Bringing in the "Anchorman" cast was just the beginning of a fun-filled night on "Saturday Night Live."
A "Sound of Music" cold open sketch set the audience on fire early with the appearance of "Dooneese," Kristen Wiig's big-forehead, tiny-handed singer, who creeped out everyone onstage, eventually shoving her hands into Taran Killam's mouth as he tried to sing "Edelweiss." Fred Armisen also came back from retirement to reprise his Lawrence Welk impersonation ("I tink it's very possible dat de hills are alive wit radioactivity."). It was a strong way to start the show, but it was immediately topped by the next segment.
Host Paul Rudd came out for his monologue and brought up that his first two appearances were overshadowed by the musical guests: Beyoncé the first time and Paul McCartney the second. Of course, One Direction came out to overshadow him once again, but before they got too far, Will Ferrell, David Koechner, and Steve Carrell (Rudd's co-stars in the upcoming "Anchorman 2") joined them onstage.
It looked like they were about to start a brawl (echoing the enormous news team fight from the first "Anchorman" movie), but instead, they all got together and did a nine-piece a cappella rendition of "Afternoon Delight."
With five unannounced guests in the first two sketches alone, the show can be forgiven for coasting for most of the additional 90 minutes.
The last time a Bill Brasky sketch aired (in 1998), most One Direction fans hadn't even been born yet. The sketches, written by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay (the pair who would eventually founded Internet comedy giant Funny or Die), were stories about the legendary Bill Brasky told by drunk salesmen at a convention bar. They were the Chuck Norris jokes of their day.
This time, Ferrell was joined by Rudd, Koechner, Killam, and Kenan Thompson. Naturally, Ferrell was the MVP of the sketch with lines like, "Brasky's first words as a baby were, 'Grab your clothes and beat it, sweetheart!'" and "I sneak into hospitals and kiss coma patients."
One Direction's No. 1 Fan
There may not be a person alive who does a better petulant man-child than Rudd. In the hands of almost anyone else, "Dan Charles: One Direction's No. 1 Fan," about a grown man who waits backstage for the band with a gaggle of 8-12 year-olds, would be creepy. But whether he's facepalming a girl to get an autograph or snarkily singing, "Oh oh oh, you don't know your basic facts," to a youngster who's crossed him, he strikes a gleefully terrible tone that sells the piece.
Weekend Update Characters Return for the Holidays
Vanessa Bayer's adorable "Jacob, the Bar Mitzvah Boy" came back to Weekend Update to explain Hanukkah to Seth Meyers, reading his prepared speech chock full of corny jokes and love for the Xbox 360. Also, Killam's 1860s newspaper critic Jebediah Atkinson is back after only three weeks. "Run things into the ground much?" asked the catty critic, calling out the closeness of the repeat appearances. Atkinson didn't get a great response from the crowd, but it's the kind of character that stays funny even after numerous repeat viewings.
Cecily Strong's soulful remembrance of past lovers is interrupted by the memory of a slovenly pizza store guy played by Paul Rudd. "Victor, you know, from the airport Papa Johns! We did it!" Probably the best use of garlic knots ever on late-night television.
Other Great Lines
"You've got your boy band? Well, I brought my man band."
"A new report says that woo woo woo — excuse me, www point healthcare point gov..."
"Check out these glutes! You could crack a tooth on this bumper!"
"Saturday Night Live" airs Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. on NBC.