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'Saturday Night Live' host poll: Was Andrew Garfield an 'SNL' superhero?

Andrew Garfield had a pretty great weekend. His Spider-Man sequel grossed more than $92 million and he delivered a promising debut as host of Saturday Night Live. Credit the writers or his celebrity helpers — who included girlfriend Emma Stone, Jack Bauer, and Chris Martin — if you must, but Garfield more than held his own. He was bold, imitating his Social Network adversary and SNL all-star Justin Timberlake during a “Celebrity Family Feud” sketch; he was a brilliant man-on-the-run in a fake trailer for The Beygency; and he even had some fun anti-kissing his real-life girlfriend in a Spider-Man sketch. Combine that with some very funny Weekend Update bits — bravo Leslie Jones! — a great twist on Oliver, and a decent cold open about disgraced basketball owner Donald Sterling, and you get what I thought was one of the finest episodes SNL has had all season.

But in our third annual Mr. Saturday Night contest, my vote counts as much as yours — and the competition is tight. The most recent host before Garfield, Seth Rogen, landed with a thud, garnering only 3 percent of the vote and a quick elimination. Anna Kendrick retained her lead, but just barely, with 33.9 percent. Apparently, Josh Hutcherson‘s fans came back from spring break to vote, as his support more than tripled, from 10 percent to 33.8 percent. Jimmy Fallon held steady with 22 percent, but he’s not necessarily the one to beat anymore, despite his status as a former champion. Louis C.K. finished fourth again, with only 7.3 percent, and he’ll be tested to hold off Garfield this week. READ FULL STORY

'Saturday Night Live' writer Leslie Jones responds to criticism of slavery standup -- VIDEO

If you joke about slavery on TV, you’re going to get some backlash.

Leslie Jones, a writer for Saturday Night Live, made her onscreen debut during May 3’s Weekend Update segment. Jones performed a short standup routine about being single. The twist: Jones declared that she never would have been unattached in the days of slavery. In the bit, she calls herself a “number-one slave draft pick” and talks about how she’d be so popular that she’d be popping out babies every nine months. Naturally, these jokes got a few people upset — including Ebony senior editor Jamilah Lemieux, who blasted Jones on Twitter, calling her an “embarrassment.”

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'Saturday Night Live' recap: It's Andrew Garfield's night, but Emma Stone steals the show

That headline isn’t meant to be a knock on Andrew Garfield, who was nimble and vibrant as Peter Parker (post-spider bite, of course) in his SNL hosting debut. His face sported a gigantic, adorable grin for about 75 percent of last night’s 90-minute show; he easily and smoothly transitioned between British and American accents, even multiple times in the same sketch; he showed a real knack for flustered buffoonery, almost saving an iffy wedding toast sketch by sheer force of personality alone. (Key word there: almost.)

Garfield was good enough that it’s puzzling the show didn’t give him more to do. As amusing as it was, his opening monologue — predictably crashed by his Amazing Spider-Man 2 co-star/girlfriend Emma Stone, who couldn’t help giving a bunch of undermining advice — didn’t exactly scream “vote of confidence.” And though Garfield was front and center several times throughout the night, he only got a few chances to really let loose. But wouldn’t you know it — the first one of those chances just happened to be the night’s…

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Andrew Garfield hosts 'Saturday Night Live' this weekend: Talk about it here!

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It must sort of suck to know that even as you’re spending all week preparing to host Saturday Night Live for the very first time, there’s just one question running through the minds of everyone planning to watch: When’s that dude’s girlfriend gonna show up?

Yes, Emma Stone is charming and funny and great, and proved herself to be an SNL natural when she headlined the show in 2010 and 2011. But Stone’s longtime beau Andrew Garfield is no slouch himself. Witness, for example, the easy charm on display during his only previous Saturday Night Live appearance, a cameo in Emma’s last monologue:

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Andrew Garfield shows superheroic range in 'SNL' promos -- VIDEO

Is Andrew Garfield American or British? The answer, technically, is “both” — which explains how he switches between the two accents so easily. And that’s not the Amazing Spider-Man star’s only linguistic trick: According to this new set of Saturday Night Live promos, Garfield also knows how to speak in dog. Can you speak in dog, Emma Stone?

Watch Garfield bark, smolder, and give his take on a whispery “Clint Eastwood” voice — sounds more like a Christian Bale-esque Batman growl, if you ask me — in the video below. Hell, maybe if he’s this versatile on Saturday, SNL will name the green room after him! (As you’ll see in the clip, stage-naming rights have already been taken.)

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Michael Che: 5 things to know

Note: NBC revealed on Sept. 11 that Michael Che is headed to Saturday Night Live‘s Weekend Update desk when the series’ 40th season premieres on Sept. 27. Learn more about Che’s background in the post below, originally published April 28.

Who is Michael Che, The Daily Show‘s latest recruit? First and foremost, he’s a prolific workhorse of a standup known for performing in New York City comedy clubs seven nights a week, often in multiple venues each night. Secondly, he’s a writer for SNL whose work includes “12 Days Not a Slave” and that weird sketch where Zach Galifianakis plays a racist M&M. Thirdly, he’s a rising star who recently snagged a role in Chris Rock’s upcoming film Finally Famous, which sort of sounds like Rock’s take on Funny People. (Update: The movie is now called Top Five; it sparked a bidding war at the Toronto International Film Festival, eventually getting acquired by Paramount.)

But important as these tidbits may be, they’re also just lines on Che’s resume — and they don’t say much about what we might expect from him once he makes the leap from NBC to Comedy Central. Maybe these fun facts will be a little more revealing:

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'Saturday Night Live' best host poll: Did Seth Rogen play it too safe? -- VOTE

Perhaps Seth Rogen’s latest Saturday Night Live episode wasn’t especially inspired: it opened with the requisite weed jokes, made fun of his oft-imitated laugh, and leaned on some unnecessary celebrity cameos. But if you love Rogen’s slacker comedy, maybe that was exactly what you tuned in for. At least he didn’t tap dance or juggle torches to prove that he’s not just a funny guy.

Voters in our ongoing third annual Mr. Saturday Night contest will have to decide whether Rogen played it too safe for a guy who was hosting for the third time, or if he delivered exactly what the audience wanted.

Last week’s host, Anna Kendrick, sang her way to the top of the poll, scoring 47.8 percent, nearly twice as much as her nearest competitor, Jimmy Fallon, who looks slightly vulnerable for the first time with 24.8 percent. But who knows if Kendrick’s impressive debut will last: Louis C.K. scored 33.1 percent in his first week, but he sank to fourth in his second frame, with only 8.72 percent. Some of Josh Hutcherson‘s fans took the week off, apparently, as he went from 22.9 to 10.0 percent, still enough to hold third place. Sadly, Melissa McCarthy‘s luck finally ran out after narrowly skirting elimination for three straight weeks; she barely trailed Louis C.K. with 8.70 percent. READ FULL STORY

'Saturday Night Live' recap: Seth Rogen gets an evening of predictable jokes

The Seth-Rogen-likes-weed jokes will never get old, apparently. And Seth Rogen knows it.

In the third-time host’s monologue, Rogen read from a journal documenting his time at 30 Rock preparing for Saturday Night Live, including: “Just got pitched about 50 ideas about weed. Unfortunately, we can only do about 10 of them.” The Pineapple Express star milked the line, but this wasn’t the only drug-tinged joke of the night — surprise!

Though it did seem like we were going to escape the episode without an entire sketch dedicated to the munchies, Rogen’s onscreen stoner reputation prevailed. The second-to-last skit starred a spectacularly goofy Kyle Mooney as a weed enthusiast who doesn’t actually smoke pot. Rogen made an appearance in it as a drug dealer, and the two bonded over a weird song. It was all very weird, actually. And not very funny.

Rogen excelled in the non-drug-themed skits, particularly when he played a clumsy husband opposite wife Aidy Bryant, who was stuck with two arm casts and needed his help in everything, from raising a glass at dinner to applying lipstick.

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Seth Rogen hosts 'Saturday Night Live' this weekend: Talk about it here!

You know what’s weird? Though tonight marks Seth Rogen’s third stint as SNL host, I realized before writing this post that I couldn’t remember a single sketch he’d done during either of his previous turns. Maybe that’s because it’s been a surprisingly long time since Rogen graced the SNL stage; the last time he was on, he was promoting 2009’s Observe and Report. (The first time he hosted was another era altogether; the 2007 episode featured jabs at Kevin Federline, Senator Larry Craig, and multiple MacGruber sketches.)

More likely, though, it’s because Rogen’s hosting style isn’t particularly flashy. In movies, he gravitates toward genial, laid-back sensitive bro types; in his past stints on SNL, he’s done much of the same, give or take a pair of Muppets sketches that had him donning a big, furry suit. (Dear Internet: Why is “Muppets Hit & Run” not available anywhere online? This is a travesty!) Rogen isn’t much of an impressionist, or an insanely energetic, up-for-anything quintuple threat type — he’s more of a Jason Sudeikis-esque everyguy, but nerdier and schlubier and more likely to talk about being Jewish. (And he’s hosting just in time for Passover — what a mensch.)

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Seth Rogen refuses to phone in his 'Saturday Night Live' promos -- VIDEO

Seth Rogen hosts Saturday Night Live this weekend for the third time — so he knows his way around Studio 8H and the whole promo routine. Aidy Bryant… perhaps less so. See, it’s her first time filming SNL promos, and she might be a little nervous… or neurotic… or power-mad. She’s not about to let the Neighbors star phone this one in, especially when this week is really all about her.

Watch the clip below, which features a bonus description of Zac Efron’s haunting beauty. READ FULL STORY

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