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.