If you haven’t seen Whiplash, the Oscar-nominated film about a drum prodigy (Miles Teller) and his tyrannical music conductor played by J.K. Simmons, the opening monologue on Saturday Night Live, in which Simmons harangued the cast while they tried to perform a musical number, may have sounded like a flat note. But Simmons, whose varied career has ranged from Juno and Up in the Air to Broadway to TV procedurals to Spider-Man to insurance commercials, was smart to get the Whiplash bit out of the way. It cleared the stage for him to be the great character actor that he truly is, rather than forcing him to play the angry bully for 90 minutes. It allowed him to play Bogart in Casablanca, a Japanese messy boy (don’t ask), and several other characters with wild hairpieces.
Simmons enters a Mr. Saturday Night contest with several strong contenders, including Blake Shelton, who scored an impressive 58 percent in his first frame of voting. The Hobbit’s Martin Freeman held on to second place, but he suffered a dramatic 17-point drop that is a blow to his onetime frontrunner status. Bill Hader, who hosted episode 3, is hanging tough in third place, while Kevin Hart dropped like a rock and barely edged out Jim Carrey to survive another week.
Our rules are simple: Who was the best, most memorable SNL host this season? More specifically, who do you hope gets invited back next year? Whose hilarious episode enjoyed multiple viewings on your DVR? Whose show had your boss, your mom, and your roommate still giggling on Monday morning? It’s subjective, of course, but let’s reward the guest hosts who brought something special to the table.
So far, we’ve voted off Sarah Silverman, Chris Rock, Chris Pratt, Cameron Diaz, Woody Harrelson, James Franco, Amy Adams, and Carrey.
Below, watch one representative clip from each of the five hosts, just as a small taste of their recent performances. You’re not voting on this one sketch alone; be sure to consider the entire episode. Make your pick below, and the host with the least support will be eliminated; the other four will advance to compete against the next SNL host, still TBA. Ultimately, we’ll dismiss the less memorable hosts and crown a new Mr. or Mrs. Saturday Night in May. Watch and vote below.