Will the odds be in Woody Harrelson’s favor when he hosts Saturday Night Live tonight? Let’s examine the evidence.
Pro: He has hosted the show twice before (and did a cameo in host Kirstie Alley’s monologue back in ’91, along with the rest of the Cheers gang), so he understands what’s expected of him and should be fairly comfortable coming back to Studio 8H. Con: He hasn’t hosted since the Bush administration. The first Bush administration.
Harrelson’s last SNL stint began with a cold open about Johnny Carson leaving The Tonight Show; characters appearing on the episode included Adam Sandler’s Opera Man and a Rob Schneider invention called “Jeff, the Sensitive Naked Man.” Harrelson’s big sketch revolved around his boyish good looks and perfectly sculpted chest. Another ended with a Rodney King joke. In short: It was a different time.
Then again, maybe that gap will work to Harrelson’s advantage. In the 23 (!) years that have passed since he last graced the SNL stage, Harrelson’s gone from sitcom stud to Oscar-nominated Serious Actor. These days, he’s known better as the world-weary dude from True Detective and the Hunger Games franchise than a comically innocent dimbulb, as he was back in his Woody Boyd days. As a result, we’ve all sort of forgotten just how funny Harrelson can be. I mean:
So hosting SNL after more than two decades away will give the Mockingjay star a chance to return to his roots, an exciting prospect for anyone who has missed seeing his lighter side. That said, Harrelson’s comic persona was always more low-key than high energy, which may mean it’ll be difficult to build a sketch show around him. It’s easy to imagine a scenario in which Harrelson ends up playing the straight man to the cast’s more outsized characters all night—and that scenario could work well, if the writing is up to snuff. Mainly, though, I’m just disappointed that the show already covered Matthew McConaughey’s goofy Lincoln commercials; it would’ve been a real treat to see Harrelson cast as his True Detective counterpart in a spoof. (Maybe the Interstellar star, who hasn’t been on SNL since hosting in 2003, will drop by for a cameo tonight? A girl can dream, can’t she? It may be more likely that we’ll see Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, or Liam Hemsworth, all of whom were promoting Mockingjay in New York this week.)
On the musical stage tonight, we have Kendrick Lamar, making his third SNL appearance in just two years. (He first served as the show’s musical guest in 2013, with host Adam Levine; he also dropped by to slay “Radioactive” with Imagine Dragons way back in February.) It must be tough to be the guy who has to follow Prince’s psychedelic freakout of a jam session, but Kendrick could be the only person in music confident enough to pull that off. Especially if he can persuade Taylor Swift to drop by for a surprise duet.
What are you hoping to see on Saturday Night Live tonight, besides another peek at Funny Woody Harrelson? Do you think the show’s inevitable Hunger Games sketch will be better than the last couple? (SNL just hasn’t figured out how to skewer this franchise yet, which is ridiculous, because there are so many things about The Hunger Games begging to be parodied.) How do you think SNL‘s going to tackle Interstellar, or True Detective, or Kim Kardashian’s ass, or whatever else has happened between the Chris Rock episode and tonight? And finally, just how mad do you think Kyle Mooney is that he didn’t think of “Too Many Cooks” first?
Discuss below, and check back in the morning for a full recap.