You didn’t have to be a Game of Thrones nerd to appreciate Peter Dinklage as guest host of Saturday Night Live. Long before he became best known as Tyrion Lannister on the smash HBO show, he was already a favorite for his starring role in Tom McCarthy’s The Station Agent, playing Richard III on the stage, and cameoing as the pugnacious author who tackled Will Ferrell in Elf. But if you stayed up late for a Station Agent sketch (or, god forbid, some reference to Living in Oblivion), you were watching the wrong show. Because Game of Thrones returns April 24, and Bobby Moynihan had his best dragons and George R.R. Martin impressions at the ready.
Not that Dinklage minded. After all, Lannister is the role that’s given him everything: fame, critical praise, and presumably some fortune. He was more than willing to let the show’s writers indulge their GoT fandom, beginning with the monologue. Unfortunately, his two other Thrones-related bits were better showcases for Moynihan and Leslie Jones, respectively, though his bewildered performance in the naked wild with Jones was a treat.
“Space Pants,” though, was one of those coulda-been-awful sketches that was actually inspired because the host was so committed. (I’ll be singing “Space Pants” for years.) The only other part from the show that could’ve topped it would’ve been the initial pitch for “Trendy Restaurant.” Did that sketch work? Maybe not. Did I love that it existed and that somebody on the writing staff wagered their future on getting Lorne Michaels to ponder the comic potential and limitations of glory holes? Absolutely.
It’s April, so the best hosts have begun to rise after 15 episodes. Ariana Grande was a popular first-time choice after her recent appearance, and the rest of the field are proven performers. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler look like they’ll be in the final quintet when the season winds down, and Larry David and Melissa McCarthy are fighting to stay alive after several weeks in the top three.
Ariana Grande 58% (—)
Tina Fey & Amy Poehler 21% (-8 pts)
Larry David 8% (-16)
Melissa McCarthy 7% (-14)
Adam Driver 6% (-9)
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 Adam Driver, Jonah Hill, Ryan Gosling, Ronda Rousey, Amy Schumer, Chris Hemsworth, Tracy Morgan, Matthew McConaughey, Elizabeth Banks, Miley Cyrus, and Donald Trump.
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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 Russell Crowe on April 9. Ultimately, we’ll dismiss the less memorable hosts and crown a new Mr. or Ms. Saturday Night in May. Watch and vote below.