To be a truly great host on Saturday Night Live requires a multitude of skills that elude even some of our favorite stars. He or she needs to be fearless. A willingness to be, as Josh Brolin said this year in his SNL monologue, “career-endingly stupid.” On top of that, things have to go just right — even the most game guest is at the mercy of the show’s writers and ensemble and they’d be the first to admit that all their shows are not created equal. But as Seth Meyers has often said, the show often takes on the personality of the host. Lackluster sketches can be blamed on the writing sometimes, but drab material might also reflect the mood and enthusiasm of a tentative or distracted host during the week leading up to the show. So when everything comes together and Saturday Night Live delivers a show that has you snorting till Tuesday, well, the host deserves the lion’s share of the credit. Happy accidents don’t typically happen on SNL. There’s simply no place to hide. When the show is great, it’s because the host is, and that’s why we revere Tom Hanks and Justin Timberlake, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin. They make it look easy, but as we know from many other guest hosts, it’s not.
This year for the first time, EW.com readers have voted after every episode to determine who was the season’s best host. The most recent host was pitted against the four most popular previous hosts in a popular 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, but judging by our Final Five, the process performed reasonably well. Melissa McCarthy, Jimmy Fallon, Daniel Radcliffe, Will Ferrell, and Mick Jagger were all excellent hosts who boldly epitomized Brolin’s credo. McCarthy coated herself in ranch dressing, Radcliffe mocked Harry Potter, Mick deigned not to be so cool (and hence became even cooler).
Before we announce the inaugural winner of Mr. (or Mrs.) Saturday Night Live, though, there are three other non-democratic awards to present. READ FULL STORY »