It doesn’t matter whether it’s an Oscar-winning actor or an athlete with no comedy experience – if you’re willing to unapologetically look like an idiot on live television, chances are you’re going to be a good SNL host. First-timers can go either way; in Louis C.K.’s case it’s blowing a ram horn while yelling “ZOOOOG!” but for greener hosts like Kevin Hart, the heat of the experience can result in too many flubbed lines and nervous asides that chip away at an episode’s momentum. As religious SNL fans, we kept that in mind while brainstorming which newbie hosts we’d be most excited to see grace the 8H stage.
Like yesterday’s list, we gave ourselves some guidelines. Firstly, we wanted to present a good mix of predictably funny hosts versus a few wildcards who we’re curious to see put to the test. And instead of avoiding obvious picks across the board, we decided to leave recent cast members out of the running since former players are already attuned to the show’s format (and let’s face it, upcoming Wiig and Samberg episodes are inevitable anyway). With those rules in mind, here are 10 people we’d love to see host SNL for the first time, from real and fake news anchors to long overdue comedy stars to Mrs. Obama herself. Start your online petitions now.
Will Arnett. It’s hard to believe that Arnett hasn’t hosted yet considering he’s shown up in the work of Tina Fey, Will Ferrell, and former SNL writer Emily Spivey, not to mention his marriage – both on Arrested Development and in real life – to Amy Poehler. Up All Night may have taken an unfortunate turn over the last few months, but with the release of AD on Netflix come May, Arnett will finally be back in his best comedic element – playing our favorite fatally insecure and narcissistic Segway-riding older brother/amateur magician – and it’d be the perfect time for him to take his turn as SNL host.
Anderson Cooper. Like SNL, Anderson Cooper is an American treasure, and we’ve seen through Brian Williams that news anchors can be some of the funniest and most easygoing hosts. Whether he’s reporting dangerous on-the-scene world news or serving as Kathy Griffin’s comedic foil on New Year’s Eve, Cooper has enough steely nerve, in-the-moment deadpan, versatility, and live TV experience to make a potentially awesome SNL host and possibly even give Brian Williams a run for his money.
Philip Seymour Hoffman. While perhaps better known for his dramatic roles, there exist few more versatile, more convincing, or more prolific character actors in the business than Philip Seymour Hoffman. And if we learned anything from Jon Hamm, Alec Baldwin, Christopher Walken and most recently Christoph Waltz, it’s that dramatic character actors make superb SNL hosts. The man is a machine, churning out Oscar-worthy performances year after year, yet considering the wrinkled polos and jeans he wears to red carpet events, he seems like a pretty chill guy. We’d like to see him host SNL if for nothing else than to see him whip out his Truman Capote impression, or to say the word “sharted” one more time.
Chloe Grace Moretz. Teenage hosts can be hit-or-miss on SNL, but Chloe Grace Moretz has proven through Kick-Ass and 30 Rock that she knows how to hold her ground against her adult colleagues with a biting delivery that seems impossible for a 16-year-old to have already mastered. It’s only a matter of time before she does the same on SNL, and with the Carrie remake premiering in October, our money’s on Moretz as SNL’s 2013 Halloween episode host.
Jordan Peele & Keegan-Michael Key. SNL has featured duo hosts before – in the 2004-05 season, there were episodes hosted by Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey, as well as one hosted by the Olsen twins. What excites us about Key & Peele is that not only are they talented up-and-coming comedy stars with great chemistry – and ones who have experience on Mad TV and who both auditioned for SNL – but the pair is reviving TV sketch comedy on their Comedy Central show in ways that SNL could really benefit from. Their finely-tuned character work will make them right at home on SNL, and their familiarity with game and the heightening of patterns could result in some interesting material coming from the darker, more subversive corners of the SNL writers room.
Craig Ferguson. Sure, there are probably lots of boring legal reasons why a late-night CBS talk show host has a slim chance of hosting SNL, but maybe now that NBC’s not even close to competing against CBS in the ratings, both parties can make an exception for Ferguson. He has all the ingredients needed for a great host – extensive sketch and stand-up experience, an ego-free attitude, and a thick Scottish brogue.
Christina Hendricks. Mad Men’s sixth season premieres next month, and while we’d gladly welcome another Jon Hamm episode, it’d be interesting to see Christina Hendricks deliver in the live sketch comedy format. Hendricks hasn’t been given many opportunities to give comedy a shot, so here’s hoping her episode would be more like Hamm’s game for super deadpan brilliance than January Jones’ robotic buzzkill clotheshorse.
Nick Offerman. Come on, what site do you think you’re reading? In all seriousness, what a delight it would be to see Nick Offerman host SNL. In the same way that it’s fun to see a game-faced athlete, stiff politician, or dramatic actor loosen up by hosting the show, discovering the endless layers of Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation – libertarian bureaucrat, Hemingway outdoorsman, jazz saxophonist Duke Silver, the savage playboy to Tammy 2, the whipped child to Tammy 1, and whatever the hell is going on here – has produced the series’ biggest thrills. The difference between Offerman and those other all-business types is that he’s actually a gifted comedic actor, one we hope NBC decides to give more exposure with an SNL hosting gig.
Michelle Obama. After John McCain and Al Gore, we’re waiting for the next great political figure to host the show. Current and former presidents are too politically charged, and while we’d love to see Joe Biden or Hillary Clinton, their personalities might just be too big for the show. Michelle Obama, however, seems like a perfect fit: well known, universally revered (except by obese children), relevant, and positioned at the political epicenter, but seemingly uninfluenced by it. In the past year, the first lady has emerged as a go-to subject for comedians – whether it’s her crusade against America’s fat kids, her hair and fashion choices, or simply as the no-nonsense wife to the commander in chief. Dancing with Jimmy Fallon on Late Night and reading off the Best Picture winner at the Oscars might be a signal she’s ready to step more into the spotlight.
Stephen Colbert. Of all the people on this list, Stephen Colbert’s SNL virginity is perhaps the most baffling. He just has too many ins not to have hosted. All the other major Daily Show names have held the post (Jon Stewart, Steve Carell, Ed Helms), and Colbert and Carell even contributed their voices to the Ambiguously Gay Duo shorts. Perhaps the comedy star’s shtick is too meta, and producers worry Stephen Colbert the character might be an awkward fit. Still, it would be fascinating to see Colbert let his guard down and show off his Second City-honed sketch comedy chops, as well as to see how he would contextualize the stint in his Colbert Report universe.
Who did we forget? Let us know in the comment section! And before you yell at us for snubbing Lena Dunham, we ask that you think long and hard about how awkward of a host she would actually be, and that you then instead yell at us for snubbing Andrew Rannells. Seriously, what were we thinking.
For another wishlist of SNL hosts, check out 10 SNL Hosts We’d Like to See Again.
Megh Wright misses Harrisburg, lives in Brooklyn, and answers phones in Manhattan.