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Saturday Night Live: Is Brie Larson the season's best host?

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Dana Edelson/NBC

Brie Larson didn’t have a film to promote when she made her official Saturday Night Live debut. Kong: Skull Island—the action adventure co-starring Tim Hiddleston—is still almost a year away, so the closest peg to her Mother’s Day weekend episode was Room, a slightly but not altogether ironic Mother’s Day selection that could scar a person expecting a Garry Marshall rom-com.

Though Larson won the Academy Award for best actress for her performance in Room, she’s hardly a dramatic snob; she played Jonah Hill’s love interest in 21 Jump Street and Amy Schumer’s more grounded sister in Trainwreck. So she’s cool. And cool can go a long way on SNL. Her episode didn’t exactly establish her as a comic dynamo, often casting her as the straight person in sketches that let the cast shine, but it was solid. In skits like “Game of Thrones: Jon Snow” and “Baby Shower,” I couldn’t help but wish the writers had given her more to do, because she seemed game. Wasn’t there a Room sketch in there somewhere?

This election cycle is still shaping up to be historic, with five female names on the most recent ballot for best host, raising the odds that we’ll crown our first Ms. Saturday Night. But the lame-stream media (i.e., me) better not shortchange Russell Crowe, the lone male still in the race. After the last episode, some idiot (i.e., me) speculated that The Nice Guys actor was at risk of elimination after an underwhelming second-place debut. But Crowe’s fans responded, and rather than plummet, his numbers held steady for another second-place finish. The only host ahead of him was Ariana Grande, who hasn’t slipped a bit since doubling as host and musical guest. Julia Louis-Dreyfus got off to a less promising start, as she finished a distant third in her first poll. The superteam of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler slumped only slightly, but still held on to advance another week, leaving Larry David on the outside looking in. Too bad: David not only was an excellent host, but his frequent appearances as Bernie Sanders have been a highlight of the season.

Previous vote:

Ariana Grande                   38% (+0 pt)

Russell Crowe                   26% (-3)

Julia Louis-Dreyfus            19% (—)

Tina Fey & Amy Poehler    11% (-2)

Larry David                          6% (-7)

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 David, Peter Dinklage, Melissa McCarthy, 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 Drake on May 14. Ultimately, we’ll dismiss the less memorable hosts and crown a new Mr. or Ms. Saturday Night in May. Watch and vote below.

Ariana Grande

Russell Crowe

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Brie Larson

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