In his first hosting appearance on "Saturday Night Live," Martin Freeman summoned his deadpan humor from "The Office" and his hobbit ears from "The Hobbit" — and that was just in one sketch.
The British actor combined the two in a clever mashup. In "The Office: Middle Earth," Bilbo Baggins (Freeman) played practical jokes on Gollum (Taran Killam) and contended with his absurd boss Gandalf (Bobby Moynihan) at the U.K.'s worst-run paper company.
"Moreso than a boss, I'm more of a chilled-out entertainer slash wizard," said a shirt-and-tie-and-wizard-hat wearing Gandalf, in a perfect facsimile of Ricky Gervais' character in the original British TV series.
U.S. & World
Gollum, wearing a shirt collar and cuffs, fell for stunts dreamed up by Tauriel (Kate McKinnon) and Baggins.
"You don't choose the people you work with," Baggins said, as Gollum devours a raw fish.
"Oh, there's now giant spiders in the parking lot," he mused as his co-workers dashed through the office brandishing axes and swords.
In his opening monologue, Freeman poked fun at a different fellowship: British actors. "All British celebrities know each other and are friends," he said as "Harry Potter" actors Maggie Smith (McKinnon) and Alan Rickman (Killam) tiptoed onstage.
"We all live in a single mansion," wheezed Smith. "Martin and I split a bunk bed. I sleep on the tip tippy top."
The cold open featured a spoof of "Charlie Rose," as the venerable host (Killam) interviewed two psychologists (Moynihan and Kyle Mooney) who got paid $80 million to devise CIA torture tactics outlined in a recent Senate report. It turns out they moonlight devising other "methods" of more everyday torture.
"We don't want to be known as the 'rectal feeding guys,'" one says. For example: "We do all the customer service" for Time Warner Cable. "It was our idea that when you call on the phone you have to ask a robot to talk to a human."
And: "We created the concept of self-checkout. That's the beaty of it: People don't realize it's torture."
"Weekend Update" co-hosts Colin Jost and Michael Che kept their monologues short — although they did take aim at the Senate report on CIA torture.
"You don't need torture to get people to admit stuff," Che deadpanned. "Just get them really drunk and log them into Facebook."
Sasheer Zamata visited the "Weekend Update" desk to talk about the lack of diversity in the tech industry. Her target: emojis, the tiny graphics that double as their own smartphone hieroglyphics.
"There are over 800 emojis available on Apple products, and not one of them is of a black person," she vented to Jost. "There are two dragons, nine cat faces, [and] three generations of a white family. Even the black power fist is white."
Zamata's only option for a black emoji stand-in: A "dark moon," as Jost put it. "Yeah, that's the closest thing they have," Zamata said. "It looks like a baby Charles Barkley."
To recognize the beginning of Hanukkah on Tuesday, Che welcomed his podiatrist's son, Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy (Vanessa Bayer). Wearing his typical New York Yankees yarmulke, Jacob explained Hanukkah prayers, gave thanks for his bar mitzvah dancers (Tornado and Sky) and issued a tearful thank-you for his hero, former Yankee Derek Jeter.
British pop star Charli XCX also performed her singles "Break the Rules" and "Boom Clap," her first Billboard Top 10 hit as a solo artist.
"SNL" returns Dec. 20 with Amy Adams and musical guest One Direction.