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Nothing to be cross about: 'SNL' serves up Catholic jokes for Lent

February 17, 2013|By Claire Zulkey

After playing an SS officer and a bounty hunter in Quentin Tarantino’s films, words like “charming”, “impish” and even “cute” may not be the first terms that spring to mind to describe Christoph Waltz, but that was the type of energy the Austrian actor threw into his turn at hosting "SNL," playing man-child characters like a game show host who just wants to dance, an emotionally and sexually stunted soul singer and a creepy lovelorn security guard.

Just in time for Lent, Waltz also portrayed two characters at the top of the spiritual food chain. Lent is a solemn time, this year particularly as the papacy is in flux, so which Christians couldn’t use a laugh?

First, in “Papal Securities,” Waltz played a bereft Pope Benedict XVI who faces the question, “What will you do after you’re Pope?” worrying about his financial future as he sifts through overdue bills and haplessly drops groceries on the street.  “Helping Popes retire since the last time it happened. In 1415,” the ad promises, as Benedict cashes in a chalice and enjoys rocking out with a garage band.  

Then Waltz sent up his Tarantino roles by appearing in “DJesus Uncrossed,” “the ultimate historical revenge fantasy,” complete with Luis Bacalov-y theme song. In the trailer, Christ rises from the dead, cross on his back, to take down the Romans who messed with him. “He may be wearing sandals but he can still kick ass!” promises the trailer. “Jesus H. Christ!” one Roman shouts. “The ‘H’ is silent,” Waltz growls before slicing the soldier’s head in half.

Elsewhere in the episode, Alabama Shakes, the episode’s musical guest, got Twitter lighting up as users praised lead singer Brittany Howard’s powerful earthy voice and unselfconscious stage presence, some comparing her to Janis Joplin.

“SNL” returns live March 2 with Kevin Hart of “The Real Husbands of Hollywood” as host and lighthearted hip-hop duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis as musical guests.

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