Saturday Night Live aired its thirty-eighth season during the 2012–2013 television season on NBC. The season officially began on September 15, 2012, with host Seth MacFarlane and musical guest Frank Ocean. The season came to a close on May 18, 2013 with host Ben Affleck and musical guest Kanye West.
Prior to the start of the season, many cast changes occurred. Andy Samberg and Kristen Wiig, both cast members since 2005, decided not to return following the end of the previous season. As well, prior to the start of the season, Abby Elliott, who had been a cast member since 2008, was let go after four seasons on the show. Vanessa Bayer, Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah were upgraded to repertory status.
To fill the void, the show hired three new cast members: Chicago improvisers Aidy Bryant, Tim Robinson, and Cecily Strong as the replacements. According to the official press release, "Bryant trained at the iO Chicago, Annoyance Theatre and she was also part of the ensemble that performed on the Second City E.T.C Stage. Robinson also trained at the The Second City, he performed on their Mainstage and was also part of their National Touring Company. Like Robinson, Strong has also performed as part of the National Touring Company and trained at the iO Theater".
Host Seth MacFarlane; Frank Ocean performs "Thinkin' Bout You" and "Pyramids." Sketches include Obama vs. Romney Cold Open, Mitt Romney Ad: Obama For America, Rodger Brush: Sex After 50, Eastwood and Chair, Lids, Puppet Class, Weekend Update with guests Ryan Lochte, Honey BooBoo and Mama June and Mimi Morales, Drill Sergeant, Steve Harvey Show, First Date and Wooden Spoon Warehouse.
Host Joseph Gordon-Levitt; Mumford & Sons perform "I Will Wait" and "Below My Feet". Sketches include Live with Kelly and Michael Cold Open, Undecided Voter, Tres Equis I, Private Detective, Tres Equis II, Hypnotist, g.o.b. Tampons, Weekend Update with guests Stephen A. Smith, Bashar al-Assad’s best friends growing up and Ann Romney, London, The Finer Things, My Daughter and Real Estate Agents.
Host Daniel Craig; Muse perform "Madness" and "Panic Station." Sketches include Presidential Debate Cold Open, Bond Girls, MSNBC Debate Fallout, Long Island Medium, Mars Mission, Weekend Update with guests Cecilia Gimenez and Big Bird, A Sorry Lot We Are, Loving Couple and Undecided Voter.
Host Christina Applegate; Passion Pit performs "Take a Walk" and "Carried Away." Sketches include Vice Presidential Debate Cold Open, Gillette Masters of Style, The Californians: Wedding, Tech Talk: iPhone 5, Taken Trailer, Weekend Update with guests Arianna Huffington and Jean K. Jean, The Sirens, Principal Frye: Hell-oween Bash and Choreographer.
Bruno Mars hosts and performs "Locked Out of Heaven" and "Young Girls". Sketches include Town Hall Debate Cold Open, Brad Pitt Ads, Haters, Pandora Internet Radio, Sad Mouse, Weekend Update with guest Stefon, Amusement Park Ride: Haunted Castle, Wilderness Lodge and Underground Festival: Election.
Host Louis C.K.; Fun performs "Some Nights" and "Carry On". Sketches include Bloomberg’s Hurricane Sandy Address Cold Open, Fox and Friends: Hurricane Sandy, Lincoln, Australian Screen Legends, Weekend Update with Mitt Romney, Kourtney Barnes and The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party, Mountain Pass, Hotel Fees and Last Call.
Host Anne Hathaway; Rihanna performs "Diamonds" and "Stay". Sketches include Mitt Romney on a Balcony Cold Open, Girlfriends Talk Show, Mokiki, Homeland, McDonald’s Firing, Weekend Update with guests Drunk Uncle, Barack Obama and a Gay Couple from Maine, Ellen, American Gothic and New Claritin.
Host Jeremy Renner; Maroon 5 perform "One More Night" and "Daylight". Sketches include C-SPAN Booknotes Cold Open, Tourism Ad: Your Hometown, The Californians: Thanksgiving, The Situation Room: David Patraeus, The Stand Off, Weekend Update with guests Katt Williams and Gov. Chris Christie, The Avengers, Movie Set, Cartoon: Cool Drones and Coroner.
Host Jamie Foxx. Ne-Yo performs "Let Me Love You (Until You Learn to Love Yourself)" and "She Is". Sketches include Fiscal Cliff Press Conference Cold Open, Bitch Game Show, J-Pop America Fun Time Now, Tyler Perry Presents: Alex Cross, Weekend Update with guests Ding Dong and Mrs. Claus, Dylan McDermott or Dermot Mulroney, Tree Pimps, Maine Justice and Swarvoski Crystals.
Host Martin Short; Paul McCartney performs "My Valentine" with Joe Walsh on guitar, "Cut Me Some Slack" with the surviving members of Nirvana (Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear), and "Wonderful Christmastime". Sketches include Silent Night Cold Open, A Tony Bennett Christmas, Royal Family Doctor, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Weekend Update with guests Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy and The Girl You Wish You Hadn't Started A Conversation With At A Party, What’s Up With That? Christmas Spectacular, Slack, Old Friends and Holiday Pageant Audition.
Host Jennifer Lawrence; The Lumineers performs "Ho Hey" and "Stubborn Love". Sketches include Piers Morgan Cold Open: Lance Armstrong, Starbucks Verismo, Girlfriends Talk Show, Hunger Games Press Conference, More Hobbit, 50s Diner, Weekend Update with guest Anthony Crispino, Top Dog Chef, B108 Morning Show and Danielle: A Free European Woman
Host Adam Levine. Kendrick Lamar performs "Swimming Pools (Drank)" and "Poetic Justice". Sketches include Rosetta Stone, Advice Show, Sopranos High, Firehouse Incident and Digital Short: YOLO, Weekend Update with guests Arianna Huffington and Ray Lewis, Rumble, Catfish, Adam and Janet and Underground Festival: Biden Bash.
Host and musical guest Justin Bieber. Justin Bieber performs the acoustic version of "As Long as You Love Me" and "Nothing Like Us". Sketches include Super Bowl Blackout Cold Open, Justin Bieber Valentine’s Day Monologue, The Californians: Runaway, Justin Bieber Doubles, Bravo TV Shows, Weekend Update with guests King Richard III’s Friends Growing Up and Corey, 50s Romance, The Miley Cyrus Show, Protective Brother and Principal Frye: Valentine’s Dance.
Host Christoph Waltz. Alabama Shakes performs "Hold On" and "Always Alright". Sketches include Stranded Cruise Cold Open, What Have You Become Game Show, Retirement Ad, Tippy, New Tarantino Movie, JaMarcus Brothers CD, Weekend Update with guests Sen. Marco Rubio, Olya Povlatsky and Stephen A. Smith, Regine, Fox and Friends: 2013 State of The Union and Secret Admirer Letter.
Host Kevin Hart. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis perform "Thrift Shop" with Wanz and "Can't Hold Us" with Ray Dalton. Sketches iinclude Sequester Cold Open, Steve Harvey Show: Phobias, The Situation Room: New Pope, Starbucks Verismo, Barnes and Noble Firing, Weekend Update with guests Dennis Rodman and Kim Jong-un, The Walking Dead, Shark Tank, Z-Shirt, Recording Session, 90s Funeral and 360 News.
Host and musical guest Justin Timberlake. Justin Timberlake performs "Suit & Tie" with Jay-Z and "Mirrors". Sketches include Memorial Service Cold Open, Justin Timberlake Five Timers Monologue, It’s a Date, Veganville, NuvaBling, Weekend Update with guest Stefon, Caligula, Maine Justice, Romantic Comedy and Moet & Chandon.
Host Melissa McCarthy; Phoenix performs "Entertainment" and a medley of "Trying to Be Cool" and "Drakkar Noir". Sketches include C-SPAN North Korea Cold Open, Outside the Lines, The Voice: Season 4, Honey Ham Bake-Off, Bathroom Businessman, Weekend Update with guests Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy, Charles Barkley, Drunk Uncle and Peter Drunklage, Million Dollar Wheel, Pizza Business and The Art of the Encounter.
Host Vince Vaughn; Miguel performs "Adorn" and "How Many Drinks?". Sketches include Gun Control Cold Open, Al Pacino HBO Biopics, The Weather Channel, History of Punk, Short Term Memory Loss Theater, Weekend Update with guests Marina Chapman, LL Cool J and Brad Paisley, Junior Prom, Roundball Rock and Last Call.
Host Zach Galifianakis; Of Monsters and Men performs "Little Talks" and "Mountain Sound". Sketches include Fox and Friends Interview Bloomberg Cold Open, Game of Game of Thrones, Match.com Commercial, Jennifer Aniston Look-Alike, Weekend Update with guests James Carville, Randall Meeks and The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation with at a Party, M&M Store, Darrell’s House, Michael Jordan’s Wedding and New Balance.
Host Kristen Wiig; Vampire Weekend performs "Diane Young" and "Unbelievers". Sketches include C-SPAN Benghazi Hearing, 1-800-Flowers, The Californians: Karina Returns, New Disney Show, The Lawrence Welk Show: Summer, Vampire Weekend: Diane Young, Weekend Update with guests Anthony Crispino and Garth & Kat, Target Lady, Acupuncture, Double Date and Socialite CD.
Host Ben Affleck; Kanye West performs performs "Black Skinhead" and "New Slaves". Sketches include Politics Nation: IRS Scandal, Iranian Film, New Xanax, Depression Scene, Gay Camp, Stefon’s Farewell, Greg’s Funeral, Hermes Handbags, Cop Family and Top of the Pops.