Watching “Santa Baby,” my favorite sketch from the weekend’s Saturday Night Live, reminded me of something Steve Carell likes to say about comedy: A character is not aware that he’s the dolt in a comedy, so playing him completely straight and invested in the seriousness of his lunacy can often be the best kind of funny.
Ryan Gosling knows Carell well, working with him in Crazy, Stupid, Love, and the upcoming Wall Street movie, The Big Short. Maybe Carell rubbed off on him, or maybe Gosling is just preternaturally gifted in every genre. But when he confronted Beck Bennett’s confused host about the jolly ol’ saint hiding upstairs, he won the night. And the rest of his sketches demonstrated a deft comic touch — he even seemed to know how to break on screen like a natural.
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Gosling might get high marks, but he faces a challenging quartet in the current voting for best host of the still-young season. Amy Schumer’s show was one of the best, and her steady support has her in first place. Matthew McConaughey debuted in second place, but his 31 percent showing isn’t the kind of debut that typically lasts for more than a couple of weeks. Elizabeth Banks and Tracy Morgan were solid performers for third and fourth place, but the competitiveness of this week’s vote means one of them might be at risk of being eliminated. On the plus side, voters agreed that Donald Trump wasn’t worth keeping around. He might be our president some day, but he will not wear the crown of Mr. Saturday Night this year. (Thank you, voters.)
Amy Schumer 32.4% (-5 pts)
Matthew McConaughey 31.0 (—)
Elizabeth Banks 16.8% (-5)
Tracy Morgan 15.0% (-8)
Donald Trump 4.8% (-8)
Our rules are simple: Who was the best, most memorable SNL host this season? More specifically, who do you hope gets invited back next year? Whose show had your boss, your mom, and your roommate still giggling on Monday morning? It’s subjective, of course, but let’s reward the guest hosts who brought something special to the table. So far, we’ve eliminated Trump and Miley Cyrus.
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Below, see one representative clip from each of the five hosts, just as a small taste of their recent performances. You’re not voting on this one sketch alone; be sure to consider the entire episode. Make your pick below, and the host with the least support will be eliminated; the other four will advance to compete against Chris Hemsworth on Dec. 12. Ultimately, we’ll dismiss the less memorable hosts and crown a new Mr. or Mrs. Saturday Night in May. Watch and vote below.