Note to self: When discussing Melissa McCarthy’s return to the Saturday Night Live stage, don’t use the phrase “third time’s the charm.” (It implies that the Oscar nominee’s first two SNL outings weren’t great, which we all know isn’t true.)
Kenan Thompson finds that out the hard way in McCarthy’s latest set of promos, which also feature the goofy duo struggling to light the “Olympic torch,” having some fun with musical guest Imagine Dragons’ name (think Garth and Kat) and explaining that since Sunday’s Super Bowl™ doesn’t air on NBC, the fine folks at SNL have to find something else to call it. Could Saturday’s show end up being even more entertaining than this weekend’s big Televised Man Battle With Ball? Signs point to maybe:
Martin Scorsese’s one and only muse, Jonah Hill, hosted Saturday Night Live for the third time over the weekend, and not only did he bring along his Wolf of Wall Street sidekick, Leonardo DiCaprio — an SNL virgin — but he also reunited with his Superbad pal Michael Cera. Hill, who may have forgotten to mention that he’s now a two-time Oscar nominee (for Wolf and Moneyball), also resurrected his Catskills-comic-inspired 6-year-old Adam Grossman and… and…
Okay, let’s cut to the chase. The show was solid. Some real funny bits. But Jonah and Leo doing their Titanic relaxation exercise was the show-stopper, a moment that crowned Hill as king of the comedy world — at least for a moment. If Hill had dropped the mic right then, I think he’d already done enough to advance in our Saturday Night Live best host poll.
But if Hill is here to stay, who’s on the outside looking in? It’s certainly not Drake, who debuted in first place with a solid 54 percent. And it’s certainly not Jimmy Fallon, who slipped to second but can be counted on to hang around with 24 percent. Josh Hutcherson refuses to go quietly, scoring double-digits again, and Kerry Washington edged Paul Rudd to survive another elimination.
A quick rundown on our simple objective: To identify the best, funniest, most memorable SNL host, the most memorable guest who 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, and Rudd 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 Melissa McCarthy on Feb. 1.
Admit it, your favorite part of Saturday’s SNL was Leonardo DiCaprio’s surprise cameo during Jonah Hill’s monologue. Below, find two GIFs of Leo and Jonah reenacting a famous scene from Titanic. READ FULL STORY
If you happened to tune in to SNL after Jonah Hill’s monologue, you probably thought it was an uneven mix of sketches with a laugh here and there. If you viewed the show in its entirety like I did, your ride started off with a BANG and slowly lost steam as the episode went along, but not without hitting a few other highs (and lows) along the way. Hill was returning for his third time in the host’s seat (or the Benihana seat), a strong addition to his Actor’s Stat Card, which also now reads, “two-time Academy Award nominee.” The host could hardly mention as much in his monologue before the anticipation started to build: It really seems like they’re building up to a Leo cameo right now. But there’s no way he’ll stop by, right? Are they…? Is he…? And then, there he was in all of his bronzed boyish charm, Leonardo DiCaprio. I gasped. READ FULL STORY
This week has all the necessary pop-culture ingredients: A great book, a great movie, an awards show, and countless television musts. Get ready to set your DVRs, hit up your local bookstore, and cheer on your favorite performances, because we’ve outlined the perfect way for you to say goodbye to January. READ FULL STORY
No disrespect to Jonah Hill, but on some level, his upcoming SNL hat trick raises just one question: Hill is about to host Saturday Night Live for the third time. Yet his Wolf of Wall Street co-star Leonardo DiCaprio hasn’t hosted even once? Even worse, Leo’s never stopped by Studio 8H for so much as a cameo? This is so outrageous I’m starting to feel short of breath. Quick, somebody grab me a quaalude!
Ahhh, there we go. Now, what was I saying? Oh yes — Jonah Hill’s back on SNL this weekend, which means a few things. One, there’s a pretty good chance we’ll see the third recurrence of Adam Grossman, a.k.a. that 6-year-old kid who loves Benihana and talking like a Borscht Belt comedian. (Side note: Man, remember when Casey Wilson was on SNL? Side-side note: Man, 2008 Jonah Hill looked… different.) READ FULL STORY
Saturday Night Live‘s “newest addition” isn’t actually a new addition at all. Colin Jost, named today as Seth Meyers’ imminent Weekend Update successor, has been writing for the sketch show since 2005 (shortly after he graduated from Harvard; underachiever) and was named its co-head writer in 2012. True, he’s only appeared on the show a handful of times — in just two sketches, according to IMDB — but that doesn’t mean Jost lacks performing experience: He’s also a seasoned standup comedian who has appeared on stages around the country and on programs including Late Night with Jimmy Fallonand John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up Show.
This weekend marks Jonah Hill’s third time hosting SNL — not exactly a milestone worthy of its own lengthy, star-studded sketch, but still something worth noting. (Back when Superbad was released, who’d have thunk Michael Cera would end up with a regular gig on indie comedy staples like Childrens Hospital and Burning Love — while Hill would be the one hosting SNL once every few years and winning Oscar noms in his spare time?)
Hill’s new SNL promos do just that, making much out of his three-peat and, interestingly enough, mentioning the whole Best Supporting Actor thing just once. Maybe they’re saving all their best “two-time Academy Award nominee Jonah Hill” material for Saturday?
Kicking off Saturday Night Live‘s 2014 season was Drake, the one-time Canadian teen soap star who now spends his days singing and rapping with the best in the business. And as longtime SNL fans know, musical hosts can be tricky. Luckily for the show, Drake seemed to have picked up some comedic talent in all his years in Hollywood. In her recap, Hillary Busis was even tempted to give Drake the award for Cast MVP by the end of the night, noting how “he played a main role in every single sketch tonight … and was so charming that I’m already counting down the days until he comes back for a second round.”
But the question remains: Was Drake funny enough to go up against the best hosts this season’s had to offer? Or perhaps the better question is: Was Drake funny enough to go up against Jimmy Fallon? The late-night host dominated our last poll with 60 percent of the vote, followed by Josh Hutcherson, who continues to garner support with 32 percent of the vote. The bottom three all earned less than 5 percent of the vote, with Kerry Washington in third, and Paul Rudd in fourth, thereby knocking John Goodman out of the competition (by only .31 percent).
Even after 38 and a half seasons, SNL still has the capacity to surprise. Yesterday, I assumed that 2014’s first episode would make some noise about new featured player Sasheer Zamata; given the show’s unusually public search for black female talent, fanfare or at least a formal introduction seemed likely.
But in the end, SNL decided to go a more matter-of-fact route: Zamata wasn’t set apart from the rest of the cast. Instead, she was simply and easily integrated into the show, appearing in no fewer than five sketches throughout the episode. And though Sasheer certainly got more screen time than the average featured player — blink and you’ll miss Brooks Wheelan and John Milhiser each week — she was never given the responsibility of carrying an entire sketch, which may have been too much for her very first show. All in all, I’m glad SNL defied my expectations and took a subtler approach; this seems like the best way to gradually end the conversation about Sasheer Zamata, Black Lady Comedian, and move toward a world where she’s just another part of the group.
Another reason SNL was smart not to make the night all about Sasheer (or its other new additions, SNL writers LaKendra Tookes and Leslie Jones): We got more time to spend with Drake. And Drake was really, really great. Especially in the night’s…