SNL's Maya Rudolph Episode: 5 Best Scenes

[With an inspired episode from start to finish, SNL once again demonstrated the wisdom of offering hosting duties to former SNL cast favorites. (Also see Jimmy Fallon's recent triumphant return). Maya Rudolph shelved her best known impression in the wake of Whitney Houston's tragic death, but she offered well-observed takes on others, from Beyoncé to Maya Angelou and Michelle Obama. Also making cameos were Amy Poehler, Justin Timberlake, Bill O'Reilly(!), and Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Kate Upton. Midway through the episode it was announced that the show's next host, on March 3, will be troubled actress Lindsay Lohan.]

Some highlights...

Linsanity—New York sports commentators (Bill Hader, Jay Pharoah, and Kenan Thompson) hail sports phenomenon Jeremy Lin with gongs, karate moves, fortune cookie jokes, and an actual New York Post cover (proclaiming Lin "AMASIAN!"), while admonishing colleague Taran Killam to "leave race out of this."

Beyoncé (Maya Rudolph) and Jay-Z (Jay Pharoah) introduce baby Blue Ivy to a succession of music-industry heavyweights, including Prince (Fred Armisen), Nicki Minaj (Nasim Pedrad), a characteristically astonished Taylor Swift (Kristin Wiig), and Bon Iver (Justin Timberlake), who accidentally puts himself to sleep with his own music.

It's The Obama Show ("filmed in front of a live studio audience"), with Barak Obama (Fred Armisen, channeling Bill Cosby), Michelle Obama (Maya Rudolph), Joe Jamal-Biden (Jason Sudeikis, decked out in some funky '80s sweaters), and guest star Hillary Clinton (taking Rudy's part in the classic "Night and Day" Huxtable family lip-syncing scene).

What Up With That?: President's Day Edition—DeAndre Cole (Kenan Thompson) turns the tables on overbearing talk show host Bill O'Reilly, barely letting him get a word in edgewise as he tries to hawk his new book. Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Kate Upton provides eye candy, while tracksuit-attired Jason Sudeikis steals the show with his maniacal background dancing.

Amy Poehler joins Maya Rudolph for a new episode of SNL talk show favorite Bronx Beat (in which Betty and Jodi's efforts to hit on crewmembers Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg prove unexpectedly successful).

Also: Super $$ Showcase—Kristin Wiig can't stop cracking up as she and Bridesmaids costar Maya Rudolph attempt to portray incompetent gameshow models; Maya Angelou punks her esteemed colleagues in I Know Why the Caged Bird Laughs ("My name is Jonathan Franzen... I'd like to order 50 pizzas..."); Amy Poehler joins Seth Meyers for Weekend Update and a new installment of Really?!? With Seth and Amy: Contraception Debate Edition ("Really, Congress? You held a Congressional hearing on reproductive rights and you didn't invite any women? That would be like not inviting any men to a Congressional committee debate on the Maxim top 100...").

Musical guest Sleigh Bells performed "Comeback Kid" and "End of the Line."

NEXT, on March 3: Lindsay Lohan, with musical guest Jack White.

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Sage Stossel is a contributing editor at The Atlantic and draws the cartoon feature "Sage, Ink." She is author/illustrator of the graphic novel Starling, and of the children's books  On the Loose in Boston and On the Loose in Washington, DC. More

On Election Day in 1996, launched a weekly editorial cartoon feature drawn by Sage Stossel and named (aptly enough) "Sage, Ink." Since then, Stossel's whimsical work has been featured by the New York Times Week in Review, CNN Headline News, Cartoon Arts International/The New York Times Syndicate, The Boston Globe, Nieman Reports, Editorial Humor, The Provincetown Banner (for which she received a 2009 New England Press Association Award), and elsewhere. Her work has also been included in Best Editorial Cartoons of the Year, (2005, 2006, 2009, and 2010 editions) and Attack of the Political Cartoonists. Her children's book, On the Loose in Boston, was published in June 2009.

Sage Stossel grew up in a suburb of Boston and attended Harvard University, where she majored in English and American Literature and Languages and did a weekly cartoon strip about college life, called "Jody," for the Harvard Crimson. From 2004 to 2007, she served as Books Editor of the Radcliffe Quarterly

After college she took what was intended to be a temporary summer position securing electronic rights to articles from The Atlantic's archive for use online. Intrigued by The Atlantic's rich history and the creative possibilities in helping to launch a digital edition of the magazine on the Web, she soon joined The Atlantic full time. As the site's former executive editor, she was involved in everything from contributing reviews, author interviews, and illustrations, to hosting message boards and producing a digital edition of The Atlantic for the Web.

Stossel lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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