Back from its winter holiday break, "Saturday Night Live" wasted no time with its comedic jabs at politics, sports and pop culture.
But it wasn't all laughs. Former cast member Fred Armisen returned to pay a heartfelt tribute to rocker David Bowie, who died of cancer Jan. 10. Armisen shared his personal connection to Bowie, a memory of watching the performer on "SNL" in 1979. Watch the tribute here.
The start of the show was delayed 30 minutes on the East Coast due to the NFL playoff game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Green Bay Packers going into overtime. But that tardiness fit well with an early sketch spoofing game replays of injuries. The episode's host, Adam Driver, starred in the sketch as a sportscaster who did continuous play-by-plays of devastating injuries (albeit animated) to a quarterback.
"Let me just reassure all the viewers at home that we are not going to make you watch that again... from that angle," the character Collinsworth said. "From this angle it's much better."
The show's cold open targeted the Republican presidential candidates once more, mocking Thursday's Fox Business Network debate during which the political feuds between Donald Trump and every other candidate took center stage. The sketch featured the reality television star's thoughts on Ted Cruz's citizenship as well as his efforts to emasculate "little girl" Jeb Bush. Trump was played by "SNL" vet Darrell Hammond.
FOR THE RECORD
Jan. 18, 10:16 a.m.: An earlier version of this article stated that the Jan. 14 Republican presidential debate was aired by Fox Business News. The name of the outlet is Fox Business Network.
Perhaps the funniest moment of the bit came when Taran Killam, who played Cruz, was asked to clarify what he meant by "New York values," a reference to the real-life Texas senator's comments about the city's "liberal elite." He said they valued money and media and are in favor of abortion and gay marriage. The statement became a trending topic on Twitter, #NewYorkValues.
"Frankly, they are not the rest of the country's values. Instead of celebrating Christmas, New Yorkers celebrate a pagan holiday called Festivus. Instead of watching American football, they challenge each other to masturbation contests. In New York people don't say 'hi' to their neighbors. They say 'Hello, Newman,'" said Killam's Cruz character.
"It sounds like you're describing the show 'Seinfeld,'" said moderator Maria Bartiromo, played by Cecily Strong.
"Believe me if I could say liberal Jews I would," Cruz responded.