Last night, SNL newbie Jenny Slate was put in the unenviable position of picking up a character created by Michaela Watkins, a one-season castmember who was let go earlier this year. Watkins had carved out a niche for herself on the show with a spot-on impersonation of Today show anchor Hoda Kotb—the straight woman to Kristen Wiig’s boozy, bawdy Kathie Lee Gifford. But the sketch was revived yesterday with Slate in the role, a slightly jarring change to those of us accustomed to seeing Watkins in the chair next to Wiig.
My colleague Ken Tucker thought the sketch was pretty underwhelming and took pity on Slate for having to “compete with the memory of Watkins’ original impersonation and sit by while Wiig did mugging that wasn’t freshened with anything new.” I actually laughed a few times, but I agree that it feels like Slate’s got her work cut out for her if she wants to outshine Watkins. Check out the bit below, and then let us know: Do you miss the old Hoda? Or did Slate manage to make the character her own?