April 21, 2024

Saturday Night Live” alums Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig joined Kate McKinnon as the latter returned to “SNL” for the first time as host, 18 months since she bowed out of the cast after a 10-year tenure.

After the cold open, which spoofed Hollywood award shows, McKinnon hit the famous Studio 8H stage and did a short monologue. She acknowledged the awkwardness for her of coming back to her “old job” but in a different role.

“My name’s Kate, hi. I used to work here,” McKinnon said, sporting a blonde bob haircut and sleek black tuxedo suit. “This is so weird to be doing the monologue.” She noted she’s not accustomed to performing as herself. “I don’t really like to talk in my own voice — that’s kind of why I got into this racket in the first place.”

McKinnon also nodded to having had a “big year” since her “SNL” departure with her prominent role in the box office blockbuster “Barbie.”

After McKinnon began signing the heart-tugging holiday classic “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” to “SNL” exec producer Lorne Michaels — with adapated lyrics such as “feed me figs and make me wigs/reactivate my ID” — McKinnon was joined by Rudolph and Wiig in what was clearly an emotional moment for all three stars.

Musical guest Billie Eilish made her third appearance on tonight’s “SNL” since 2019. She made her debut as musical guest during Season 45 with Woody Harrelson as host. In December 2021, during Season 47, Eilish pulled double duty as host and musical guest.

“We came home for Christmas/It’s time to start the show,” McKinnon, Wiig and Rudolph sang to close out tonight’s monologue segment.

Wiig and Rudolph stuck around and appeared in a sketch that spoofed TV pitches for Christmas albums. McKinnon, Wiig and Rudolph appeared as the Swedish pop group Abba in a commercial for a holiday collection “featuring 85 holiday remakes of existing their existing songs.”

A sly connection on tonight’s show came through Eilish’s choice to perform the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” popularized by Judy Garland in the 1944 film “Meet Me in St. Louis.” After Eilish performed the song in the second musical slot, the show segued into a spoof of the 1890s-set Vincente Minnelli film with McKinnon playing a chainsaw-wielding character.

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