Top 5: Best Hosts of “SNL”, Season 35

Now largely, the season wasn't that good, but there were some bright spots. Who makes the list?

With the end of the thirty-fifth season of Saturday Night Live having come upon us last weekend with Alec Baldwin hosting. We’ve seen the second-youngest host (Taylor Swift), the oldest host (Betty White), and, inexplicably, no Steve Martin or Justin Timberlake. What Up With That?!

(Now, if this was a dignified blog, we’d have Deandre Cole (Kenan Thompson) pop up right now and start singing. But we don’t. So let’s just start the list of the best right now, with…)

5. Joseph Gordon-Levitt

I didn’t see all of this episode from the beginning of the season (which, with such dud hosts as January Jones, Megan Fox and Blake Lively, wasn’t all that good), but I did see Gordon-Levitt’s dead-on cover of Donald O’Connor’s “Make ‘Em Laugh” from Singin’ in the Rain – and he did a great job paying tribute to comedic greats.

4. Gabourey Sidibe

Coming off her performance in Precious Based On The Novel “Push” by Sapphire (damn, that’s a mouthful), Gabby Sidibe wanted to differentiate herself from the character – which she did in her monologue, singing “I’m not Precious, I’m Gabourey” (sort of to the tune of Cher’s “It’s In His Kiss”). In a very large number of sketches (as “Old Mrs. Johnson,” whose father “used to sell Wikipedias”‘; playing an Ella Fitzgerald-esque character in “I Did It In My Style: The Story of Frank Sinatra”; and the “Cherry Battle” digital short, among others), she showed her comedic ability to go along with her dramatic.

3. Charles Barkley

I didn’t expect much from Charles Barkley (his first appearance was in 1993, so I never saw it). But he had some fantastic comedy timing. Possibly the best skit of the night was the “Reel Quotes” skit, in which two idiots (Barkley and Kristen Wiig) are on a game show about movie quotes, continuing to get them wrong (drawing the consternation of Bill Hader). I was quite impressed.

2. Betty White

The highest-rated show of the season, it was well worth it. I was one of the folks on the “Betty White for SNL/President” bandwagon (as seen in more than a few Friday Link Slurries), and she proved to be absolutely incredible. Her diatribe of Facebook in the monologue, the “muffin” sketch, the return of The Manuel Ortiz Show – all fantastic. It helped that there were more guest stars (virtually all the SNL mothers) than regular cast members, but the true drive of the show was White’s comic ability.

But the #1 choice is a surprise, as it’s…

1. Zach Galifinakis

Zach was one of the lower hosts on the celebrity food chain, having been a supporting actor in The Hangover. However, he proved his comedy mettle the night he hosted. This was possibly the best monologue on the show I’ve seen…since I started watching the show. If you haven’t seen it yet, go to Hulu and see it. That and “the bidet” are two absolute classics, highlights of the season. And he shaved his beard mid-show! That’s dedication.

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