Melissa McCarthy has already proven herself. She won our hearts on Gilmore Girls, turned Mike & Molly into something actually worth watching, and broke through on film in the mega 2011 hit Bridesmaids.
Best of all, she showed herself to be a capable and nimble host the last time she stopped by SNL. In 2011, McCarthy’s first night at the rodeo won critical praise and high ratings. It may have spiked Hidden Valley’s salad dressing sales as well. (Er, maybe not.) This time around, she comes to the show as an even bigger star: McCarthy has both The Hangover III and a big movie with Sandra Bullock (The Heat) out this summer, she’s supposedly snagged the female lead in the Oscar-ready dramedy St. Vincent de Van Nuys, and she’s starting production on her directorial debut, Tammy — a film McCarthy also wrote (with husband Ben Falcone, who’s co-directing as well). Oh, and did I mention she’s starring in that one too?
Does McCarthy’s increased celebrity mean she may not be as fearless and game as she was when she hosted just two years ago? Hopefully not — but I do hope that it may mean she won’t feel obligated to stick with sketches that depend on vulgarity or jokes about her weight for laughs. As my colleague Lindsey Bahr wrote in February, McCarthy has every right to use her physicality as an advantage — “but it doesn’t have to be her whole act.” Sketches that step away from the raunchy mold McCarthy’s increasingly been caught in will show off her versatility… and if she does hope to snag another Oscar nomination someday, showing versatility on screens big and small will be key.
Also on deck tonight: Phoenix, the bouncy French alt-rock band that made its last trip to Studio 8H in April 2009. (Their last appearance on SNL was nearly four years ago today — spooky!) I don’t have much to to say about this except that Phoenix is great, and that I hope they’ll drop their instruments for a surprise “Les Jeunes de Paris” sketch.
What are you hoping to see on Saturday Night Live this week? (Fingers crossed for a Kristen Wiig cameo!) And how do you think McCarthy’s second outing will compare to her first — or to Justin Timberlake’s season-high episode last month? Talk amongst yourselves — and check back tomorrow morning for our full recap.