SNL best-host poll: Can Reese Witherspoon hold off the field to become the first Ms. Saturday Night?
Mother’s Day weekend was kind to Reese Witherspoon on Saturday Night Live (if not the box office). The Hot Pursuit star returned to Studio 8H for the first time since the show’s memorable post-9/11 episode, and even if the episode didn’t introduce any instant-classic sketches, she seemed likeable and game and willing to be part of the ensemble. She even had fun playing a flatulant D-level talk-show host, and was Cecily Strong’s equal as the kind of girl you’d hate to start a conversation with at a party.
Even if Witherspoon wasn’t the absolute greatest, most dynamic host of the year, she’ll likely qualify for the final vote of our Mr. Saturday Night contest since it’s rare that the most recent host doesn’t start out in first place—much less finish last. (That said, going last or second to last doesn’t guarantee anything either…) But she enters a race that is tighter than it’s been all season. Scarlett Johansson rode the wave of her recent appearance to a 40.8 percent first-place debut—nice, but not dominant. The two contenders to watch might be Bill Hader and Dwayne Johnson, who both saw their numbers rise and have to be considered co-favorites to take the crown. Michael Keaton is in fourth, but he could still make the final if his fans turn out and vote. Taraji P. Henson was brusquely eliminated, plummeting 43 points in her second week. But… there’s still hope for her… and all the other axed hosts from this season. (See below.)
Scarlett Johansson 40.8% (—)
Dwayne Johnson 19.1% (+5)
Bill Hader 16.0% (+7)
Michael Keaton 12.3% (-3)
Taraji P. Henson 12.0% (-43)
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 hilarious episode enjoyed multiple viewings on your DVR? 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 voted off Sarah Silverman, Chris Rock, Chris Pratt, Cameron Diaz, Woody Harrelson, James Franco, Amy Adams, Jim Carrey, Kevin Hart, J.K. Simmons, Blake Shelton, Dakota Johnson, Chris Hemsworth, Martin Freeman, and Henson.
Below, watch 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 the finals to compete against Louis CK after the season finale. Ultimately, we’ll dismiss the less memorable hosts and crown a new Mr. or Mrs. Saturday Night.
And if, by chance, your top choice has already been eliminated, take heart! Later this week, we’ll have a special second-chance poll where every host who didn’t make the cut has one last chance to qualify for the final. Still upset that democracy failed Martin Freeman or Jim Carrey? You’re in luck. Check back in later this week to vote again and resurrect your favorite from exile.