The Saturday Night Live Christmas show is always a spectacular, almost in the Radio City Music Hall sense of the word. Martin Short and Paul McCartney shepherded a team of celebs who helped make the last episode of 2012 joyful and triumphant. Alec Baldwin and Sam Jackson chimed in, and there were cameos from Tina Fey and Kristen Wiig, Tom Hanks and Jimmy Fallon. It’s SNL‘s version of those SportsCenter commercials, where all your favorite funny people just happen to hang at Studio 8H.
As someone who was weaned on SNL during Short’s brief tenure back in 1984 (and later fell back in love with his comedy during his Jiminy Glick phase), I greatly enjoyed his monologue and sketches — and wish he had done even more. Larry David isn’t impossible to imitate, but his version of the HBO curmudgeon set in Charlie Brown’s world was an all-timer in my book.
Short now enters a race that has never been more competitive. Less than six percentage points separated first from last place, meaning that Louis C.K. was eliminated despite earning more than 17 percent of the vote. Anne Hathaway narrowly won the week, as her support inched up to 22.9 percent. Seth MacFarlane was the biggest gainer, going from 11.9 to 21.3 percent this week, tying newcomer Jamie Foxx for second. Jeremy Renner slipped dramatically from his 46 percent debut, but he held off C.K. to stay alive for 2013.
It’s worth a reminder, since there will inevitably be commenters who blame yours truly for Louis C.K.’s ouster (or Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s), just as they did last year when Maya Rudolph didn’t make the final cut, that this is a purely democratic enterprise. So be sure to vote early and, well, early, so that your choice doesn’t get overlooked. Our rules remain simple: Who was the best SNL host?
Objectivity is impossible, so it’s up to you to grade by your own criteria. I would argue, though, that the best hosts seem not only to fit in well with the cast, but actually bring something original to the table. You know, like Louis C.K. did — I hate democracy!
Below, I’ve embedded one clip for each of the five hosts, just as a reminder of their recent performances. After the vote, the host with the least support will be eliminated, and the other four will advance to compete against Jennifer Lawrence on Jan. 19. Ultimately, we’ll discard every host but one, and crown a new Mr. or Mrs. Saturday Night. Watch and vote below.