'Saturday Night Live' recap: Jamie Foxx, unchained and ready for applause

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SNL newbie Ne-Yo made a pretty good showing with his performances of “Let Me Love You” and “She Is.” I preferred the former, mostly because of those jerky toy soldier dancers and the singer’s fascinating half-jort, half-leather pants — though its pandering, faux-chivalrous lyrics (“Girl, let me love you / And I will love you / Until you learn to love yourself”) make that song the R&B dance-pop answer to One Direction. Why is contemporary pop so obsessed with female insecurity?

“Weekend Update” missed with Aidy Bryant’s horny Mrs. Claus and hit with Foxx’s indignant, anthropomorphized Ding Dong, a victim of Hostess’s bankruptcy. Half the joke here was how funny Foxx looked in his goofy Ding Dong costume, complete with giant white Mickey Mouse gloves and another silly mustache (though this one was made of frosting). Watching Foxx try valiantly not to break — then eventually fail — was another highlight.

Everyone knows that Dylan McDermott and Dermot Mulroney are often confused for one another. Hell, in 2009, the actors released a joint statement claiming that they were joining forces to become one man named Dermot McDermott. So SNL‘s Dylan McDermott or Dermot Mulroney? game show felt at least five years too late, and the racial element — Pharoah, Kenan Thompson, and Foxx played the show’s bewildered contestants — felt pretty beside the point. Still, there were a few funny lines here, particularly Foxx’s final Jeopardy guess: “Derbel McDillet.” And kudos to Dermot Mulroney — er, Dylan McDermott — er, Dylmot Derroney — for being a good enough sport to do a cameo.

The show’s last three sketches were a very mixed bag. “Marcus Banks, Tree Pimp” wasn’t funny enough to make up for how tasteless it was; “Maine Justice” wasn’t funny enough to make up for how weird and loud it was. (Pro tip: If the sketch includes a character who keeps asking what’s going on, chances are it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. “Maine” gets a few bonus points for that cameo from Foxx’s Horrible Bosses co-star Charlie Day, though.) But the episode-ending Swarovski Crystals “commercial” was one of the night’s highlights, thanks to Cecily Strong’s winningly blank stare and a bevy of absurd non sequiturs (“My soup ain’t complaining.”) I could have done without all those references to the characters’ porn careers, though; the sketch would have been funnier if it hadn’t relied on shock value in the end.

That’s all, folks! Did Foxx live up to his potential, or do you think he should stick to Oscar bait from now on?

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