Henry Goldblatt
April 23, 2004 AT 12:00 PM EDT

Janet Jackson on SNL is the best 339 Seconds On TV

If music soothes the savage breast, it’s no wonder Janet Jackson, coming off her two-week Mammary Contrition Tour, appeared relaxed — even joyful — on SNL. As host, the singer tweaked her nipple one last time and reminded us what a game comedienne she is. In the opening sketch, Jackson, clad in Condoleezza Rice drag, asks Dick Cheney (peerless impressionist Darrell Hammond) to help her prep for her 9/11 commission testimony. He coaches her to flash… a smile, and she obliges with a hilarious, crooked, bucktoothed, 1000-watter. Coach Cheney persists: ”If all else fails…I think you should flash a boob.” Condi leaves in a huff, saying such lewdness is reserved for ”pay television or national sporting championships.” But a few moments later at the hearing, flummoxed by a contorted (and real-life) question, Condi rends her blouse with Timberlakian zeal to reveal a pixelated ”fun bag” (as Cheney dubbed it) — and Jackson brings SNL its best overnight ratings in 16 months.

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