Timberlake was singing the acoustic tune "Pair Of Wings" at 12:55 a.m.
This was musical comedy on level not seen on network television since the days of Dean Martin crooning and cracking up with his guests, all with a contemporary edge and buzz that was once the hallmark of "Saturday Night Live."
McCartney gave viewers a merry little Christmas present when he showed up with Fallon to turn the monologue into a duet featuring the popular Christmas carol "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," which was first brought to the screen by Judy Garland in the musical "Meet Me In St. Louis."
Fallon will be taking over for Jay Leno on NBC's "Tonight Show" following the Olympics. So he'll be everywhere on the Peacock network between now and then. Or as he put it, "Starting in February I'll be hosting the Tonight Show with Jay Leno." The show reminded us that Fallon has the comedic chops and musical skills to take what Leon and Johnny Carson built, and bring it to another level, especially since he'll bring the show back to New York.
McCartney's drive-by duet would threaten to steal the spotlight from most musical guests, but that didn't seem a problem since Timberlake, a five-time host on his own, found time in his touring schedule to sing this week. His first song, "Only When I Walk Away," featured lasers and turned the SNL venue into an arena stage.
Timberlake and Fallon opened with "Bring It On Down to Wrappingville." It was a play off Timberlake's "Bring It On Down To Homelessville" dancing and rap number of the past.
This time, Timberlake was dressed in wrapping paper and Fallon, who was a bag, parodied several songs.
Fallon and Timberlake teamed up once again for "The Barry Gibb" show, interviewing Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly [Cecily Strong], Paul Ryan [Taran Killam] and Madonna, who was played by Madonna. None of the guests could get many words in edgewise, although Madonna did her best. Ryan tried to make a pun, but was scolded by the satirical and quite hyperactive Barry Gibb [Fallon].
The faux Brothers Gibb were joined by the real Barry Gibb to help them close the sketch. Barry is the lone surviving member of the original Bee Gees and seemed to be in on the joke in a big way.
Timberlake also played Fallon during a "Family Feud" sketch that matched up stars from NBC and CBS. Timberlake's impression of Fallon left Fallon doubled over laughing. The host was trying his best to be Jim Parsons of "The Big Bang Theory."
"There's only one way for a man to be sexy. Be Justin Timberlake," said Timberlake, playing Fallon.
The female cast members delivered a hilarious video recapping a very awkward situation that many have faced while visiting with their significant others' family for the holiday.
"(Do It On My) Twin Bed" was self-explanatory and side-splittingly funny, especially with seventh-grade photos of the cast members and Fallon dropped in for extra uneasiness.
Fallon and Strong absolutely killed it in a remake of "Baby It's Cold Outside," updating the classic ode to flirtation with a smooth and funny rendition of what might happen "12 minutes later" after the couple has kept each other warm.
Their chemistry was electric and timing was impeccable. He wants her to leave, she wants to stay. It's the old clash between cold feet and commitment. Eventually the possibilities of their relationship win out.
Fallon and Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined Seth Meyers to discuss their upcoming future plans. Meyers will take over for Fallon as host of NBC's "Late Night." Bloomberg said he planned on "fulfilling a lifelong dream of drinking a small soda on a non-smoking beach" after leaving his post in January.
Billie Jean King [Kate McKinnon] visited the "Weekend Update" to talk about her upcoming visit to the Winter Olympics as the head of the U.S. delegation and take multiple swipes at Vladimir Putin's anti-gay policies.
"I'm President Obama's big gay middle finger, and this bird's about to get flipped," she warned.
The Dickens classic "A Christmas Carol" was given a gay twist of its own, with Scrooge getting his present of with the ghost of Christmas present after realizing his mistakes of Christmas past. Kanye West and Kim Kardashian were also given the once-over once again in another episode of "Waking up with Kimye" show.
SNL alum Chris Rock stopped by at the end of the show for the group farewell but did not appear on the broadcast.
Drake will be the host and musical guest when the show returns live on Jan. 18.
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