Tina Fey and Amy Poehler returned to “Saturday Night Live” as hosts, bringing with them some old fan-favorite characters and special guests.
The Democratic debate may have wrapped up shortly before things went "Live from New York," but it was the recent CNN Republican show-down parody in the show's cold open that had everyone talking.
“Nine [candidates] are here tonight. The five who actually have a chance are Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio and poor, sweet Jeb Bush,” said moderator Wolf Blitzer (Jon Rudnitsky). “The rest of you just wave so your parents know you’re here.”
"SNL" alumn Darrell Hammond returned to Studio 8H, taking center stage as front-runner Donald Trump. Playing off the real-life dynamics of the race, "tough guy" Trump mercilessly mocked "little girl" Jeb Bush.
The apocalypse-now governor from New Jersey, Chris Christie (Bobby Moynihan), asked Blizter if he can answer a question “with a series of fear-mongering statements,” while a monotone Carson (Jay Pharaoh) calmly threatens to "go H.A.M. up in here.”
In a skit roughly based on Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” Fey and Poehler — whose new movie "Sisters" comes out this month — reprised their iconic impressions of Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton in a Christmas past and present sketch.
Cast member Kate McKinnon, who has taken on the role of impersonating Clinton this election cycle, portrayed the present-day Democratic front-runner in the sketch. As 2015 Clinton gets ready for bed, singing "I'm dreaming of a White House" to the tune of the Bing Crosby classic, fog fills the room and out comes Poehler as 2008 Clinton, who was also a presidential candidate at the time.
The 2008 Clinton has a warning for 2015 Clinton.
"On Christmas Eve 2007 I was cocky too and then someone named Barack Obama stumbled out of a soup kitchen with a basketball and a cigarette and stole my life," Poehler cautioned.
But 2015 Clinton brushes the warning aside, saying that she’s running against “human Birkenstock” Bernie Sanders while the Republican front-runner is real-estate mogul Donald Trump.
"Oh my God. We're going to be president!" the two Clintons exclaimed.
And what 2008 presidential race parody would be complete without the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, who joined the skit donning her "Tina Fey glasses" and impeccable accent.
"I should be the one giving you advice because in 2008 I got a heck of a lot closer to the White House then this gal did," Fey as former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin tells 2015 Clinton.
As Poehler prepares to return to 2008 and "send a bunch of emails," 2015 Clinton swats the phone off her hand, breaking the BlackBerry.
"Trust me. You'll thank me later," she explains.
Also returning to "SNL" was alumn Maya Rudolph, who, along with Poehler, reprised their roles as Betty and Jodi on Bronx Beat. Amy Schumer, Gayle King and Robert Downing Sr. made a cameo as the "Sisters" stars' squad in an epic remake of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood."
The holiday-themed episode closed out with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band singing "Santa Clause is Coming to Town," joined by the show's cast and Sr. Paul McCartney, who casually strolled on stage with sleigh bells in hand to join in the festivities. We see you Paul.
NBC's Eric Jankiewicz contributed to this story.