In Anchorman, Paul Rudd was part of the Channel 4 news team that rallied around Ron Burgundy at his moment of crisis. On Saturday, the gang returned the favor as Rudd hosted Saturday Night Live for the third time. He didn’t necessarily need it, but you don’t think Anchorman 2 was going to let this promotional opportunity pass by, did you? Will Ferrell, David Koechner, and Steve Carell had Rudd’s back for a little “Afternoon Delight” sing-off against One Direction. Combined with a cold-open that featured Kristen Wiig and Fred Armisen, it quickly appeared as if Rudd might simply be an all-star emcee. But he did some heavy-lifting once things got rolling, notably as a 1D freak-fan and the Madea-like star in White Christmas – emphasis on the White.
Rudd joked about being upstaged by One Direction on Saturday night, but he also faces a similar challenge in this week’s best-host poll. Josh Hutcherson put in a decent showing last month, but his support – no doubt inflamed by the Catching Fire partisans – rocketed him to the top of the standings with 62 percent, the highest debut of the season. His big splash slashed into everyone’s numbers, with Lady Gaga diving the hardest, from first to third place. Kerry Washington saw her own popularity halved, but she actually moved up a place, in to second. Tina Fey, who hosted the season premiere, held relatively steady, but she now finds herself next on the plank, following Edward Norton’s departure.
Quick reminder: we’re trying to identify the best SNL host, the funniest, most-memorable guest who fit in with the cast and put on a performance that you, your mom, and your co-worker were all chuckling about on Sunday afternoon. It’s subjective, of course, but let’s reward the guest hosts who brought something special to the table. My bottom-line: Do you want to see this host back on the show next season?
So far, Bruce Willis, Miley Cyrus, and Norton have been eliminated.
Below, I’ve embedded one representative clip for each of the five hosts currently in the race. After the vote closes on Friday, the host with the least support will be eliminated, and the surviving four will face off against John Goodman, an SNL all-timer. In June, Goodman told EW he worried he might be “a little rusty” if he were asked back to host, but long-time viewers of the show have to be a little excited by his return – his first hosting appearance in 12 years.
Watch the clips, refresh your memories, and vote.