Ken Tucker
April 26, 2010 AT 05:50 PM EDT

I’m pretty surprised at how many of you seem to think Gabourey Sidibe did a poor job hosting SNL this week. Sure, she flubbed a few lines here and there, as at the start of this sketch:

But as I said in my SNL recap, many of the sketches this week were dense with wordplay. I thought it was pretty obvious that Sidibe’s minor line-reading mistakes lessened quickly as the evening proceeded. Her acting and timing were excellent throughout. And as for the complaint many readers lodged that she was sometimes noticeably reading off cue cards — well, I refer you to the entire history of SNL for examples of hosts and cast members who, given the pressure of rewrites and live TV, rely on the cards.

This gives rise to a slightly larger question, though. Does messing up a little bit spoil an entire performance when it’s live? I don’t think so.

The history of TV is filled with moments when goofed lines on live television — or during the live-audience taping of a show — only added to the excitement, to the feeling that we are watching performers doing the best they can and then barreling on to the next joke. Examples are legion, and range from Johnny Carson on  The Tonight Show

to The Carol Burnett Show to The Golden Girls:

I’m not sure I understand what’s behind the complaints about Sidibe, but I hope no one piles on Betty White if she glances at the cue cards or flubs a line when she hosts on May 8.

What’s your take on the Gabourey Sidibe criticism?

For more: ‘Saturday Night Live’ recap: Gabourey Sidibe is funny, not precious

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