On March 11th Scarlett Johansson hosted Saturday Night Live, with musical guest Lorde. It was, surprisingly, Johansson’s fifth time hosting SNL, placing her in an illustrious club. Wow.
(Photo Credit: salutemag.com)
Scarlett Johansson hosted Saturday Night Live this week. It set off a number of chain reactions that were quite surprising. First, during her monologue on the show, Johansson announced that this was her fifth time hosting the show, joining the illustrious five-timers’ club. The subsequent skit of Keenan Thompson showing “her best clips from the previous four shows” was hilarious and rather poignant. Just as Thompson ended up showing mostly clips of himself, I myself had a hard time remembering much of Scarlett Johansson’s previous hosting duties.
Of her four previous visits, the only things that remain lodged in my mind are her commercials selling chandeliers and marble columns with Fred Armisen. It was quite alarming to hear that she had already hosted so many times. Joining the five-timers’ club is a big deal. Despite its growing size, the group remains rather distinguished. It’s a who’s who of the most famous hosts of all-time, the early hosts that carried the show through its infancy, and Scarlett Johansson.
That’s not meant as a huge knock on Scar Jo. She is a solid host. It simply raises one’s eyebrows to think of her on that pedestal.
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The show that surrounded her fifth time hosting was a pretty solid one as well. Fitting for a solid, if unspectacular host as herself. Things began with a cold open about Donald Trump instructing soldiers on how to deal with a pending alien invasion. It wasn’t as good as last week’s open with Jeff Sessions as Forrest Gump, but it had its moments.
From there, things got better. Johansson interviewed a zoo photographer that was mistakenly labeled as a zoo pornographer by the news anchors introducing him. The studio team struggled to correct their mistake, inevitably leading to trouble for Danny Bangs, the photographer. The sketch flawlessly melded sophomoric humor with a scalding take-down of how news organizations operate these days, ending with a promise to bring “more on the developing Danny Bangs story” that only developed because they had made it up.
A dog translator sketch was another hit, but for a very different reason. It is the only time in SNL’s history that I can remember actors breaking because of cuteness, rather than humor. A real dog was strapped with a headset to translate its thoughts into English. The dog withered its way out of the contraption, to Cecily Strong’s absolute delight. The look on her face overshadowed the fact that the dog was a huge Trump supporter (the crux of the sketch).
Leslie Jones headlined a couple of other sketches as the show progressed. She was the main attraction in an Olive Garden commercial which threw in random racism with orgasm faces to sell unlimited bread sticks. She was also the new ninja on the scene in another sketch, who learned on weekends at the local YMCA while Johansson had been training since she was five.
There were other hidden gems this week. Beck Bennett and Kyle Mooney wrote their own women’s sketch since some of the ladies took Wednesday’s writing day off for A Day Without Women. Jeff Sessions made another appearance, this time on Weekend Update. Kate McKinnon can seemingly play anyone, making even the worst people seem quaint and endearing. Perhaps this is a bad thing socially, but it works for the show. What is definitely working for the show are pre-taped segments on the women in the Trump White House. This week, Ivanka got her commercial for a fragrance called Complicit. To finish up the episode, SNL brought back a partially recycled hit, where Johansson and Keenan sing ridiculous songs at a man’s funeral. The shtick has been used before, but it’s always funny.
I’m not sure if anything from this week’s episode is going to remain in my mind about Scarlett Johansson moving forward. I still hear her selling chandeliers no matter what. But this was another successful hosting gig for the latest inductee into the five-timers’ club.
Todd Salem is a Contributing Editor at BuzzChomp. He’s also the New York Giants Lead Writer at Pro Football Spot, a Staff Writer for NFL Spinzone, and a Featured Columnist at College Sports Madness, among others. Follow him on Twitter.
Additional photo courtesy of tvline.com