As “Saturday Night Live” begins a historic 37th season this fall, Alec Baldwin returns to host for a record 16th time. It has been a running gag that he and Steve Martin have vied for the record over the years. Martin has held the record since 1980 when the remaining original cast of the show left studio 8H. (Martin hosted three times in the 1977-1978 season alone!) Baldwin has “only” been hosting since 1990.
Two other hosts have been named so far. Melissa McCarthy will host for the first time following her star-making turn in “Bridesmaids” while “SNL” veteran and “Late Night”‘s Jimmy Fallon returns for his first time as host for the Christmas show. Fallon’s return was predestined in a 1998 sketch with (who else?) Alec Baldwin which showed Fallon hosting the Christmas 2011 show. That leaves almost twenty shows in the season to anticipate who will be returning favorites and new talent.
Among the returning could be John Goodman, who tails behind Baldwin and Martin having hosted 11 times, but none since 2000. Goodman is coming off a possible Emmy-nominated dramatic performance on “Damages.” Sounds like a perfect time to welcome Goodman back.
This year is the 25th anniversary of the comedy film “Three Amigos!” starring Chevy Chase, Steve Martin and Martin Short. These three “SNL” alumni hosted together back in 1986. It was a rare occasion with three hosts and this would be a good excuse to bring back three favorites (and for Martin to tie Baldwin’s record). Adam Sandler had a long run on the show and has returned for appearances over the years but never hosted.
Speaking of alumni, some short-lived cast members have gone on to fame such as Sarah Silverman and Jim Belushi, who are developing new sitcoms and have never hosted. It’s also been a long time since these folks have hosted: Bill Murray (last: 1999), Billy Crystal (not since 1984, before joining the cast and Chris Rock (not since 1996). Even Robert Downey, Jr. was a cast member in 1985-1986 and returned to host in the 90s. Downey would be a great host in May before he puts on the Iron Man armor for next summer’s blockbuster film, “The Avengers.” I don’t expect Eddie Murphy to return, as he never has but it would be great to have him back since his last hosting was in 1984.
There are also the “outsiders” who have been good hosts, either in the long run of the show or in recent years. Justin Timberlake, Jon Hamm, Tina Fey, Zach Galifianakis and Paul Rudd have established themselves worthy of annual visits. As far as “classic” hosts, Candice Bergen hasn’t hosted since 1990 and was the first “SNL” female host ever in 1975. Danny DeVito, now on the acclaimed comedy “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” was last “live from New York” in 1999. Joan Rivers has had a career resurgence in recent years, partly from NBC’s own “Celebrity Apprentice.” Perhaps, she could return for the first time since 1983. Pee Wee Herman is also back on the scene and hasn’t hosted since 1985. Betty White’s 2009 appearance on the show is likely a once-in-a-lifetime shot since White has said it was so much work that she would likely not return. But maybe she would pop in if her “Hot in Cleveland” co-star Valerie Bertinelli came back to host for the first time since 1987? Another sitcom veteran, Kirstie Alley has been laughing through her recent revival on “Dancing with the Stars” and last hosted in 1993. Marisa Tomei who was in summer hit “Crazy Stupid Love” last hosted in 1994. Rosie O’ Donnell is making a comeback with a talk show on the Oprah Winfrey Network with a concerted effort to return to her playful talk-show persona rather than the headline-making days on “The View.” It would be a good move for her to reach a wide audience on “SNL” with some new sketches for the first time since 1996. Don’t worry, I’m not going to lobby for Andrew “Dice” Clay, now in the final episodes of “Entourage” but was a controversial host in 1990. But maybe Charlie Sheen (last seen in 2001)? The ratings could be “winning.”
Another 2001 alum, Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees has been having a big year with his 3000th hit. Perhaps he’ll take a ride from the Bronx to the Manhattan studios? Back in 2010, before her schedule was booked up with the next season of “American Idol,” Jennifer Lopez was host and musical guest. Maybe there’s time to host before “Idol” returns.
A very logical pick would be Christina Applegate who stars in NBC’s new sitcom “Up All Night,” from “SNL” exec producer Lorne Michaels. She hasn’t been back since the days of “Married… with Children” in 1993. Likewise, Charlie Sheen’s replacement on “Two and a Half Men,” Ashton Kutcher has hosted four times, last in 2010. And wouldn’t it be a natural to duplicate the combination of the 2004 show starring Christina Aguilera and Maroon 5 to promote NBC’s “The Voice” where Aguilera and Maroon 5’s Adam Levine are judges?
There are hundreds of former hosts and musical guests so on to the new blood. In the tradition of his “Office” mates Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, Ed Helms, John Krasinski would be a good choice, as well as his tv-wife Jenna Fischer. Honestly, Mindy Kaling, B.J. Novak and new cast-member James Spader would all be great first-timers. Similarly, following the “30 Rock” co-stars Fey, Baldwin and Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski is a likely candidate. And from the “How I Met Your Mother” cast, how is it that Josh Radnor, Jason Segel or Allyson Hannigan have not hosted yet? Jon Hamm and January Jones from “Mad Men” have, so the next likely pick would be John Slattery. How great would “Breaking Bad”‘s Bryan Cranston be? Or Kyra Sedgwick of “The Closer”?
If there is room for more “Bridesmaids” to re-join “SNL”‘s Kristin Wiig, my vote is for Rose Byrne. Similarly, Charlie Day could catch up with Jason Sudeikis, his co-star in “Horrible Bosses.” Another summer movie favorite to enlist would be Chris Evans from “Captain America.”
Finally, “SNL” often goes for the latest teen stars so my guesses would be Selena Gomez of “Wizards of Waverly Place” and Miranda Cosgrove of “iCarly.”
I think we can fill 20 slots with the many names here. Who would you like to see host?