Okay, so maybe the Keatonaissance hit a snag when the Birdman star failed to win a Best Actor Oscar this past February. Still, it’s pretty exciting to watch Michael Keaton emerge from the shadows of “hey, whatever happened to Michael Keaton?”—and it’s especially exciting to imagine what we’ll see he returns to Studio 8H, a place Keaton hasn’t set foot in since the George H.W. Bush administration. (Batman Returns had hit theaters just a few months before he last hosted the show. My, how the times have changed.)
Why? Because as funny as the Hollywood Foreign Press may have found Birdman, Keaton’s big comeback movie was far from a straight comedy. Keaton hasn’t starred in one of those in years, though he has had small roles in laughers like 2010’s The Other Guys and Toy Story 3 (yes, he voiced a Ken doll) and the 100th episode of 30 Rock. As he pointed out during his last SNL monologue, though, Keaton got his start in standup—which makes tonight a homecoming of sorts. Will he use it as an opportunity to call back to his most famous comic roles—Beetlejuice, Johnny Dangerously, Mr. Mom?
Maybe not. But I do expect Keaton to be a loose, kinetic host, the kind who’s up for anything—especially self-parody. It may be a little late for Birdman jokes, considering everyone (including Sesame Street!) has already mined that particular vein… but if SNL can come at the movie from a new angle, it may be able to strike gold. And even without a Birdman parody, the show will have no shortage of material to draw from—including Keaton’s career arc, Indiana’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Passover, Easter, and the sheer critical mass of weird entertainment stories that broke this week. (A sampling: There’s gonna be a Play-Doh movie! There’s gonna be a Hunger Games theme park! There’s gonna be a Lifetime movie that parodies Lifetime movies starring Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell… unless there isn’t!)
Another thing we should probably expect to see in at least one sketch tonight: Carly Rae Jepsen. The “Call Me Maybe” singer is more than a pop tart; she starred as Cinderella on Broadway for 12 weeks last spring, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see her debut SNL appearance go beyond the musical stage. I mean, the girl’s charming enough to convince Tom Hanks to star in her music video—can’t you see her leading the ladies of SNL in another “Do It On My Twin Bed”/”Dongs All Over the World”-esque song?
What are you hoping to see from SNL tonight—Birdman cast cameos? (Emma Stone, please.) An episode done all in one take? Keaton in Beetlejuice makeup? Discuss here, and come back in the morning for my full recap.