‘SNL’ requires better selection for hosts
February 19, 2013
On Saturday, Christoph Waltz hosted what was probably the best episode of “Saturday Night Live” in quite some time. Waltz was sharp and quick on his feet, working with some decent sketches — including the Tarantino lampoon, “Djesus Uncrossed” and the “What Have You Become Game Show” — and turning them into instant classics. Anyone watching could tell that Waltz was enjoying himself, but his performance raises an important question: what makes the perfect “SNL” host?
To host “SNL,” one must be charismatic without being cocky. The host has to have an energy that drives his performance through the entire night. He has to be able to make fun of himself while also making sure to never cross the line from appropriate to inappropriate humor. And, most importantly, the host has to be funny.
Recently, the show has become known for choosing its hosts based on whichever famous actors have films being released in the coming weeks. While this strategy makes sense, it has definitely delivered some of the season’s weaker episodes. Daniel Craig, Jennifer Lawrence and Jeremy Renner are all fine actors, but their performances on “SNL” have faced the wrath of Internet bloggers and manic tweeters alike. Some blame lies with the hosts themselves, and some lies with the material they have to work with. Whatever the case may be, “SNL” should rethink its obsession with name-brand celebrities.
The deciding factor of whether or not an episode of “SNL” is enjoyable is not necessarily the host but the sketches. While Justin Bieber may have been chosen to lasso the fangirl audience, hosts like Bieber can produce good episodes if the sketches are funny and well-written. The hilarious material of the sketches themselves counteracted Bieber’s emotionless delivery in his monologue and sketches. It all depends on the combination of host and material.
For months, fans have been rallying online for personalities like Donald Glover, Max Greenfield, Ryan Gosling and Dave Grohl to host the show. It would be great to see Gosling and Grohl flex their comedic muscles, and Glover and Greenfield have already had experience in comedy on “Community” and “New Girl,” respectively. Glover and Grohl could even take duties as both host and musical guest. These four celebrities have the right combination of enthusiasm and humor needed to host “SNL.”
Ultimately, the best “SNL” hosts are usually the ones who give it their all, like Justin Timberlake, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken, Emma Stone and Alec Baldwin. The list goes on and on, with Waltz being the most recent addition. But it seems that there’s nothing better than seeing a past cast member hosting. Your move, Tina Fey.
Jeremy Pick is a contributing writer. Email him at [email protected]