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

In the era of Jamie Foxx, Serious Movie Star, it’s easy to forget that the Oscar winner got his start as a comedian. But Foxx proved last night that he’s still got the comedy bug, preening and mugging like the ex-In Living Color cast member he is — and while his overly confident persona may have seemed grating to some, a host who tries too hard is always preferable to a host who doesn’t try hard enough. (Just compare Daniel Craig to Lindsay Lohan, and you’ll see what I mean.)

The night kicked off with a politically-charged cold open, the only sketch of the night that didn’t feature Foxx. It was pretty standard stuff, with Jay Pharoah’s Obama acting like a sympathetic schoolteacher and Bill Hader’s John Boehner filling the role of miserable, bullied student. (Apparently, the Republicans have been putting rubber snakes in the Speaker’s desk and inviting him to nonexistent pizza parties to punish him for the fiscal cliff negotiations.) While the sketch drove home how much sharper The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are when it comes to fiscal cliff comedy, Hader’s Boehner face — he looked like a disgruntled caveman — made the whole thing worthwhile.

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Jamie Foxx hosts tonight's 'Saturday Night Live': Talk about it here!

Will Jamie Foxx breathe life into an uncharacteristically lackluster season of SNL?  He’s certainly got the bona fides to be a great host: The Oscar winner starred on Fox’s sketch series In Living Color from 1991 to 1994, yukking it up alongside Jim Carrey and a succession of Wayans brothers. Like Anne Hathaway — season 38’s best host so far — Foxx is an accomplished singer as well as an actor, which makes him especially versatile. And unlike so-so hosts Jeremy Renner and Daniel Craig, the star of Django Unchained has visited SNL before — albeit not since the last days of the Clinton administration. (The musical guest when Foxx last hosted: Blink-182. What’s my age again?)

All this, combined with my holiday wish of Norm Macdonald showing up to dust off his impeccable Quentin Tarantino impression, makes me think that Foxx could knock it out of the park. After all, the show has had a few weeks to rest and recharge, which hopefully means that tonight’s show will feel fresher than the past few episodes.

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