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'Saturday Night Live' best host poll: And the winner is...

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Saturday Night Live turns 40 years old next year. The big 4-0. What does that mean, exactly? Well, to put it in perspective, that means 11 of the 21 people who hosted during SNL‘s 39th season were not even alive when the show premiered on Oct. 11, 1975 with George Carlin as host. The show has evolved slightly from one cast to the next. But at its core, it’s still the same format that Lorne Michaels and his irreverent crew established way back when, though the first few seasons relied on such a small circle of guest hosts that Buck Henry became the inaugural member of the Five-Timers Club before the end of season 3.

It would be interesting to go back to the very beginning and award a Mr. Saturday Night to the best host for every season of SNL. Elliott Gould might take the prize in season 1 for performing double duty, and perhaps Steve Martin wins in season 2 for the same feat. But who deserves the honor for season 3: Martin again, for hosting a record three times, or a tongue-in-cheek nod to Chevy Chase, who brawled with Bill Murray on his first time back after leaving the show?

At least we know who have been the best hosts of the last three years. In 2012, EW.com readers crowned the first Mr. Saturday Night, Jimmy Fallon. Last year, Justin Timberlake ran away with the trophy. This year, the two title-holders teamed up for one super-size Christmas spectacular with Fallon as host and Timberlake as musical guest. But still, Fallon has hardly been a cinch, rising and dropping in the weekly polls that eliminated one host at a time until we were left with six finalists. His former Weekend Update co-anchor Tina Fey is back in the game, and Catching Fire‘s Josh Hutcherson is the surprise dark-horse who remains in striking distance. Might he surprise everyone and accomplish what even Jennifer Lawrence could not last year — win Mr. Saturday Night?

Before we announce the victor of this year’s contest, though, there are six other non-democratic awards to present. READ FULL STORY

'Saturday Night Live' finale recap: School's out, but not before Andy Samberg's class reunion

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What did you think of SNL‘s 39th season?

Maybe, instead, we should begin with a different question: What did SNL itself think of its 39th season?

The answer: Not much, if Saturday’s finale was any indication. Any time a former cast member hosts the show, we’re guaranteed to see a barrage of cameos from fellow alumni. But the sheer volume of ex-repertory players that showed up last night — and stuck around, taking up more attention and screen time than some new featured players have gotten all season — made the finale feel more like an unearned victory lap than a standalone episode. We already know that Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig are funny — but if SNL is going to survive into its fifth decade, which begins next fall, the show needs to consider its future as well as its past. You’ve got to feel for John Milhiser, Brooks Wheelan, Beck Bennett, Noël Wells, and Mike O’Brien, who might as well have stayed home Saturday night. (Sasheer Zamata, Kyle Mooney, and, of course, Colin Jost, who’s the show’s head writer as well as Weekend Update anchor: Breathe easy. You guys are safe for next season.)

Speaking of SNL‘s past: Host Andy Samberg was fine, if not a dynamo like fellow alumni hosts Maya Rudolph and Jimmy Fallon. His live sketch work had highs (Nicolas Cage!!) and lows (that 2 Chainz thing, which… what?); the same went for his two (count ‘em: two!) Digital Shorts, which were amusing if not at the level of the Lonely Island’s best work. We can, however, credit Samberg with catalyzing the night’s… READ FULL STORY

Andy Samberg hosts 'Saturday Night Live' finale this weekend: Talk about it here!

Nearly a decade after launching the revolution, Andy Samberg returns to reign over the world he created.

Let’s back up. Samberg joined the cast of SNL in September 2005, just a month after his 27th birthday. Nobody really knew who he was, though, until December 17 of that year, when The Lonely Island’s second-ever Digital Short, “Lazy Sunday,” premiered — and almost immediately became an Internet sensation. Sure, it helped that the short’s debut coincided with the rise of YouTube, which had launched in February of 2005, and its “white guys rapping about mundane stuff” premise gave plenty of fodder for homages and parodies — but really, “Lazy Sunday”‘s popularity doesn’t need to be explained. It became a sensation for one simple reason: Even nine years later, it’s still really, really funny.

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'Saturday Night Live' best host contest: Who deserves a second chance?

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After 20 episodes, the 39th season of Saturday Night Live draws to a close this weekend, with a very special homecoming for Andy Samberg, who returns as guest host for the first time. Expectations are understandably high for Samberg, who was an SNL all-star for seven seasons before taking his talents to Golden Globe-winning Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Fans of Samberg and his Lonely Island comedy group are likely counting on a new digital short, like its SNL viral hits “D-ck in a Box” and “Jack Sparrow,” and there’s always a solid chance — it being the season finale — that some other famous faces make a cameo.

Those possible developments will only enhance Samberg’s already solid chances for winning this year’s Mr. Saturday Night contest. After all, hosting the finale is a built-in advantage since voters will have his episode fresh in their minds when they have to chose between him and the four surviving finalists from this week’s vote (Josh Hutcherson, Jimmy Fallon, Anna Kendrick, Andrew Garfield, Charlize Theron). Then again, appearing last didn’t exactly help Ben Affleck last year. He finished last in the final vote, far behind his Runner Runner co-star and fellow SNL Five-Timer Justin Timberlake.

There will be one additional name on the final Mr. Saturday Night ballot on Monday, and once again, it’s up to you to grant a second chance to one of the season’s best hosts. Every year, some of our favorites get cut unfairly, tragic victims of the tyranny of the masses. (Hint, hint… Tina Effin’ Fey!) Last year, Seth MacFarlane was rescued by the voters, and he ultimately placed fourth in the final tally. Might Kerry Washington, Louis C.K., or two-time runner-up Melissa McCarthy shock the vote if they get a mulligan? Now is your time to be heard, to right a wrong. Vote below for the best SNL host who didn’t make the cut — but should’ve. READ FULL STORY

Andy Samberg comes home, gets goofy in 'SNL' promos -- VIDEO

The Andy Samberg who will host Saturday Night Live this weekend is not the same Samberg who departed the show in 2012, after seven seasons of viral video-making and face-pulling. For one thing, the comedian is now a Golden Globe™ Winning Actor; for another, he’s wearing glasses now. You can see the difference!

Actually, scratch that. Samberg’s antics in the following video are right on par with the sort of stuff he used to do on SNL; on a scale of cast-members-turned-hosts from Chevy Chase to Jimmy Fallon, it seems like he’ll fall closer to the Fallon end of the spectrum. But don’t take my word for it — enjoy Samberg and old pal Kenan Thompson’s quick yoga, delightful frolicking, and general silliness in the video below. Think it deserves the prize for Promo of the Year?

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'Brooklyn Nine-Nine': The highs and lows of season 1

Brooklyn Nine-Nine capped off a pretty great first season with a pretty great finale — one that managed to reaffirm everything that already works about the show while setting up a few new, intriguing possibilities for season 2.

Here’s where things stand as the episode draws to a close: Peralta’s leaving the precinct for six months for a dangerous undercover mission. (One that, much to Jake’s disappointment, doesn’t involve a cool fake identity.) He’s also finally come clean to Santiago about his feelings for her — not with some kind of bombastic grand gesture, but with an appropriately low-key confession. Meanwhile, Boyle and Vivian have broken up — boo! — making Rosa apparently reevaluate how she feels about him — yay? Holt and Terry are… still doing Holt and Terry. Oh, and in one last wrinkle: After a long night of drinking, Boyle wakes up only to find Gina, of all people, lying next to him. The horror, the horror!

Before we say goodbye to the Golden-Globe winner, let’s take stock of the show’s first season as a whole — the highs, the lows, and the creamy middles. By which, of course, I mean Gina.

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'Brooklyn Nine-Nine': Adam Sandler stops by for a low-key Super Bowl episode

The most extraordinary thing about Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s big post-Super Bowl show? Besides a few unobtrusive cameos — compare them, for example, to Prince Presents New Girl: A Royal Post-Game Engagement Brought To You by Ford Focus — Sunday’s special episode was hardly extraordinary at all. Football itself came into play only once, during a brief cold open that pitted the Nine-Niners against their archnemeses in the FDNY; both A and B-plots revolved around fairly standard shenanigans in the office and in the field; even Adam Sandler managed to keep things toned down when he popped up briefly during the show’s second half. (He collects antiquities, and is writing a movie about Russian revolutionaries starring Kevin James as Trotsky — who knew!)

Happily, Brooklyn‘s low-stakes gamble paid off. “Operation: Broken Feather” was as relaxed and confident as the show’s ever been, making it a great introduction for anyone who hasn’t yet been won over by fall’s best new sitcom. And as goofy as this may sound, the episode also did a fair amount of world-building — bringing back onetime guest stars like Patton Oswalt, Fred Armisen (peering around a barely opened door, as per usual), and Dean “Dennis From 30 Rock” Winters helped to establish that Brooklyn takes place in a universe populated by all kinds of amusing minor characters, not just the ones we see each week in the opening credits. Called it an attempted Springfieldification.

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'Brooklyn Nine-Nine,' after the Globes: Is it earning that 'Best Comedy' trophy?

See the face newly-crowned Golden Globe winner Andy Samberg is pulling in this picture — full-on grimace, crazy eyes, neck vein that might pop at any second? It’s a mug that screams “mugging,” even without the benefit of motion or sound — and it’s also a nice encapsulation of why more than one friend has told me that they’ve decided Brooklyn Nine-Nine isn’t for them, even without laying eyes on a single episode. Their objections generally boil down to something like this: “I might be able to get into that show… if it didn’t star Andy Samberg.”

Tonight’s all-new episode of Brooklyn — the first to air since the star and his comedy won a pair of shiny statuettes at Sunday’s Globes — may not convince those naysayers to change their minds. Its A-plot, for the most part, revolves around Samberg’s Detective Jake Peralta acting as obnoxious as humanly possible: pledging to take his quasi-love interest Detective Amy Santiago on the “worst date ever” after she loses a bet to him, hiring a children’s choir to sing a song about how much Santiago sucks on said date, wearing the top half of a tuxedo with cargo shorts. Don’t get me wrong: All these things are pretty funny. But occasionally, Peralta’s behavior seems less irritating than downright cruel; in those moments, you can sort of see why Brooklyn and Samberg might leave a bad taste in some potential viewers’ mouths.

But as those who are already fans of the show know, it’s absolutely worth persevering through the times when Peralta’s antics go too far. Because even while the Globes might have been a little hasty in naming Brooklyn 2013’s best TV comedy — we’ve only seen half a season so far! Where’s the fire, Hollywood Foreign Press? — it is still the network season’s most promising new sitcom, give or take a Trophy Wife. (P.S. Why aren’t you watching Trophy Wife?)

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Which Gaga will we get on 'SNL'? Let's go to the videotape

Whether she’s onstage or off, Lady Gaga clearly knows how to put on a show. But when it comes to Saturday Night Live, her experience is surprisingly limited. The artist formerly known as Stefani Germanotta has appeared on just two episodes of SNL, in 2009 and 2011 — both times as the show’s musical guest rather than its host.

Still, looking at those old episodes may give a few hints about what to expect when Gaga finally headlines an entire installment of SNL tomorrow night. In each one, Gaga ventured beyond her band to appear in a handful of sketches — showing off different skills (and, er, areas with room for improvement) every time. Which of these sub-Gagas will rule Studio 8H on Saturday’s show? Let’s look at the evidence and start speculating:

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'Brooklyn Nine-Nine': The most useful reaction GIFs

In the tradition of modern single-camera comedies like The Office, Parks and Recreation, and Modern Family, Fox’s new comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine features reaction shots that work oh-so-well as reaction GIFs for every occasion.  Thanks to the creatives of Tumblr, we rounded up the best GIFs from last night’s series premiere episode to fit your every need.
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