Get ready for SNL: The Musical.
The host: Anna Kendrick, who snagged an Oscar nomination for Up in the Air but is probably known best for crooning without accompaniment – unless you count a little cup percussion – in Pitch Perfect. Sondheim-lovers of a certain age may also remember the actress’ film debut as Fritzi, the most conniving girl at theater camp – and real Kendraholics know that even before that, at the age of 12, Kendrick was nominated for a Tony for her work in Broadway’s High Society (a musical adaptation of The Philadelphia Story).
Long story short: The lady can and will be singing tonight, maybe just in her monologue, possibly from the moment the cold open begins all the way to the end credits.
Then there’s Kendrick’s musical guest: Pharrell Williams, whose infectious, Academy Award-nominated anthem “Happy” remains completely delightful no matter how many commercials for cars or headphones or diarrhea medication co-opt it. (The diarrhea medication thing hasn’t happened yet, but don’t worry – it will.) Given the song’s ubiquity and Pharrell’s own taste for theatrics, it’s a safe bet that he might end up acting (or singing) in a sketch or two as well.
Put them both together, and you’ve got a recipe for toe-tapping comedy – though Kendrick’s certainly capable of more than singing. In fact, between her pedigree, her theater kid background, and her overall Tracy Flickian aura, she really reminds me of another semi-recent SNL success story: Anne Hathaway, who impressed with her first hosting stint back in 2008 and has returned twice since, cementing herself as one of the show’s most reliable guests. (After appearing again in 2010 and 2012, she’s due for a return trip sometime this year – maybe in the fall, to promote Interstellar?) If Kendrick follows Hathaway’s lead, she should have no problem making a great impression tonight – even when she’s not carrying a tune. Frankly, I’m sort of hoping for a sketch that just lets Kendrick read some of her best tweets aloud:
What would you like to see from Anna Kendrick – and SNL more generally – tonight? Perhaps more importantly, how big are we thinking Pharrell’s hat will be: ginormous, gargantuan, or so huge that it somehow flips back in on itself and becomes small again? Discuss below, and check back in the morning for a full recap.