This is how it generally works: Jay Pharoah or Jason Sudeikis screams “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!” The house band kicks in, the immortal Don Pardo announces the cast. And then, the stage door opens, and a smiling celebrity walks out towards the camera. You try and gauge her body language because what you really want to know is: Is this going to be funny? It’s late on Saturday night and you just need to know whether you’re going to watch this from start to finish right now… or whether you should go to bed and simply scan up through “Weekend Update” tomorrow on the DVR.
Like a football or basketball game, a host can’t “win” SNL with a great opening monologue, but he or she sure can screw it up. So it’s no surprise that the best hosts typically come out of the gate revving on all cylinders. Good jokes help, and so do pratfalls, but the best of the best remind us that this is live television. It can be messy, and it can even be a trainwreck. But whatever it is, it can’t be boring.
For the second straight year, EW.com readers have voted to determine who was SNL‘s best host. Throughout the show’s season, the most recent host was pitted against the four most popular previous hosts in a vote, and the one with the least number of voters was eliminated while the four survivors advanced to the next week. Like any democracy, it’s a system that’s not without its flaws. This year, we
rigged modified the system with what I call the Barabbas Addendum, which restored a previously eliminated host to the final vote. The electorate rescued Seth MacFarlane to join our final five: Martin Short, Justin Timberlake, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, and Ben Affleck.
I’ve said before that there are very few happy accidents on Saturday Night Live. Comedy is precise. Live comedy is a gauntlet that can expose and undermine the proudest of entertainers. Each of our finalists, however, delivered monologues that set the tone for excellent shows that showcased the best of their abilities. More importantly for the success of the show, all of them also had a blast. I mean, it’s possible they were terrified underneath, but once the show began, all six of them were giggly and daring and totally committed. They’re good at hosting because they embrace the experience, trusting the writers and trusting their own talent.
Before we announce the winner of Mr. (or Mrs.) Saturday Night 2013, though, there are four other non-democratic awards to present. READ FULL STORY »