Kerry Washington is poised, intelligent, talented, stylish, and, of course, beautiful. But is she funny?
I want the answer to be “yes.” I hope the answer will be “yes.” But considering that the Scandal star’s last major comedy credit is a series of 1996 PBS “edutainment” shorts called Standard Deviants, one can be forgiven for having doubts. (Okay, she was also the other woman in Chris Rock’s I Think I Love My Wife — but the role wasn’t particularly funny, and also, the movie wasn’t particularly good.)
Of course, a lack of comedic experience doesn’t necessarily mean an actor has no aptitude for comedy. Before they became SNL favorites, Christopher Walken and Jon Hamm were known primarily as dramatic actors. After their first turns as host, though, both proved that they’ve got serious comedic chops as well. (Christoph Waltz also sort of belongs in this category, though his Oscar-winning turn in Inglourious Basterds was funny in a very dark sort of way.)
Could Kerry join the exclusive ranks of those unexpectedly great hosts — or will she turn in a performance more along the lines of unsuccessful Serious Actor hosts like January Jones or Daniel Craig?
Only time will tell — but at least SNL‘s writing team has plenty to work with tonight, thanks both to current events and Washington’s presence. Finally having another black female performer on the show opens up a gigantic well of opportunities: We can get a Michelle Obama sketch now! Or one about Beyoncé! Or one about Scandal itself, which is just begging to be parodied! (Taran Killam’s got to play President Fitz, right?)
Elsewhere, the Red Sox World Series victory should provide some sketch fodder (maybe a visit from Jimmy Fallon and Rachel Dratch’s Boston Teens??), and the mess that is healthcare.gov may double as a comedic gift that keeps on giving. And though the likelihood of this happening is very, very slim, I’m also crossing my fingers for a cool sketch about Washington’s first major big-screen credit, Save the Last Dance. Er… make that a slammin‘ sketch.
What are you hoping to see from Kerry Washington tonight — and how confident are you in her comedic abilities? Think it’s possible that she’ll confirm her reported pregnancy live on air? Will the show address its diversity issues, or at least the criticism for diversity issues it’s been getting lately? And finally, do you think there’s any chance frequent musical guest Eminem will drop his tough guy veneer to appear in a sketch? Talk amongst yourselves, and check back tomorrow morning for a full recap.