Billie Eilish lives out her acting dreams as host and musical guest of 'SNL'

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A woman wearing a white, ruffled dress on a festive stage
Singer Billie Eilish hosts "Saturday Night Live." (Will Heath / NBC)

Singer-songwriter Billie Eilish was happier than ever to serve as host and musical guest of "Saturday Night Live" this weekend.

While delivering her opening monologue on the festive Studio 8H set, the anti-pop phenom sported a ruffly, red-and-white dress and joked that she "decided to dress like Mrs. Claus going to the club" — before revealing the "good reason" she's famously worn baggy clothes for much of her career.

"It wasn't just for comfort or for style," the teen musician said. "This is hard to say. ... But the real reason I wore big, oversized clothes back then is, I was actually two kids stacked on top of each other trying to sneak into an R-rated movie."

After making her "SNL" debut as musical guest in 2019, the Grammy winner said she never thought she'd return to host the sketch comedy program. But she did admit that, as a child of actors, she dreamed of acting.

"It was my dream to be in a movie, and I remember when that dream died," she quipped.

"I was 9, and my mom wrote a film inspired by her life. This is true: She cast my brother, Finneas, as her son, she played the mom, and in the movie, she had no daughter. Yeah, I got the hint."

At one point, Eilish's mother even joined the "Bad Guy" hitmaker onstage, wearing a "Finneas' mom" T-shirt. Musician Finneas later accompanied his sister for live performances of Eilish tracks "Happier Than Ever" and "Male Fantasy," which he helped to write and produce.

Here's a sampling of other highlights from the latest installment of "SNL." (Warning: Some of the following clips contain profanity.)

Kate McKinnon returns as Anthony Fauci

During the cold open of Saturday's episode, fan-favorite McKinnon returned to the show as President Biden's senior medical advisor, Anthony Fauci, for a public service announcement about the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

McKinnon's latest Fauci impression marked her first appearance on "SNL" since taking a months-long hiatus to work on other projects.

"People see me on TV — they think, 'Oh, this can't be good,' and the children think, 'Wow, that Elf on the Shelf got old," McKinnon's Fauci said.

"As you probably heard, there is an Omicron wave sweeping the globe. Some experts feared the Omicron variant would be vaccine-resistant, kinda like — I don't know — 40% of Americans. More recent data suggests that if you had a vaccine and a booster, you should be pretty well protected. So if that's you, I'd like to officially say unclench."

The cold open also featured commentary from politicians and various members of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, played by Cecily Strong, Aidy Bryant, Kyle Mooney, Pete Davidson, Mikey Day, Melissa Villaseñor, Heidi Gardner, Ego Nwodim, Bowen Yang and more.

'Weekend Update' tackles Jussie Smollett verdict

The "Weekend Update" portion of the telecast saw co-anchor Colin Jost poke fun at "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett, who was convicted Thursday of staging a racist, homophobic attack against himself and lying to Chicago police.

In the wake of the verdict, many criticized Smollett — who has maintained his innocence — while social justice organization Black Lives Matter has continued to support him "as abolitionists."

"On Thursday, a Chicago jury declared Jussie Smollett really bad at acting," Jost quipped. "It's the worst staged hate crime since my all-Christian production of 'Fiddler on the Roof.'"

Eilish leans into her Gen Z identity with TikTok parody

In a digital short filmed to fit a vertical phone screen, 19-year-old Eilish appeared in a number of fake TikTok videos spoofing some of the Gen Z app's most popular trends.

The recording artist played a hospital employee performing a viral dance number on shift, and various cast members parodied a self-defense instructor, an amateur fashion critic, a thirst-trapper, a Marvel conspiracy theorist, a mommy vlogger, a Flo Rida cover artist and other common content creators on the platform.

Eilish gets an unexpected Christmas dinner guest

In another digital short, Eilish portrayed a young woman who generously invites her lonely, elderly neighbor (McKinnon) to her family's Christmas dinner — only to find out that said neighbor is a racist, anti-Semitic murderer.

"Mom, don't get the door!" Eilish's character yells when the woman finally arrives at their home.

Christmas cards get a little too real

One sketch featured cast members Villaseñor and Alex Moffat as a happily married couple sifting through all the Christmas cards they received this year.

But as they looked closer, the people pictured in the cards came to life and candidly revealed the back story behind each photo. Among the senders were their "super white, super Christian neighbor," a cousin "who's made pregnancy my entire personality," "the well-off, middle-aged gay couple your wife is friends with," their "friend Ruth with Miley Cyrus (actually played by Cyrus)" and "your mom's single friend who's looked 52 years old since you were a baby."

"What's new with me?" asked Eilish, who played one of Villaseñor's former high school classmates. "Let's see: still a b—, still richer than her and still married to my handsome yet boring husband who cheats on me."

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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