There have been almost 550 people who have hosted Saturday Night Live, from Oscar winners and Olympic gold medalists to senators and the only winner of the “Anyone Can Host” contest, Miskel Spillman. Many of these hosts held their own during what has been described as a frightening experience and quite a few have also bombed, never to return to SNL.
Among the good, the bad, and the awful are the hosts who seamlessly mesh with the cast and essentially become an extra cast member for the week. During the show’s infancy, Steve Martin and Buck Henry hosted so many times they might have been mistaken for cast members. And over the years, hosts like Alec Baldwin, John Goodman, and Christopher Walken carried the torch to Justin Timberlake, Jon Hamm, and Emma Stone.
Tom Hanks might be the quintessential host who could be a cast member. He also happens to be a two-time Oscar winner and America’s most beloved celebrity. Hanks has been a semi-regular guest at SNL, between hosting and guest appearances, for 30 years and each time, he makes it look so easy. Hanks did not disappoint during his ninth appearance as host, easily guiding SNL to its best episode so far this season.
Cold Open: The Third Presidential Debate
Alec Baldwin and Kate McKinnon appeared together for possibly the final time as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and like the first two debate cold opens, hit on most of the trending topics post-debate. Baldwin will more than likely appear a few more times this season, but it will be interesting to see if the bite of his impression is lessened by not working with McKinnon’s Hillary.
Best Sketch: Haunted Elevator
If this sketch seemed familiar, it should, because it was written by Streeter Seidell, who gave us the great Kevin Roberts sketch with Larry David last season. This time around, doors open on typical haunted house characters before the confusing David Pumpkins (Hanks) appears with his two dancing skeletons (Mikey Day and Bobby Moynihan). It’s the same set-up and it works to hilarious effect once again.
Second Best Sketch: Funny New Comedy
With its mix of Chuck Lorre comedies and NCIS-esque shows, CBS has some of the top-rated shows on television. But what it lacks are serious dramas with feelings that win awards. What it needs is its own Parenthood or This Is Us, and that’s what it’s going to get with this drama about a “family of adjunct professors recently diagnosed with depression.”
Weekend Update Moment: Leslie Jones on Cyber Security
Surprisingly, it took four episodes before Leslie Jones appeared at the Update desk to discuss the hacking and trolling she endured over the summer. But it was worth the wait. In one of her better Update monologues, Jones let the hackers know that no one can troll Leslie Jones better than herself, or a woman with a shovel at the bus stop.
A Sketch With A Twist: Black Jeopardy!
In what was probably the smartest sketch of the night, Black Jeopardy gave us a little twist by having the white contestant actually give correct answers. Doug (Hanks) appears to be a stereotypical Trump supporter with his “Make America Great Again” hat and bald eagle t-shirt, but maybe lower and middle class white Americans have more in common with African Americans than they think they do.
** Alec Baldwin also appeared in the “Sully” sketch.
** Lady Gaga performed “A-Yo“ with Mark Ronson and “Million Reasons“ from her new album, Joanne.
** One week after mentioning here that Alex Moffat (along with Mikey Day) had been appearing regularly, he didn’t appear once during this episode. Sorry, Alex.
** Saturday Night Live returns on Nov. 5 with host Benedict Cumberbatch and musical guest Solange.