Justin Timberlake’s new album has some pretty long songs, long enough to tide us over until the next Timberlake album, certainly — and maybe he should think about pushing that down the to-do list. Because the next thing Justin Timberlake should do is host a variety show.
Not forever! Not even for a season. He’s busy, presumably! But also part of the appeal of when he hosts SNL is seeing him do things he doesn’t always do. So let’s say five nights — a weeklong stint, maybe around the holidays, when most shows are in repeats anyway. On this show, Timberlake will sing and dance, perform in sketches, maybe play some parlor games with assorted celebrity guests, and good-naturedly ham it up. Maybe he closes with an earnestly sung Christmas song.
Timberlake has been on Jimmy Fallon constantly in the last month. He’s hosted SNL five times and done double-duty as musical guest on three of those occasions. He has hammed it up like the mayor of Hamtown on every talk show and late-night appearance he’s made in the last fifteen years. He obviously enjoys being on TV, and a variety show — rather than, say, a traditional late-night show — would rely on Timberlake’s extant capabilities as a performer and not a finely honed comedic voice. He’s not a comedy genius. But he is someone who has spent his life, from young childhood on, practicing being beheld. He can really sing, and really dance, but Timberlake’s more substantial talent is that he’s so damn watchable.
So let’s someone please give him a show. If that watchability is sustainable, then great, we have enjoyed a show for a week. If it’s not, then great, Justin Timberlake can go off and be a singer or a movie star or a goatherd or whatever, now that we all know the truth. Just as long as he sings “All I Want for Christmas Is You” at some point on the show’s run, we’ll consider it a success.