In the pantheon of Saturday Night Live performers, Will Ferrell is one of the all-time greats. Yes, I know, I know, the show hasn’t been funny since 1978… blah, blah, blah. But Ferrell’s seven-season stretch from 1995 to 2002 was one of the most brilliant runs in the show’s history. Saturday’s appearance was his third time back as host, since leaving to star in films like Elf and Old School, and fans were expecting great things. The results… were mixed.
With only one show remaining, Ferrell was positioned to seize control of our season-long competition to determine SNL‘s best host. Jimmy Fallon and Melissa McCarthy have been resting in the clubhouse for weeks, waiting for the final hosts to perform. A huge show may have put Ferrell over the top, but I think he left the door open. (Not enough cow bell?)
It will be interesting to see what the voters think. Fallon continues to lead in our most recent poll with 35.6 percent of the vote, while Daniel Radcliffe held on to second place with 23.2 percent. Melissa McCarthy was steady at 21.5 percent. Somewhat surprisingly, Eli Manning took a chunk out of everyone’s totals and debuted with a respectable 15.5 percent, meaning that Sofia Vergara was eliminated after scoring only 4.3 percent.
Below, I’ve embedded one clip for each of the five remaining hosts, as reminders of their recent performances. Several readers have pointed out that some of the hosts — like Ferrell, Fallon, and Maya Rudolph — have a distinct advantage since they are veterans of the show. No doubt their previous late-night experiences help and their talents are ideally suited for SNL. But good for us, right? I mean, if every SNL veteran was as successful in his or her return as Fallon was, I’d be happy to welcome them back every week. My rule of thumb remains: “Do I want to see them come back and host again next season?” Fallon? Absolutely? Rudolph? Yes. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler? Of course. Maybe some others… Less so. And kudos to the first-timers, like Melissa McCarthy, who’ve elbowed their way into the picture.
So let’s vote: The four top vote getters will advance to what is essentially the finals, competing against Mick Jagger in next Saturday’s season finale for the crown of Saturday Night Liveliest host. (You know they’re nervous.) Watch and vote below.