When it comes to TV longevity, there are few series with more staying power than NBC’s Saturday Night Live. Premiering way back in 1975, SNL has cycled through multiple eras at this point, ranging all the way from legendary originals like Bill Murray and John Belushi and the ’90s “bad boys” like Adam Sandler and David Spade, to the wacky early 2000s antics of Will Ferrell and Molly Shannon and current cast members like Kate McKinnon and Kenan Thompson. In fact, chances are if one were to randomly survey people on the street, each might conceivably offer a different pick for their favorite iteration of the SNL cast.
As usual, the presidential election year has raised SNL’s stock considerably, with the series’ impersonations of politicians like Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders garnering plenty of rave reviews. To cap off the campaign season, SNL famously brought in former Chappelle’s Show star Dave Chappelle to host the first episode following election day, with the once seemingly self-exiled comedian wowing audiences by tapping into some of that old magic in sketches, such as a genius parody of The Walking Dead.
Less than a month removed from Chappelle’s highly regarded debut as host of Saturday Night Live, the venerable sketch comedy show has added two more big names to its ever growing roster of first time emcees, per TVLine. First up is WWE superstar wrestler John Cena, a 15-time world champion in the popular scripted sport. In recent years, Cena has transcended the world of pro wrestling, appearing in multiple films and TV shows, both as characters and as himself. The most famous of Cena’s big-screen excursions is his supporting role in the 2015 Amy Schumer comedy Trainwreck. Cena also now hosts the FOX reality competition series American Grit.
Second on the first time SNL host docket is Oscar-nominated actor Casey Affleck, younger brother of Ben Affleck. While this will indeed be Casey’s first SNL hosting effort, Ben has hosted five times previously, so one assumes Casey was able to get some helpful advice on how to handle the gig from the elder Affleck. In addition to his nominated work in the verbosely titled The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Affleck has also appeared in films like Interstellar, the Ocean’s series, and this year’s acclaimed Manchester by the Sea.
It’s unlikely that either Cena or Affleck’s hosting outings will be met with as much anticipation as was Chappelle’s return to TV, but both actors still seem likely to adapt well to their environment. In addition to American Grit and WWE, Cena has hosted awards shows, co-hosted morning shows, and is a frequent guest on late night talk shows. In other words, the man knows how to be funny off the cuff. As for Affleck, he’s shown a chameleon-like ability to disappear into roles, which should suit him well in various SNL sketches.
Saturday Night Live featuring John Cena airs December 10 @11:30pm on NBC, while Casey Affleck hosts on December 17. Emma Stone hosts this Saturday, December 3.
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