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By Daniel Arkin

Christmas came early on "Saturday Night Live" this week — and the children on Santa's lap had some uncomfortable questions.

"What did Al Franken do?" one child asked a mall Santa Claus (Kenan Thompson) and his elf sidekick (Kate McKinnon) in the opening sketch.

Thompson was flummoxed, unsure of how to explain Franken's resignation from the Senate following sexual misconduct allegations. He turned to the elf: "Can you take the Al Franken thing, sugar plum?"

"No," McKinnon replied. "And in this climate, can you just call me Amy?"

"I guess you could say that Al Franken is on Santa's naughty list this year," Thompson explained. And so was Roy Moore, the Alabama Senate candidate who has been accused of sexual misconduct with teenage girls decades ago. ("It's not really a list," McKinnon said. "It's more of a registry.")

A little girl wanted to know whether President Donald Trump, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by at least 16 women, was also on the naughty list. She went on to say that she had learned a lot from watching the news.

"I learned that if you admit you did something wrong, you get in trouble. But if you deny it, they let you keep your job," she said.

The other kids were eager to talk about NFL players kneeling during the national anthem, the opioid epidemic, and the sexual misconduct allegations against former "Today" anchor Matt Lauer.

McKinnon’s character reassured one girl that although "things seem particularly insane right now, like truly mind-bendingly insane," everything will be OK — "maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not for another 3 years, 42 days and 24 minutes."

The episode was hosted by James Franco, star and director of the new film "The Disaster Artist." Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill and Steve Martin showed up to heckle Franco during his monologue, but the host threw them some shade in return.

"Why don’t you ask Seth, ma'am, why the movies I do on my own, like '127 Hours,' get nominated for Oscars," Franco said to a woman in the studio audience. "The movies I do with Seth get nominated for a stoner award."

Rogen corrected Franco: "They’re called Stoneys" — and "they are as prestigious as an Oscar. Plus, when you win, you get a bag of weed."

The musical guest this week was the R&B singer SZA.