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The Top Five Saturday Night Live Hosts

Categories: Comedy Shows
Posted: April 30, 2012

Last week, I wrote about the top late night talk and variety comedy shows filmed in New York. It’s no surprise that Saturday Night Live, now celebrating its 37th season, sat atop my list. The long-running show has launched many comedy careers (hello Chevy Chase, Mike Myers, Adam Sandler, and the list goes on and on) and at various points in its nearly four-decade history, the show has created many water cooler moments.
Today, I take a look at the best SNL hosts of all-time. Now, it’s universally acknowledged that Steve Martin, who has fronted the show 15 times, was instrumental in the early days of the show. His outrageous characters helped to set the standard for hosts for years to come. So, I’m leaving him off this list and ranking five other people who have left an indelible mark on the show.
5. Christopher Walken — The Continental sketch has proved so popular that he’s performed it on more than one episode. Possibly one of the most off-kilter hosts, Walken is known for his off-center line delivery, which he attributes to being a dancer. His musical warble of a voice comes from the fact that he talks like a hoofer. And, this works perfectly for a show like SNL.
The Continental sketch

4. Justin Timberlake
— What a surprise. The Sexy Back singer is a natural fit for Saturday Night Live. He’s been a host and musical guest. But, few hosts have created as much buzz as Timberlake, particularly in his never-forget-them musical ditties with Andy Samberg. The song’s videos went viral within hours, and everyone knew about Dick in a Box and MotherLover. Here’s the NSFW video for MotherLover, featuring Susan Sarandon and Patricia Clarkson as the moms who need some loving.

3. Betty White — Who was hotter than this octogenarian (she’s now 90!)
when she hosted the show two years ago? No one. And the ratings proved it — spiking for the first time in 18 months. No surprise since a massive Facebook campaign led to her appearance on the show. There’s a reason White has been on some of the most important comedy TV shows of all time — The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Golden Girls — and that her career has spanned 60 years. She’s hilarious. And, her high octane approach to SNL proved to be a real winner.
Betty White on Saturday Night Live

2. Alec Baldwin
— Few people are as comfortable at 30 Rock as Alec Baldwin. It’s no wonder that he’s now the all-time host leader with 16 appearances. Equally facile with comedy and drama, Baldwin is particularly attuned at playing boisterous, larger than life characters, and his deadpan delivery sets him apart from his peers. His stunning turns as SNL host led to one of the greatest comic parts — Jack — on the TV show 30 Rock.
Alec Baldwin on Saturday Night Live
1. John Goodman — Goodman had tried out for the show in the 1980s, but didn’t make the cut as a cast member. That’s great news for American comedy because he rocked it out as the doting dad on Roseanne, which was the no. 1 comedy TV show in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He’s hosted the show 12 times — only behind Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin in appearances. And, there’s a great reason why. He’s hilarious and great at playing diverse characters.
John Goodman on Saturday Night Live

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