Last night's Saturday Night Live (Dec 15) could have gone very wrong indeed in lieu of recent events in America, but for a nation in mourning the one thing that America needed was a healthy dose of laughter and fortunately SNL brought the perfect amount on what could have been a very difficult night for the show.

With Fox pulling episodes of Family Guy and American Dad from the air in response to the shootings in Connecticut, it was thought that NBC might do the same with some of their more racy shows. However the writers at SNL showed us why they're so revered as they put on a show that was at first moving, before the hilarity began.

Rather than the usual comedic sketch to get things going, the show brought on the New York City Children's Chorus for an angelic rendition of 'Silent Night,' with particular emphasis the touching and poignant refrain, "Sleep in heavenly peace." For a show not regularly known for its delicate handling of sensitive subjects, they could hardly have started things off in a better way. Once the song was over though, the usual cry of "Live from New York, it's 'Saturday Night!'" rang from the children's mouths and the show began, with not a single other mention to the recent tragedy - and rightly so.

Hosted by Martin Short, this festive edition of the show was by no means short on stars, with Alec Baldwin, Tom Hanks, Kristen Wiig, Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey all stopping by for a cameo appearance. However one cameo appearance that stood out above the rest had to be Samuel L Jackson's surprise visit as a guest on the mock talk show 'What Up with That?'. Jackson's profanity filled exchanges with Kenan Thompson were easily the highlight of the night, with those two clearly as cracked up as the audience at home and in the studio.

Closing the night was another surprise face, this time in the form of Paul McCartney, who was joined on stage by the children's choir for a rendition of his festive hit 'Wonderful Christmas Time.' America may still be in mourning, but with the subtle help of SNL and other well-balance acts then perhaps the country can recover from this latest tragedy a little easier than it would otherwise.