SNL's Christoph Waltz Episode: 5 Best Scenes

Oscar-winning Austrian-German actor Christoph Waltz was a cheerful and likeable host, anchoring what proved to be the strongest show of the new year so far. The episode covered everything from the Carnival Cruise fiasco to Pope Benedict's retirement, the Russian meteor strike, the State of the Union, and Marco Rubio's infamous water-lunge. Somewhat worrisomely, someone seemed to be substituting for 95-year-old long-time announcer Don Pardo. Musical guest Alabama Shakes performed "Hold On" and "Always Alright."

Some highlights...

Tarantino spoof—"If you liked Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained, you'll love the ultimate historical revenge fantasy: Djesus Unchained. (With Brad Pitt as Saint Peter, Ving Rhames as Pontius Pilot, and Samuel L. Jackson as Judas Iscariot.)

Christopher Waltz hosts America's most existentially depressing game show, What Have You Become?

Carnival Triumph cruise directors Jason Sudeikis and Cecily Strong—together with ship comedian Reggie Davis (Jay Pharoah), Magician Bill Hader, and "Dan the Animal Man" Bobby Moynihan (whose monkey has been eaten by hungry passengers)—attempt to distract passengers from their sewage-soaked plight.

Olya Povlatsky (Kate McKinnon), the hottest girl in her downtrodden village, drops by Weekend Update to discuss this week's Russian meteor strike.

Commercial—Papal Securities: "we give popes the kind of financial security they need to survive retirement."

Also: ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith (Jay Pharaoh) returns to Weekend Update to discuss his close personal friends the Lakers; Fox & Friends—Steve Doocy (Taran Killam), Gretchen Carlson (Vanessa Bayer), and a reliably dim Brian Kilmeade (Bobby Moynihan) host Ted Nugent (Bill Hader) for a thoughtful discussion of gun control; The monologue—Christopher Waltz celebrates his German-speaking heritage (with Taran Killam as "Casual Hitler"); and The JaMarcus Brothers, Darnell (Jay Pharaoh), Marcus (Kenan Thompson), and Englebert, their adopted, white, virgin brother (Christopher Waltz), release their new CD.

NEXT, on March 2: Kevin Hart, with musical guest Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.