It’s worth noting that for all the empathy and grand humor that James Franco‘s The Disaster Artist evinces for its subject, Tommy Wiseau and the making of his notorious The Room, much of the movie comes off like a Saturday Night Live sketch. As a director, Franco’s filmography thus far has been marked by plenty of insights and fascinating ideas but creating a visual and thematic backbone that’s perceivable throughout has never been his strong suit. His movies often feel like a bunch of scenes of varying quality strung together, and that is more true of The Disaster Artist than any of his other films.
So, it’s not entirely surprising that Franco proved to be a solid host for this week’s SNL, in which he hosted musical guest SZA and enjoyed a cameo from his brother, Dave Franco, in the “Reunion” sketch. As funny as that sketch is, the clear highlight of the night was “Christmas Charity,” which played out like a short Christmas movie or an elongated trailer for a fake Lifetime movie. In it, Franco plays a homeless man who is spotted by Cecily Strong‘s workaholic and given food, clothes, and a place to clean himself up in her ridiculous apartment. I won’t ruin the twist but it’s particularly enjoyable to watch Franco poke fun at the methods of acting, especially following the rumors that he remained in character as Wiseau in The Disaster Artist. You can watch the sketch below.
Here’s the “Christmas Charity” sketch from last night’s SNL:
Not all good sketches are headlined by their guest host, however. A good example of this from last night was the “Scrudge” sketch, which saw the hugely talented Beck Bennett giving a twist on modernizing the Scrooge character from A Christmas Carol. Bennett and the writers posit Scrooge as a millennial take-down artist, poking fun at the ugly Christmas sweater fad as well as Wes Anderson fandom. I must admit that the last one hit a little too close to home. You can watch that sketch right below.
Here’s the “Scrudge” sketch from last night’s SNL: