Depending on your perspective, Blake Lively is either best known for starring on what our siblings over at Daily Intel refer to as The Greatest Show of Our Time or for her unparalleled ability to still look classy while seemingly never wearing a bra. However, one thing that Blake Lively is not really known for is her comedic ability. That’s not to say that she has none, only that with the exception of a few zingers when she co-starred alongside Justin Long in Accepted, she’s never really had the opportunity to strut her stuff. Well, all that changed when she got a chance to host Saturday Night Live last night. So how did she do?
From the moment that she strode out on the stage of Studio 8H to deliver her monologue, Lively seemed committed to compensating for either her nerves or lack of chops by flaunting her considerable assets. In fact, of the seven sketches that she appeared in throughout the course of the night, there were only two, “Ladies’ Bowling” and “Potato Chip,” in which she didn’t put either her tits or ass on display (although, in the former, she did grind her crotch mock-seductively over an air dryer at a bowling alley). Not that we’re complaining, mind you, it’s just that it’s been a long while (maybe Lindsay Lohan’s famous Harry Potter sketch?) since we’ve seen a guest host rely so heavily on their sexuality as a means of delivering their material. Take, for example, the following ten seconds of her performance as Virginiaca’s slutty, pantless, mall-rat daughter:
Okay, we’re not exactly saying that was sexy, per se, but we were in a mall as recently as Friday night and didn’t see a single solitary soul sans pantaloons, that’s all.
That said, Lively didn’t rely solely on her sexuality throughout the course of the evening. As expected, the writers of the show penned a Gossip Girl sketch that would allow Lively to shine. Only this time around, instead of setting the show on the Upper East Side, they set the show in Staten Island:
A few things about this sketch surprised us. First, in light of the sheer volume of “friggins” that the cast used, it was somewhat shocking not to see resident SNL bad girl Jenny Slate make an appearance; are we to assume that Lorne Michaels has trust issues with Slate and fears that she can’t hold her tongue on live television? We see no other reason why she wouldn’t be in this sketch. Second, we wonder if the people at SNL are aware that MTV is, at this very moment, developing a show based on the lives of young people in Staten Island? (Though, in the wake of Jersey Shore’s success, it remains to be seen what the network will do with it.) Third, Lively’s portrayal of Chandelier was actually pretty funny in this sketch (though it didn’t reach the heights of Scarlett Johannson’s Jersey-flavored “Chandeliers” sketch from Season 31)!
Sadly for Lively, this sketch was pretty much the highlight of her evening. Although she was competent in everything she appeared in (unlike the dreadful January Jones), she didn’t manage to elevate the level of anything that she appeared in to the kinds of comedic heights that, say, Taylor Swift reached a few weeks back. In fact, when you compare her best work to the effort that Rihanna turned in in the “Shy Ronnie” digital short, one would think that Rihanna was the professional actress, not Lively:
Rihanna has caught a lot of shit over the years for being an emotionless robot when it comes to her singing (and that sentiment was not changed during either of her mostly staid performances), but in this sketch, she proved herself to be a more than capable comedic accessory (if not quite the next Anna Faris or anything).
While most of the episode rode along at a fairly average level as compared to recent seasons of SNL, there was one delightfully absurd moment to close the show. In it, Jason Sudeikis played a Colonel Sanders type with an insatiable appetite for potato chips and whose one goal in life was to become an astronaut. Only before he could “dance around the moon in a puffy suit,” he had to pass an interview with a NASA agent, portrayed by Will Forte. As you might expect, things go horribly awry for Sudeikis when Forte leaves him alone in a room with a bowl of potato chips:
While we can’t exactly say that this skit was a pinnacle moment for this season, there are few things that delight us more than seeing the masterful Will Forte lose his shit in front of a live audience (see: “Fart Face”). Forte’s influence hasn’t been as strong this season as it has in others, and more than the actual laughs that this sketch generated for us, it represented that Forte has been able to refocus his writing and performance game after spending a grueling summer working on the MacGruber movie. Welcome back, Will!
So, Gossip Girl fans, how would you rank Lively’s performance this weekend? Feel free to drop any appropriate plus/minus rankings into the comments and we’ll be sure that Pressler and Rovzar take note!