Kristen Wiig is to host “Saturday Night Live” on May 11, one year after leaving the late-night sketch comedy series. She was a regular cast member from 2005 to 2012 and during her tenure she became a breakout star, co-writing a blockbuster film (“Bridesmaids“) and reaping an Oscar bid for Best Original Screenplay.
She also earned four consecutive Emmy nominations for Best Comedy Supporting Actress. Since 2008, sketch-comedy performers have entered as comedy supporting actors. In 2009, after the Emmys eliminated the Individual Variety Performance category, “SNL” hosts started entering the guest-acting races. This has resulted in very bad luck for “SNL’s” regular stars, but very good luck for its hosts.
Since the category changes, “SNL” has lost all seven of its supporting nominations, spread between Wiig (2009-2012), Amy Poehler (2008-2009), and Bill Hader (2012). But, in the last four years, the series’s hosts have won five out of the eight guest acting awards: Tina Fey (2009), Justin Timberlake (2009, 2011), Betty White (2010), and Jimmy Fallon (2012).
This disparity can be attributed to the way nominees are judged. Actors submit sample episodes to Emmy voters. Guest hosts have the benefit of 90-minute shows built almost entirely around them, while regular cast members divide sketches more evenly between them, giving each of them markedly less screentime in an individual episode.
That disadvantages “SNL” regulars, who compete against TV supporting actors with more screentime and consistent storylines, while the opposite is true for hosts. Consider last year’s Comedy Guest Actor race, where Fallon’s screentime in his winning “SNL” episode was greater than the other five nominees combined.
That could be good news for Wiig, especially when you consider how well “SNL” usually treats its alums when they return as hosts. With four nominations already under her belt, she has proved herself to be an Emmy favorite, and with a potential 90-minute showcase of new and classic characters, she may be tough to beat this time around.
What do you think? Review all the Comedy Guest Actress contenders and make your predictions here.