If you want to avoid spoilers for tonight’s episode of SNL, you might want to stop reading this post right about… now.
If you don’t want to avoid spoilers, you’ll be pleased to know that the show seems to be celebrating Timberlake’s fifth outing as host in a major way. Yesterday, Steve Martin tweeted a photo that gives a big hint about what’s in store for JT come 11:30 p.m.
So we’ve got Martin, Tom Hanks, Chevy Chase, and Paul Simon, all members of Saturday Night Live‘s illustrious Five-Timers Club (though Simon has technically only hosted four times); Martin Short, a three-time host who also works as a waiter in SNL‘s even more exclusive Platinum Lounge (for 12-time hosts only); Dan Aykroyd, an original Not Ready for Primetime Player who’s actually only hosted the show once, in 2003; and SNL‘s fearless leader Lorne Michaels. Judging from the background, the gang appears to be hanging out backstage at Studio 8H — and unless these guys just enjoy spending time together, chances are that all of them will drop in on SNL tonight. (Just one question: Where’s Alec Baldwin? Like Hanks, he’s currently working in a Broadway show, so he’s definitely in town; having Steve Martin’s fiercest hosting rival appear tonight as well seems like a no-brainer.)
More likely than not, Martin’s crew will cameo during Timberlake’s monologue — setting a high bar that may be tough for JT to meet again as the night goes on. Luckily, he’ll likely also have help from a few other ringers: Andy Samberg, who wouldn’t miss a chance to reunite with his “Dick in a Box” collaborator; Jay-Z, who should be on hand to rap his “Suit & Tie” verse in person, and Jimmy Fallon, provided he doesn’t decide that he’ll get his fill of Timberlake next week.
But much as I’m anticipating these “surprise” celebrity appearances — not to mention Timberlake’s inevitable fifth turn as a mascot in a goofy foam costume — and another installment of the Barry Gibb Talk Show (which may or may not happen, considering Robin Gibb’s semi-recent death), the thing I’m really looking forward to is seeing a sketch (or two, or three) that does something new, different, and unexpected. An occasion like this certainly calls for cameos and callbacks, but like a shark or a relationship, SNL can’t survive unless it keeps swimming forward. Let’s hope that Timberlake’s presence inspires the show’s writers to push themselves, rather than just bring in Steve Martin and call it a day. (That said, even the “bringing in Steve Martin” option would probably lead to some great comedy.)
What are you most looking forward to seeing on SNL tonight? How high are your expectations for Timberlake’s fifth time as host — this high, or thiiiiis high? And do you think the show will be funny enough to make up for losing an hour of sleep tonight? Bring your thoughts on down to the comments, and check back tomorrow morning for a full recap of the show.