Sometimes comedy illuminates hard truths with a pointed urgency that other means can’t quite achieve. Sometimes comedy is just funny. This series of posts is mostly about the former instances, but the latter is valuable, too.
To coincide with the recent season finale of Saturday Night Live, the fine team at The A.V. Club went a-trolling. The asked several writers to name their “all-time favorite SNL host,” and the answers were largely an embarrassment of recency bias. A show that has endured for well over forty years, and regularly reserved their guest dressing room for true comedic titans, should not inspire a self-respecting entertainment journalist to declare their all-time favorite SNL host is Harry Styles, who’s bounded out for the opening monologue exactly once. If that’s your answer, it’s better to take a pass on the assignment.
Conceding that the A.V. Club List is a frivolous exercise rather than an attempt at creating a definitive list, and noting that the only proper answer to the prompt is indeed duly represented among their handful of celebrated celebrities, I feel compelled to name an all-time great host who was inexplicably omitted from the listicle. (Because of course I take the bait.) John Goodman hosted Saturday Night Live thirteen times, behind only Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin for most appearances in that role. If I were to draw up the dream cast for the venerable variety program, able to magically include all performers from all eras time-machined in at the peak of their powers, Goodman is one of the only hosts I would include on that roster. To argue my point, I share Goodman’s exquisite turn as Cajun chef Odel Robes Pierre LaFete alongside Phil Hartman, who not-so-incidentally is the first round pick when assembling that dream cast mentioned above.
Previous entries in this series can be found by clicking on the “Laughing Matters” tag.