SUNDAY UPDATE: Click over to read Hillary Busis’ full recap of Sarah Silverman’s episode as SNL host.
ORIGINAL POST: The perfect way to wind down after Yom Kippur? By watching an episode of SNL that features two famous Members of the Tribe, of course. (And, you know, the other guys in Maroon 5.)
Count on host Sarah Silverman to bring up her Jewish heritage early and often when she takes the stage for the first time as host tonight. You can also expect her to focus her monologue on two facts: One, that Silverman was a writer and featured player on this very show during the 1993-1994 season, and two, that she had a fairly terrible time on SNL. Silverman barely got any sketches on the air, had to wear an ape mask for 12 hours for a Planet of the Apes sketch, stabbed Al Franken in the head with a pencil one time, and reportedly found out that she was being let go from the show via fax. She’s not even mentioned in Live from New York, James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales’ exhaustive oral history of SNL.
However! A lot has changed since 1994. SNL, which was famously dysfunctional and hostile (especially for its female cast members) in the mid-’90s, has become a kinder, gentler, more lady-friendly place. And Silverman, whose SNL run was over in the blink of an eye, has spent the past 20 years becoming one of the world’s most notorious and beloved comedians. From her standup specials to The Sarah Silverman Program to “I’m F–king Matt Damon” (man, remember “I’m F–king Matt Damon”?), Silverman has carved out a niche for herself: She’s outrageous, edgy, and unapologetic, but she says the crazy things she says with the voice of a precocious 10-year-old and the face of the quiet girl in your Hebrew School class.
Granted, Silverman has branched out from this persona in recent years, thanks to legitimate acting roles in projects like Masters of Sex and family-friendly fare like Wreck-It Ralph. Still, I’d be shocked if she escapes the evening without being bleeped (you know NBC’s censors have this particular show on a three-second delay), or without telling at least one joke that has you both laughing and clutching your face in horror. (Another reason this will probably happen: On Late Night with Seth Meyers Thursday, Silverman let slip that she got SNL stalwart and “Ambiguously Gay Duo” creator Robert Smigel to write some material for her this week.)
Also on tap: Maroon 5 and, more specifically, Adam Levine, a performer charismatic enough to win his own SNL hosting gig in 2013. That pedigree means Levine’s a sure bet to appear in at least one sketch—maybe even another one that brings back the guys of The Lonely Island. Wait, brilliant idea: This is the perfect opportunity for SNL to stage the Lonely Island/Good Neighbor throwdown we’ve all been anticipating since Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett appeared in their first pretaped sketch. We all know who’d win in that battle r0yale… right?
What else are you hoping to see from Silverman, Levine, and maybe one of the other Maroon 5 dudes in tonight’s show? Shall we place bets on how many times Silverman will say the word “vagina”? And how tasteless will the inevitable Ebola sketch be? So tasteless? I’d expect nothing less.
Talk amongst yourselves, and check back in the morning for my full SNL recap.