The stars fell on "Saturday Night Live" this weekend. The surprise appearances of Madonna, Paul McCartney and Barry Gibb spiced a zany confection hosted by Jimmy Fallon and featuring Justin Timberlake.
Even with all those stars, this Christmas edition of "SNL" was mainly a celebration of Fallon, the incoming host of "The Tonight Show." The episode showcased his prodigious gifts as a musical comic. For his monologue, he deftly mimicked David Bowie, Bob Dylan and McCartney -- until Sir Paul dropped in.
Fallon played the wild, exuberant host of "The Barry Gibb Talk Show," who was tamed by a peace-teaching Madonna. (The real Gibb popped in as that sketch ended.)
In an ad for Christmas song classics performed by current artists, Fallon was Michael Buble, Pitbull and "Harry Potter" star Alan Rickman. Fallon sang "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" with McCartney and "Baby, It's Cold Outside" with Cecily Strong. As a young Scrooge, Fallon put a whole new slant on "A Christmas Carol."
Timberlake -- with lasers and without -- was the musical guest. But he was at his most entertaining supporting good pal Fallon by playing singing wrapping paper, Robin Gibb and even Fallon.
In an amusing "Family Feud" sketch, Fallon was excellent as Jim Parsons of "The Big Bang Theory." But Timberlake's impression of Fallon was so dead-on that the late-night host lost it in the best Carol Burnett tradition.
Fallon visited "Weekend Update" to salute Seth Meyers, who will succeed him at "Late Night." Meyers got off a couple of "Duck Dynasty" jokes. When a photo of Phil Robertson appeared, Meyers said, "We learned this week you can judge a book by its cover."
The women of "SNL" had their moments: Kate McKinnon was a gutsy Billie Jean King headed to the Olympics, and Nasim Pedrad again played Kim Kardashian as a monumental airhead. In a provocative video, the women sang about holiday sex in twin beds.
But it was Fallon's show, and the enjoyable episode confirmed that NBC has put its faith in him for good reason.