Saturday Night Live

Season 30 Episode 8

Robert DeNiro/Destiny's Child

Aired Saturday 11:30 PM Dec 18, 2004 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
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Episode Summary

Live from New York, it's... Robert DeNiro! Sketches include: "C-SPAN Terrorist Alert," "Woomba," "Pranksters," "Blue Christmas" (cartoon), "The Undercover Cop," "Prince Christmas Special," "Apprentice Christmas Promo," "Bear City: The Carolers" (film), "Christmas With The Cat Lady," and "Horatio and The Muppets." Destiny's Child performed "Soldier" and "Cater 2 U."moreless

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  • "You don't make up for your sins in church. You do it in the streets. You do it at home. The rest is bull and you know it."

    A Review by the Former "Heystu," Amateur Critic and Little Match Girl

    Well, he's back. Just two years after his shameless cue-card reading and awkward mugging towards the camera, Robert DeNiro returns to host SNL, hopefully as a changed man. While his stint in Year 28 was remarkably underwhelming in comparison to all the cameos he had made in previous years, I do feel comforted by the fact that he couldn't be any worse than he was last time. Plus, he's promoting "Meet the Fockers," which looks like an amiable sequel to the 2000 sleeper hit "Meet the Parents."

    Serving as musical guest tonight is the Beyonce Knowles side project known as Destiny's Child, currently promoting their new but not accurately titled album "Destiny Fulfilled." While it was rumored that Solange's sister was reluctant to go solo, it is clear that she is the star of the group and that she's much more comfortable on her own, almost as if Beyonce has become a modern-day Diana Ross.

    And now, the sketch-by-sketch analysis:

    COLD OPENING: I think I'm beginning to see things- for the second week in a row, its live coverage from C-SPAN, not to mention an appearance by Donald Rumsfeld (DH). Of course, Rummy is only around for about half a minute or so, as it leads into another funny name-heavy briefing by Craig Fenson (Bob). Not only is this a tepid rehash of the cold opening from when Bob last hosted, but they stole my "Jenna Tailia" joke from when I was a sophomore in high school.

    MONOLOGUE: Bob makes a few comments about the quality of the previous sketch, which leads into a duet with Kermit the Frog (the real one, not Will Forte). While this bit bordered on corny, it was nice to see the Muppets back on the show after a 28-year hiatus.

    "Woomba": An amusing ad spoof of those Roomba gadgets, except now they trim women's pubic hair and stalk their possessors like wild animals. Shave, robot, shave!

    "Pranksters": Oh boy, another encore from two seasons ago. And coincidentally, it's essentially the same sketch but with Bob in the Chris Walken role. And best of all, DeNiro read his lines right off the cue-card. With the possible exception of the fake ad, this is beginning to look like a long show.

    "Svensen-Ferguson Wedding": The father (Bob) of the bride at a wedding reception is completely oblivious to his effeminate son's (SM) apparent homosexuality. Despite a hilarious c*** ring reference and a fun flashback to a gender-confused childhood, this sketch was obvious and predictable almost from start to finish.

    "The Prince Christmas Special": Basically a variation of the recurring "Prince Show," Senor Purple (FA) and Beyonce (MR, not the real one) welcome tonight's host, who ends up being overshadowed by overexposed newlyweds Star Jones and Al Reynolds (KT, FM). I was sort of expecting the real Beyonce to appear, but I think that would've hurt the momentum of this otherwise okay sketch.

    CARTOON: Santa Claus tells Rudolph (voice of AP) that he won't deliver presents to the red states (or if you will, "Dumbf***istan"), then hangs out with Al Franken and several other left-leaning celebrities in a Chinese restaurant. Eventually, the blue-nosed reindeer (you heard me right) convinces him to go to the land of Bush, but it only alienates the good girls and boys even further. It's an old topic, but I would imagine that it took awhile to perfect the Rankin/Bass-style animation.

    "NBC Promo": Like he did on Halloween, The Donald (DH) seizes a Holiday-themed promo taping. Yet again, a staff of writers itching to leave town for the holidays come up with another shameless rewrite of a sketch from two months ago.

    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: Everybody makes love to the camera with "Soldier," their second single from their new album.

    WEEKEND UPDATE: Good old "Update" disappoints us for the second week in a row, with Amy telling some already-stale Bernard Kerik jokes, an overtly-aggressive street prophet (RR) blessing the wayward anchorwomen, plus Brad Scheinwald making another desperate ploy to improve the reputation of his grandfather's (RD) independent film studio. On the bright side, at least Tina didn't rely on any news footage for her jokes.

    "Ruben Sanders' Wire": An undercover FBI agent (HS) relies on Italian stereotypes while trying to retrieve a confession from an alleged mobster (a typecast Bob). DeNiro's homage to Joe Pesci was the greatest saving grace of a sketch that was droll in spots but mostly overcooked.

    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: There's an apparent Christmas theme to the controlling-boyfriend ode "Cater 2 U."

    "Christmas With The Cat Lady": A crazy old nag (Bob) disciplines her 30-odd felines. This was alright, but at least it didn't drag on, or otherwise we wouldn't see…

    "Bear City": In the third installment of this amusingly surreal piece, our favorite anthropomorphic ursines go caroling at someone's house, only to discover the family is Jewish. I must admit, T. Sean Shannon's short films are slowly but surely expressing his mastermind for the mundane.

    "Seasons' Greetings from SNL": Horatio stands in full holiday mode, tuning his lute to perform the annual "I Wish It Was Christmas Today" ditty before abruptly remembering that everybody else in the group has since left the show. Sad as it is, Kermit the Frog enlists Fonzie Bear, The Great Gonzo, and Animal to fill in and the audience goes bonkers.

    And so ends SNL for the calendar year 2004. Mr. DeNiro improved ever so slightly from his notorious gig two years ago to prove that he's a tremendous screen presence but a so-so host, while Destiny's Child were an outstanding stage presence bogged down with mediocre material. But overall this was just shy of being a truly forgettable episode, with repeated ideas all over the place and nary a single memorable original sketch.

    Sketches That Will Probably Be Removed For Reruns: "Svensen-Ferguson Wedding," "NBC Promo," "Ruben Sanders' Wire," "Christmas with the Cat Lady" and "Cater 2 U."

    Next Time: "Alias" bombshell Jennifer Garner returns as host, with musical guest (and Grammy nominees) The Killers.

    Writer, college sophomore, and sometime comedian "heystu" attends school in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. Contact him at sma17kc@netscape.netmoreless
Destiny's Child

Destiny's Child


Guest Star

Robert De Niro

Robert De Niro


Recurring Role

Fred Willard

Fred Willard

"Bear City" Sketch's Narrator (voice)

Recurring Role

The Muppets

The Muppets


Recurring Role

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • During the annual "Seasons Greetings from Saturday Night Live" sketch, while Kermit is talking to Horatio Sanz, people can be heard in the background cheering at the entrance of the Muppets, well in advance of their on-screen appearance. Also, at the song's end, a weird banging noise is heard followed by Animal saying "Christmas, Christmas!"

    • After Robert DeNiro sung "From now on our troubles will be out of sight," his first line from Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Kermit looked at him and said "that's close", as if he got the line wrong. Actually, it was Kermit who got the first line wrong, singing "Make the yuletide gay" instead of "Let your heart be light."

    • The real-life Beyoncé Knowles (the musical guest with Destiny's Child) opted to not appear on the Prince sketch so she could analyze Maya Rudolph's impression of her.

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Tina Fey: A new book, The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln, claims that Lincoln was gay. The most compelling evidence is an early draft of the Gettysburg Address that starts, "Listen up, bitches!"

    • Amy Poehler: This week in Germany, an 81-year-old man was robbed when two young women asked him to join them in a nude photo shoot, then fled with the man's wallet as he stripped. Afterwards the women felt badly and almost returned the wallet, but then Tina was like, "screw it, let's go buy shoes."

    • Tina Fey: Various anti-Bush groups plan to protest his inauguration by lining the streets and turning their backs on his motorcade. You know that's not going to work. He's just gonna get out to see what they're all looking at.

    • Tina Fey: At his annual physical Sunday, President Bush found out he's gained six pounds since last year, and he pledged to lose them as soon as possible. So, finding Osama bin Laden will get pushed even farther down the President's To-Do List.

    • Amy Poehler: It was reported that while at the White House Christmas Party, first daughter Barbara Bush smashed her head on the dance floor when a friend she was dancing with dipped her too low. That friend? Captain Morgan.

    • Tina Fey: It was reported that Guy Ritchie has cast his wife Madonna in a small walk-on role in his new movie, "Revolver." Madonna will play the part of the woman who ruins the film.

    • Amy Poehler: A state trooper in Oklahoma, who had pulled over a delivery truck, found 600 pounds of marijuana, hidden in four coffins. Or so starts the math section of Snoop Dogg's new SAT prep book.

  • NOTES (5)

    • Sketches not shown in the 60 minute version: "Woomba," "Pranksters," "TV Funhouse: Santa Claus' Blue Christmas," "Weekend Update," and Destiny's Child's performance of "Cater 2 U." The 60 minute version adds 2 of the 3 "" commercials from Paris Hilton/Keane later that season.

    • Seth Meyers mutters "You blew it" to Horatio Sanz at the end of the "Undercover Cop" sketch.

    • First appearance of Jim Henson's Muppets since 1976.

    • Much like his previous hosting, Robert DeNiro didn't seem to know his lines. It looked like he was reading them off cue cards for almost every one of his skits.

    • "The Apprentice Christmas Special" sketch/commercial was cut from last week's episode.