For a 40-year old, Saturday Night Live is hanging tough. Sure, the show will never be as great as you remember it from when you were 18 (that’s impossible). But rather than have the TV equivalent of a mid-life crisis where it tries to recapture its glory days, SNL has stopped trying to find the Next Will or the Next Kristen and simply set loose a cast that’s turned out to be delightfully weird. The late-night staple seems wiser and savvier, too; this current group is getting better at what it does.
Such competence trickles down to the guest hosts, too — perhaps because they sense they’re in good hands. Several first-timers took the stage and knocked it out of the park throughout the season. In this year’s Mr. Saturday Night contest, four first-timers made it to the final, and that’s not counting some great episodes with Elizabeth Banks, Ryan Gosling, and Peter Dinklage. Those three, as well as 12 other hosts, were eliminated from our 5th annual Mr. Saturday Night contest, a weekly online poll that celebrated the best guests of the season. In its first four years, the final vote crowned Jimmy Fallon twice, Justin Timberlake, and Martin Freeman, and this year promised another SNL all-star.
But this year also could be barrier-breaking, in that we could crown our first Ms. Saturday Night. In previous seasons, Melissa McCarthy barely missed winning twice, and though she didn’t reach the final this year, Ariana Grande and the SNL superteam of Tina Fey & Amy Poehler turned out to be strong contenders. Their competition from the guys is season-long friend of the show Larry David, Drake, Russell Crowe, and season-finale host Fred Armisen. The banner above could be a clue about the final results — or maybe not.
But before we announce the 2016 winner, let’s take a quick giggle tour through the season’s best sketches. Saturday Night Live is famous for its compilations episodes, especially around the holidays. Here are 10 bits that are most likely to make the highlight reels.
“A Thanksgiving Miracle”
“Meet Your Second Wife”
“Bern Your Enthusiasm”
“First Got Horny 2 U”
“Farewell Mr. Bunting”
“Star Wars Undercover Boss: Starkiller Base”
And now, congratulations to the first-ever Ms. Saturday Night…
Date of episode: March 12, 2016
Number of times she’s hosted: 1
On the show to promote: Dangerous Woman
Musical guest: Ariana Grande
TV ratings: 4.0/10
Special guests: Larry David, Darrell Hammond
Ariana Grande: 55%
Russell Crowe: 19%
Tina Fey & Amy Poehler: 10%
Fred Armisen: 9%
Larry David: 5%
Grande led the weekly polls ever since she hosted in March, and she ran away with the title in the final vote. Several of her sketches made great use of her musical talent, but it was a spot-on impression of Jennifer Lawrence during “Celebrity Family Feud” that raised her to elite status. In a year where a woman could win the White House, the time seemed right for a female to break through here, too, Thanks again for voting throughout the year, and congratulations to Ariana Grande, Ms. Saturday Night 2016.