Kristen Wiig's touching farewell on Saturday Night Live over the weekend packed one hell of a surprising emotional punch. Sure, goodbyes are never easy and beloved SNL cast members have come and gone plenty of times before, but there was something more overwhelming at the core of her lovely, bittersweet sendoff. Perhaps it was witnessing the rare sight of a funny lady's hard work appreciated or watching dear friends share a last dance on the stage that launched their respective careers, or maybe it was just the overwhelming sense that an important SNL era (one that may also include possible departing cast mates Jason Sudeikis and Andy Samberg) was officially over. Maybe it was all of the above.
But if you found yourself weeping with worry over the future of SNL, you can go ahead and dry your eyes. (After all, how many times has SNL been declared dead only to have a Will Ferrell or Tina Fey or Jimmy Fallon or Amy Poehler emerge and shake things up again?) No, things will never be quite the same without Wiig's comedic styling or her eclectic mix of manic characters, but SNL still has two incredibly talented and funny cast members poised to make the show their own: Bill Hader and Taran Killam.
Of course, to suggest that Hader is on the cusp of breaking out as a comedy star would be doing the funny man a disservice. Having already proven himself as a masterful impressionist (his Alan Alda is nothing short of a revelation), an ego-free team player who commits to every bit, and, of course, the creator of SNL's best character in years, Stefon, in his six seasons on the show, Hader has unequivocally become the most dependable SNL cast member. While Hader usually plays second banana outside of SNL (Superbad, Adventureland), his supreme likeability and versatility should, by all means, make him a leading man in comedy. With Wiig (and more than likely Sudeikis and Samberg gone), it's Hader's time to go front-and-center.
Killam (pictured), on the other hand, is the very definition of breakout star. Having quickly moved ahead of the pack of newcomers (including one-trick pony Jay Pharoah and the since-departed Paul Brittain), Killam has the approachable good looks of Sudeikis, but with an even wider range of tricks up his comedy sleeve. The 30-year-old has walked the right balance of fantastic impressions (Michael Cera, Andy Cohen) and destined-to-become-classics originals ("J- Pop American Fun Time Now!"). Not to mention that awesome, viral off-hours clip of him paying homage to Robyn's "Call Your Girlfriend", which means he's capable of pulling off what Samberg did for years, on and off the show's clock. Watch his season-best moment when he played the Watch What Happens host here:
While it will be interesting to see which female steps into the spotlight with Wiig's absence (newbie Kate McKinnon has serious potential), Hader and Killam could bring just the right amount of veteran know-how and rookie intensity to give the show a shot of post-Wiig adrenaline it will need in Season 38. Need proof? Just watch the latest installment of Hader's Stefon. It. Has. Everything.
[Photo credit: NBC] More: Saturday Night Live Recap: Mick Jagger Rocked, Kristen Wiig Bowed Out Kristen Wiig Says Farewell To SNL Is SNL Facing a Funny Lady Shortage?
Season 37 (!) of late night institution Saturday Night Live comes to a close tomorrow night on NBC with host and musical guest Mick Jagger closing things out. While the finale has all the makings of a classic episode written all over it (especially with Foo Fighters and Arcade Fire coming by to jam out with The Rolling Stones front man) there's already been plenty to make this a memorable season. Before we bid adieu to this season of SNL, let's look back at all the highs (Melissa McCarthy's debut, Jimmy Fallon and Maya Rudolph's returns) and lows (Lindsay Lohan's "comeback," Lana Del Rey's "performance") and everything in between from this past year.
Alec Baldwin Breaks a Record: The 30 Rock star kicked off season 37 the only way he knows how: by hosting for a record-breaking 16th time. Trumping pal Steve Martin for the coveted title, Baldwin proved yet again, why he's one of the best SNL players to never actually be an SNL cast member.
Melissa McCarthy Establishes Her Place as a Comedy Queen: Riding high off the success of Bridesmaids and her Emmy win, the funny lady proved that her breakout year was no fluke. Her first-time turn as host of the October 1, 2011 episode set the bar awfully high for the rest of the season. The actress was the ultimate team player (including getting to have fun with her Bridesmaids co-star Kristen Wiig in the opening monologue) and had no problem going above and beyond the call of duty in the name of comedy for sketches in which she fell down a flight of steps, humped a balloon, and squirted Ranch dressing on her face.
Welcome Home, Jimmy and Maya: Will Ferrell may have had a disappointing homecoming last week, but his fellow SNL alums Jimmy Fallon and Maya Rudolph most certainly did not. Fallon's spirited holiday-themed episode and Rudolph's non-stop funny turn made for the two best outings this season. (The third being, of course, McCarthy's.) It's hard to argue against the notion that the glory days of SNL are long over when old cast mates are the best part of a current season, especially when writers up the ante for sketches like Rudolph's inspired Maya Angelou-meets-Punk'd bit:
Lana Del Rey ... Sings?: SNL can be a great place for a new artist to get massive exposure, but that widespread attention doesn't always help. During the Daniel Radcliffe-hosted January 14 episode, musical guest Lana Del Rey blew up the Twittersphere after her warbly performances of her songs "Video Games" and "Blue Jeans," inspiring cries of "What was that?!" The backlash was almost immediately met with backlash (including a counter attack by Wiig on Weekend Update) and Del Rey redeemed herself with an improved performance on Letterman, but the damage was done: The singer will forever go down in SNL infamy.
Taran Killam Dances His Way to the Top: Taran Killam has quickly established himself as one of the most promising cast members on SNL thanks to his scene-stealing in hilarious sketches like "J-Pop America Fun Time Now" and his killer impressions (namely Andy Cohen) but the rising star became a viral sensation when he paid homage to musical guest Robyn. Boosting morale in the writers' room at 4:30 in the morning, Killam kills it mimicking the "Call Your Girlfriend" video.
Jon Hamm Comes to the Rescue: Lindsay Lohan was supposed to have a comeback this year, propelled by her fourth SNL hosting stint. But there was no classic "Debbie Downer" moment to be found, and Lohan looked stiff during the poorly written episode. With the exception of the instantly viral "Real Housewives of Disney" sketch and a cameo from Jon Hamm, who earned more laughs than the hostess, it would have easily been considered the season's worst. (The honor still belongs to Anna Faris, who also deserved better.)
Digital Shorts Turn 100: Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer celebrated an important milestone when their Digital Shorts reached 100. That's right, Justin Timberlake doing unspeakable things to your mother, Michael Bolton dressing up as Captain Jack Sparrow, and 98 other awesome things got a proper star-studded tribute. Watch it here: ="text-align:> Zooey Deschanel Can Laugh At Herself: Siri, does New Girl star Zooey Deschanel have a good sense of humor about her quirky, overly adorable persona? She sure does! Look no further than the incredibly funny "Bein' Quirky with Zooey Deschanel" sketch, which Deschanel herself appeared in as Mary-Kate Olsen facing off against herself (well, Abby Elliott, anyway.) Watch it again or for the first time. "It's not garbage if it's new to you." Paul Brittain Makes An Exit: After just a year with SNL, it was announced in January that featured player Paul Brittain was exiting the show to pursue other projects. While Brittain's impact was minimal, he did leave the 37th season with some memorable moments, including a visit from the whimsically weird Lord Wyndemere and Kings of Catchphrase Comedy headliner Goran “Funky Boy” Bogdan. Kate McKinnon Climbs On Board: With Brittain out, there was space for a new featured player. Enter: Kate McKinnon, a great impressionist (as evidence by her dead-on spoof of Bravo's Tabatha Takes Over) with even greater potential. While she's only had a few weeks to show SNL fans what she's got, Season 37 looks like it set the stage for a stellar Season 38 for McKinnon. What was your favorite and least favorite moments from this season of Saturday Night Live? Which ones did we miss? Sound off in the comments section! More: Mick Jagger To Host Saturday Night Live Finale SNL Promo: Mick Jagger Scolds Kristen Wiig For Wasting Magic – VIDEO The Six Best Saturday Night Live Cast Reunions Ever
On March 26, Selena Gomez tweeted a photo of her bikini-clad self on the set of Spring Breakers with a very familiar ace, but thankfully, Britney Spears' ex isn't making a comeback. While the guy in the driver's seat bears a striking resemblance to Kevin Federline, it's actually celebrity chameleon James Franco.
Franco may have scored an Oscar nomination for his ability to convincingly saw off his own arm, but his real calling is playing other actors. Just take a look at the many famous faces Franco has expertly portrayed during his relatively short career:
Okay, Franco is sporting a comically bad wig in this Funny or Die parody of The Hills, but he still nails Justin Bobby's casual douchbaggery.
Franco proved that he could do a serious take on another star when he starred in the 2001 TV movie James Dean. Then in 2010, he tackled the role of Allen Ginsberg in Howl.
Hosting the Oscars in 2011 with Anne Hathaway gave Franco the opportunity to spoof all of the year's films, and portray John Travolta in this Grease spoof, which was cut from the final broadcast.
Of course, Franco's most memorable role of Oscars night was Marilyn Monroe. Later, he said he was upset about being pushed into doing the drag routine — but only because he wanted to play Cher.
Franco's passion for celebrity mimicry shows no signs of subsiding. Next, he'll do a cameo as Hugh Hefner in Lovelace. However, Franco isn't the only actor who's great at doing celebrity impressions. Just check out Paul Brittain's spot-on James Franco impersonation on SNL.
[E!, Funny or Die, MovieWeb]
SNL just lost one of its more promising new cast members. Paul Brittain is leaving the sketch show, effective immediately. This means no more James Franco impressions or the delight that is Lord Wyndemere (don't worry, there's a video below to commemorate his contributions to the SNL landscape). According to EW, Brittain's exit is an amicable one; it's simply a move to allow him to pursue other projects. The comedian has been a featured player on the series since 2010, but in 2011, he really began to make his mark with a few memorable characters.
Hopefully these other projects will come our way soon, because life without Lord Wyndemere is going to be a little drab.
I was apprehensive about Jim Carrey hosting SNL. I knew exactly what we would be getting with Carrey as a host - manic energy, rubber-like facial expressions, and extreeeeeeeeemly drawn out vowels. But would it still work? That Jim Carrey hasn’t been around much these days (the last we saw of him was in Yes Man, eeesh) and the super serious dramatic actor that replaced him has been well received.
But can you blame the guy for returning to his roots? He’s had a hell of a rough year with all the divorces and exes spouting off anti-vaccination rants, no wonder he uses crazy emoticons on Twitter. I’m sure this week on SNL felt like a sweet breath of fresh air for the guy. And for the most part it worked. The usual duds were there of course, but for the most part the show was refreshing. Only a few minor recurring characters made an appearance and the writers used Carrey’s energy efficiently. SNL is off to a great start in 2011.
Here’s Carrey’s monologue. It’s not the greatest ever, a few light chuckles if anything, but he seems to be having fun so you can’t blame him for that. I’m skipping over the cold open because it was Fred Armisen doing a Michael Bloomberg impression about the blizzard NYC felt over the holidays. And since most of the audience doesn’t live in NYC much less understand the subtleties of a Bloomberg impress, I’ll skip over it.
Up next we have one of the biggest splashing sketches of the week where Carrey portrays the Black Swan in their send up of the Natalie Portman hardcore lesbian movie (nice to see you, Google). The actual mocking of the movie is fairly straightforward, but it does give Carrey an opportunity for more physical humor. And, of course, always nice to see him back in a tutu. (Interesting note connecting this back to Ace Ventura, apparently Carrey based Ace on birds, so you know, this is now “meta”)
“Psychic Medium” is the classic SNL situation - great idea, not so great execution. Having Jim Carrey as a failed impressions comic turned psychic sounds brilliant, but the skit was slow, dragged and just didn’t bring the laughs. Jason Sudeikis’ exuberant cheers almost sold it, but not quite. Having said that, I’ll take a great idea and poor execution than some cheap recurring character any day. More of this, SNL.
“Healing Conversations” was another almost-there for SNL. I really enjoy watching people cry (that makes me sound totally sane) and Samberg has a great whine. But I felt like Sudeikis was again underused. Put him in more stuff! K, thanks.
Weekend Update, always consistent. A few good chuckles, but nothing you’ll remember the next day. Might as well watch it, you know?
“A Taste Of New York” was easily the most painful sketch of the show. Slow and unfunny, I’m not sure how it survived the dress rehearsal. Armisen and Kristen Wiig are incredibly gifted musicians, but I prefer them improving little jingles on Weekend Update. This one just did not work at all.
And the best skit of the week! Incredibly creepy, but it showed off the facial ranges of Paul Brittain who looked like he could hold his own with Bill Hader. I giggled with delight during this one if only because Carrey could easily become a plastic mannequin at any time and no one would notice.
“Worst of Soul Train” is my favorite SNL template sketch. Its nothing more than an excuse to include a bunch of people doing different things (which also gave us our only appearance of Jay Phoaroh, sorely missed) within the idea of the skit. They saved the best for last with Carrey’s question managing to bring out full laughs from me. Not that easy a feat for SNL, so congratulations.
Amy Poehler, mama to Archie and Abel and probably to W. Arnett too, has aligned herself with the stars and shed a whole lotta baby-growing fluid through her pores so she could host the season premiere of Saturday Night Live on September 25th, and appear alongside musical guest Katy Perry. No doubt she'll spend her monologue joking about what she's been up to since leaving ensemble cast of the show...which includes getting nominated for Emmys and losing them to Tina Fey.
Poehler was on SNL from 2001 to 2008, where she was the greatest, and her appearances on Parks and Recreation and the Betty White-hosted SNL made all the current youngblooded cast members on the variety show look like people who just did a good job at waiting in a line.
As we previously reported, SNL is bringing in three new guys: Taran Killam, Paul Brittain (everyone probably gets excited and mistakes him for Paul Bettany when they see his name on paper -- he'll play all the sad clowns in Andy Samberg's digital shorts), and Vanessa Bayer. However, there'll also be a fourth new cast member, seeing as Jenny Slate's slate was wiped clean. Replacing her will be Jay Pharoah, and EW.com directed me to this clip of him doing lots of impressions... including one of Christopher Walken, which means he was probably conceived under the promise he could join the ensemble cast.
Jenny Slate -- a.k.a. the girl who accidentally dropped an f-bomb on her debut Saturday Night Live performance -- is rumored she won't return to the sketch comedy show this fall. Looks like Lorne Michaels didn't take those FCC fines lightly. F*CK!
The news comes a few short weeks after Will Forte sadly announced he wouldn't return for his ninth season. But, SNL did replace him with three newbies: Taran Killiam, Paul Brittian, and Vanessa Bayer. So, there's still some hope for sketch comedy. F*CK YEAH!
But overall, it's sad to see Jenny Slate leave after only one season. We -- and let's do this one more time -- f*ckin' loved her.
Once we learned Will Forte was leaving his perch at Saturday Night Live, we were a little miffed. It seemed like he was the last remaining cast member from the Will Ferrell and Tina Fey eras, and now that he's moving on to do something else, it's like we'll REALLY have no reason to watch the show. In many ways, he was it!
Today we learned the three cast members who'll replace Forte, and possibly two other oldies who haven't announced their departures yet: first is Taran Killam, who's been on Mad TV, How I Met Your Mother, and Cobie Smulders (with whom he has a kid. Get it?). Also joining the cast are Chicago comedians Paul Brittain and Vanessa Bayer. A simple Google search of Paul Brittain brings up his SNL future, but also a website for a broker and trader who I assume isn't the Paul Brittain who'll be joining the show..but if it is, SNL got an awesome guy to kick the political satire up a notch. A search for Vanessa Bayer brings up a profile at the iO Chicago Theater, which I only know about because it was featured on a season of MTV's Real World. It appears she also worked with Second City, which is cool enough for school.
You know, even though they're new and everything, we should still be nice to them. They could turn out to be really awesome and know how to pick locks so we can go into the school's storage closet and get some tools that'll be helpful in completing our senior prank. Or they could grow up and be the next Tina Feys, which would mean we'd never have to spend another New Year's Eve in a Mac store.