After a month-long vacation due to the Winter Olympics, Saturday Night Live returned this weekend with Jim Parsons making his first official trip to Rockefeller Center’s Studio 8H. It was the first episode since the fall of 2001 that didn’t include Seth Meyers, who started on Late Night last week, and Parsons shared the spotlight with Colin Jost, the show’s head writer, who now co-anchors “Weekend Update” with Cecily Strong.
That month-long hiatus may have helped Parsons, who had the competitive misfortune of following Melissa McCarthy, one of the show’s go-to hosts since breaking out in 2011′s Bridesmaids. A month later, her most recent appearance had faded from memory a tad, allowing Parsons to do his own thing without the bar being too high. In general, Parsons didn’t exactly try to shatter the public’s perception of him — which is, essentially, that he and his Big Bang Theory character Sheldon are one and the same.
It will be interesting to see if voters in our best-host poll will conclude that Parsons played it relatively too safe. He enters a contest that handicappers would describe as a two-horse race: Fallon versus McCarthy. The pair went down to the wire two years ago, when Fallon was elected the inaugural Mr. Saturday Night, and this year, another photo finish might be in the works. McCarthy currently leads after a solid debut, with 48.2 percent. Fallon held steady, with 24.9 percent, and will certainly close the gap as McCarthy comes back to the pack. Josh Hutcherson, like Peeta in The Hunger Games, just keeps hanging around, jumping up to third place with 12.8 percent. Drake was a close fourth with 11.7 percent, but is now on the brink of elimination. Jonah Hill might have two Oscar nominations, but he was quickly dismissed with only 2 percent of the vote.
A quick rundown on our objective: To identify the season’s funniest, most memorable SNL host, the person who best fit in with the cast and put on a performance that you, your mom, and your co-worker were all chuckling about on Sunday afternoon. It’s subjective, of course, but let’s reward the guest hosts who brought something special to the table. My own personal bottom line: Do you want to see this host back on the show next season?
So far, Bruce Willis, Miley Cyrus, Edward Norton, Lady Gaga, Tina Fey (Blerg), John Goodman, Paul Rudd, Kerry Washington, and Jonah Hill have been eliminated.
Below, I’ve embedded one representative clip for each of the five hosts currently in the race. After the poll closes, the host with the least support will be eliminated, and the surviving four will face off against Lena Dunham this week.
Watch the clips, refresh your memories, and vote.