Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

10 First-Time 'SNL' Hosts We'd Like to See

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.

Erik Voss is a writer and performer living in Los Angeles. He hosts the Evil Blond Kid podcast and performs improv on the Harold team The Cartel at the iO West Theater.

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  • http://twitter.com/ZStovall Zack Stovall

    I was just thinking about how awesome Aziz Ansari would be, too. Plenty to stand up skills to be in front of a live audience, UCB improv experience, and "Human Giant" sketch expertise as well, not to mention his great work on "Parks and Rec." Just keep all of the drunk people shouting "RAAAAAAAANDY!" out of the crowd.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mark.longden Mark Longden

      Do you think anyone would still shout Randy, his not-all-that-funny character from a failed film from five years ago?

      • http://twitter.com/TracyChretien Tracy Chretien

        Everything OK, buddy?

  • http://www.facebook.com/theanthonymata Anthony Mata

    Nathan Fillian, Joel McHale, Pete Holmes, Guy Fieri, Nick Kroll, Ben Shwartz, anyone from Walking Dead, the fat kid from Modern Family, Chris Gethard, Peter Dinklage …. I can go on.

  • Fenton

    All excellent choices. I can't believe frequent musical guest and sketch cameo-er Dave Grohl hasn't full on hosted yet. He's very funny, game, and is promoting that documentary he directed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/frank.rodriguez Frank Rodriguez

    Carrie Bernstein.

    • http://www.facebook.com/eamontoplease Eamon Doyle

      Do you mean Carrie Brownstein?

  • alex

    I would really love to see Adam Sandler host… and do Opera Man.

    • Chris

      Given how much success he has had in his post-SNL career, I'm surprised Sandler hasn't hosted already. Is he not interested in hosting?

  • MW

    Jack McBrayer, Ellie Kemper, Rebel Wilson, Tony Hale

  • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.furda Stephen Furda

    Donald Glover

  • @richburgauer

    It's worth mentioning that, while Nick Offerman has yet to host, he *HAS* appeared in a cameo. In the 2004 Megan Mullally show.

    In yesterday's list of the SNL hosts you guys would like to come back… that's Mr. Ron Swanson himself sitting just beside Tammy 2 in that photograph!

  • Host

    SNL sucks

    • Jay Cathcart

      Thgen why are you reading and commenting on a article about it?

  • http://twitter.com/yesmrcartersir Trace Carter

    Neil DeGrasse Tyson, please!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1257927046 Tina Shontz


  • http://twitter.com/josiahhughes Josiah Hughes

    Tim and Eric! Tim and Eric! They've already stolen enough of their aesthetic… let them do an insane episode!

  • http://twitter.com/dethbird dethbird

    This is a pretty good list! But re: Key and Peele, is there precedent for a duo ?? that would be silly. …. Sheryl Crow and Lance Armstrong? … eh I duno

    • eavoss

      Yes. As mentioned above, Key and Peele wouldn't be the first duo hosts (following Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey, and the Olsen twins).

  • Stephen

    +1 for Aziz Ansari. Still surprised Krasinski and Rainn Wilson have never done it. Ty Burrell would have been much better than Sophia Vergara. Would love to see Max Greenfield try something other than Schmidt — he didn't get much chance with his cameo on 'Happy Endings'. Speaking of which: how about Elisha Cuthbert?

    • eavoss

      Rainn Wilson hosted in 2007, though Krasinski hasn't. Ty Burrell did make our short list… he would be great. And I say let's get the entire Happy Endings cast up there to host it together.

  • http://twitter.com/ninesnowboots Ben

    Joel McHale would make my list for sure; he already has a few years' sketch experience as a writer/performer on Almost Live! from 1995-98 (sketches to Youtube: The Drain Game, Message from DOT)

  • http://www.facebook.com/eamontoplease Eamon Doyle


  • holland

    The dude/lady ratio here is a pathetic. How about Lena Dunham, Rebel Wilson, Mindy Kaling, Carrie Brownstein, Lizzy Kaplan, Beyonce

  • http://twitter.com/redheadedgolem R.H. Golem

    Why book someone who is funny and comfortable with performing live comedy? Dramatic actors, flavor-of-the-month musicians, and athletes — that's who you want hosting these days!

  • Jay Cathcart

    I would love to see John Mulant (Stand up comidean and the guy who write the Stefon jokes) or Nick Swardson

    • Jay Cathcart

      I meant Mulany not Mulant

  • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.furda Stephen Furda

    Mike Birbiglia

  • benw92

    Not sure how you can leave out Donald Glover, a rising NBC star who auditioned for SNL. Plus he can be the musical guest too.

  • Camp Firewood

    Adam Scott would be awesome. I second (or third) Aziz Ansari, Lizzy Caplan and Carrie Brownstein too. And I would love to see Will Arnett!

  • Blergh

    No female comics, not even comedic actresses, on this list? Really? There were no actual professionally funny women you want to see? Really?

    • eavoss

      We had a binder full of them! Seriously though, make a case for the ones you think we excluded. Also keep in mind that there of dozens of people beyond this 10 that we would love to see host, but Splitsider, unlike Buzzfeed, is actually printed in ink on your computer screen.

    • http://twitter.com/megh_wright Megh Wright

      Like Erik said, there are plenty of "actual professionally funny" women we'd love to see. This list is the result of two very different and much longer lists we both made then narrowed down to who is either the most bafflingly long overdue or who can realistically host soon due to an upcoming starring role of some kind. Please give us your suggestions for funny ladies other than all the ones who have already been brought up in the comments! The more the better.

      • Adelaidey

        Long overdue: I'm not the poster who complained, but the person I most want to see host is the always-hilarious Elizabeth Banks. She has The Hunger Games to promote, after all. Another no-brainer is Jenna Fischer, who has been carrying this season of The Office squarely on her shoulders. I imagine that the less exciting Ed Helms or the reliably funny Rainn Wilson will host to commemorate the end of The Office

        As far as people with big upcoming roles on the horizon: If you're bringing Will Arnett in for Arrested Development, how about Portia DeRossi? Besides, Better Off Ted is as funny as anything Arnett has done post-AD.They're both hilarious, but I suspect DeRossi is a bit more versatile. Rebel Wilson always seems to have a movie coming out, I'd love to see her. Anna Kendrick, too.

      • http://www.facebook.com/erin.stokesbury Erin Stokesbury

        jane lynch !!!!!!!

  • Nicole

    All perfect choices. My list would also include Andrew Rannells, Rebel Wilson, Aziz Ansari, Donald Glover, Dave Grohl and Tony Hale though…

  • JDH

    Maria Bamford and Jim Gaffigan.

  • http://www.facebook.com/douglas.hicton Douglas Hicton

    Betty White did the show after an internet petition, and maybe the next petition should be for Carol Burnett. With her history in sketch comedy, she'd take the cast to school and show them how it's done. Maybe Tim Conway and Vicki Lawrence could do cameos. Too bad Harvey Korman's no longer with us, though. Anyway, it'd be fun to see Carol come down the stairs wearing the curtains one more time.

    As for whether a duo has ever hosted, I think Peter Cook and Dudley Moore did a couple of decades ago.

  • http://twitter.com/celiastahr Celia

    I think Zachary Quinto would do a nice job.

  • http://twitter.com/RaniVermonty Rani

    Craig Ferguson is one of a kind so I'll go with him. I've seen him live – way back when and at Radio City Music Hall, and the audience roars. It's unreal. I was actually in pain for a couple days from laughing continually for an hour. Craig would be a great SNL host.

  • wxb

    William H. Macy, Alan Arkin, John Waters, Dave Chappelle, Maynard James Keenan, Iggy Pop, Henry Rollins

    • Jeff Loomis

      Maynard James Keenan would be the perfect host. He dabbles in comedy and can also be the musical guest.

  • John Galt

    The Michelle Obama idea is the most ridiculous thing I've ever read. She is a nobody. She infuriates exactly half the population. Seriously, the sight of her makes me queasy.

  • John Galt

    Dick Van Dyke.
    Nick Offerman.
    Aziz Ansari.
    Carrie Brownstein.
    Jim Jefferies.

  • Josh

    Great call with Phillip Seymour Hoffman! Don't forget he played "Dusty" in Twister, which was a comedy relief roll… One of my favorites from childhood

  • http://www.facebook.com/jasonfarr Jason Farr

    I agree fully with so many of these and I would like to be yet another to agree on Aziz, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Colbert, Arnett and Offerman. I would also like to suggest someone many will disagree with me on, but I don't care: Adam Sandler. He's never hosted. I would love to see him on SNL again.

  • Jack

    Aziz Anzari!!!

  • Jack

    Donald Glover as host with Childish Gambino musical guest!!!

  • jack

    And I know this is obvious, but The Lonely Island as hosts and musical guest!


    Co-sign this list

  • Adam P

    Donald Glover, JB Smoove, Russell Howard, Nathan Fillion, Anyone from 'The League', Jason Ritter, Damon Wayans Jr., Casey Wilson (who was a former cast member on SNL), Lee Pace, Schmoes Know, Danny McBride, Jay Baruchel, Norman Reedus, Craig Robinson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Alison Brie, Joel McHale, Jim Jefferies, Jason Gann and Matt LeBlanc

  • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.thacker1 Matthew Thacker

    What about Adam Sandler? Most people don't realize that he's never been back to host.

  • Loretta

    Didn't Alec Baldwin & his then wife Kim Basinger co-host?…also Jeff Bridges with his brother.

  • http://www.facebook.com/niamh.youknowwho Niamh Needs No Introduction

    mindy kaling

  • Samira

    All great choices i would love to see will arnett. Also Adam Sandler, John Krasinski, Rainn Wilson, and Max Greenfield

  • HeatherWC

    I agree with everyone else about Aziz. I adore that man. And really can't understand how Jane Lynch has been overlooked by SNL. She's a natural and likable. I'd love to see Donald Glover, as well.

  • Ken

    Kat Dennings from Two Broke Girls.

    You want a game-changer on SNL. Go get Kat Dennings as your next host this fall!

  • Ken

    I'd so love to see Kat Dennings, the star of Two Broke Girls host Saturday Night Live this fall. She's co-staring in the upcoming movie, Thor:The Dark World later this year, and I bet she'd kick a ton of butt on that show.

    You want a game-changer on Saturday Night Live. GO GET KAT DENNINGS!!!

  • Adam Schultz

    I'd love to see Joan Rivers, Bill Maher, Daniel Tosh, Seth Green or Anthony Jesselnik

  • Adam Schultz

    Also, I wouldn't mind seeing Adam Sandler host. He's an underrated SNL legend that deserves more credit.

  • ilikepie3326

    wierd al!!!

  • Skullenko

    Daniel Tosh. He's made for this stuff!