There are always a few must see episodes of SNL a year, those few and far-between outings where a rock-solid, experienced host is at the helm, the writers know what they can handle, and the audience knows what to expect. No doubt we’ll see a few such episodes in SNL’s 39th season (Messrs. Baldwin, Hanks, Timberlake, and Hamm are standing by their phones) but which of Hollywood’s younger crowd will get their chance to surprise and amuse us on their first go-around at Studio 8H? Here are some possibilities:
This seems like and obvious slam dunk pick, but unfortunately the suddenly everywhere Kendrick might not have much to promote, and her busy filming schedule might keep her out of New York on Saturdays at 11:30pm. That’d be a shame, because the Pitch Perfect star is quickly becoming one of the most engaging and charming celebrities around. If she can’t host can we at least get her as a musical guest?
Kendrick’s Drinking Buddies co-star never seems to let her string of box-office disappointments get her down. In interviews this drop-dead gorgeous star is refreshingly down-to-earth and her quick wit and lively humor are perfect for SNL. If nothing else, her fiancé could put in a good word for her.
The closest thing to a lead on Modern Family, one of TV’s biggest hits. His co-star Sofia Vergara took her turn last year, and now it’s time for Burrel to get a shot.
I thought this would happen last year, but Kaling’s buzzed about sitcom The Mindy Project was greeted by tepid reviews. The show took some time to grow into itself, but it’s getting better and attracting some big name guest stars. If the ratings improve, Kaling’s star might shine bright enough for Lorne Michaels to notice.
The annual ritual: the return of the prodigal son (or sometimes daughter, cf. Wiig, Kristen last year). There are plenty of candidates for the slot this year (and personally I’d prefer Bill Hader) but Samberg is the one with a new sitcom, albeit on the FOX network.
Breaking Bad is ending, and I’m sure the cast and crew at SNL are big fans. They’ve already had Cranston on, perhaps they’ll give his co-star a chance?
Chloe Grace Moretz
This preternaturally talented young actress is starring in the Carrie remake and displayed her comedic talents in an impressive guest stint on 30 Rock.
I can’t confirm this, but I’m pretty sure the Emmy-winning Game of Thrones star would be the shortest guest host in SNL history. He'd also probably be pretty great at it.
I couldn’t believe she hadn’t hosted already, but it’s true. The Oscar winner could take the plunge in order to promote Gravity, the sci-fi action-adventure movie she’s starring in with George Clooney. Of course, it's extremely doubtful that she hasn't been asked, since she's been a box-office draw for 20 years already. Maybe she's shy?
New Girl's Nick Miller is officially the third of Drinking Buddies' star quartet that I've tapped as a potential host. (Sorry Ron Livingston.) New Girl started as a star vehicle for Zooey Deschanel (who hosted last year) but is not a true ensemble thanks to the talents of Johnson and Max Greenfield (who would also be a fine host.)
Scandal is a hit, apparently, and Ms. Washington is the first African-American woman to star as the lead of a prime-time drama in a period of time long enough to cause even network executives embarrassment. I have no idea if she can be funny, but it's probably worth finding out.
Just About Anyone From Parks & Rec (Besides Amy Poehler and Rob Lowe)
Poehler and Lowe get excluded merely because they have already hosted. But just about anyone else in the cast would make a great choice. (Except Jerry, of course.) Aubrey Plaza’s weirdness might make for a disastrous show, but it would be fascinating television. Chris Pratt’s manic hijinks would be lots of fun. Rashida Jones is smart, lovely, and would probably welcome the chance to play something besides Poehler’s straight-woman. Nick Offerman might not be a household name, but Ron Swanson should be. Retta probably isn’t going to get an invite, so we’ll have to settle for reading her live-tweeting of whichever co-star gets the gig.
Just About Anyone from Community
Donald Glover is leaving, but he'd be a phenomenal host, even if he'd want to quit halfway through and be the musical guest instead. Joel McHale would probably deliver a very good monologue at least, and who wouldn't want more Gillian Jacobs or Alison Brie on their television? Danny Pudi and Yvette Nicole Brown seem unlikely, but they can stop by for a walk-on during the monologue.
But only if they figure out a way for all six of her to appear live simultaneously. Honestly, Maslany is a long shot, but after being wowed by her performance in BBC America's Orphan Black, I'm curious to see more from her. Her Parks & Rec guest spot will go a long way to determining whether she can be funny.
So those are my wishes for SNL Season 39. What are yours?