Will Ferrell has to be towards the top of any list of Saturday Night Live cast members who went on to meet post-show success. Tonight at 11:30pm on NBC, Will returns to Studio 8-H where he spent 7 seasons (1995 – 2002) as a part of SNL to host the show for a fourth time. His last time hosting SNL was May, 2012, so it’s been awhile since this one of Saturday Night Live‘s favorite sons has been back to helm the show. However, in a season filled with so many first-time hosts, Ferrell definitely won’t have to be caught up to speed on how the live series works.
A lot of tonight’s fun is going to be watching to see how many of Will Ferrell’s classic SNL characters are revisited and also how many cameo performances are added to tonight’s show to highlight the host’s return to the variety series. Tonight, the cold open seems like a perfect and obvious choice for Will Ferrell’s critically acclaimed and Emmy award-nominated impersonation of President George W. Bush. If Alec Baldwin can be lured back to SNL, (he hasn’t had an appearance portraying President Donald Trump since the December 16, 2017 episode), it would be a great meeting of Presidential impressions, with Ferrell’s “W” arriving in the Oval Office to gloat about having higher approval ratings than Trump, despite leaving the White House with near-record low popularity.
Other familiar Will Ferrell characters and impressions that would cause a pop with the live audience, viewers at home and on social media, include the late singer Robert Goulet, TV therapist Dr. Phil, the Dad who demands respect for driving a Dodge Stratus, James Lipton from “Inside the Actor’s Studio“, and Weekend Update favorites- late baseball commentator Harry Caray and Jacob Silj who can’t control the volume of his voice due to “Voice Immodulation Syndrome.” And of course, we could almost guarantee Ferrell hosting a round of the classic SNL sketch, “Celebrity Jeopardy!” as the frustrated Alex Trebeck who must deal with clueless celebrity players, including fellow SNL alumnus Darrell Hammond’s abusive Sean Connery.
Like “Celebrity Jeopardy!” with Hammond, many of Will Ferrell’s popular Saturday Night Live characters were part of duo which could mean cameos from other former SNL cast members as well. Characters like singing duo and Altadena Middle School music teachers Marty and Bobbi Culp, performed with Ana Gasteyer, the high school “Spartan Cheerleaders”, Craig and Arianna, performed with Cheri Oteri, “Dog Show” hosts David Larry & Miss Colleen played by Ferrell and Molly Shannon, the Butabi Brothers from “A Night at the Roxbury” with Chris Kattan, and the “Love-ahs”- Roger and Virginia Klarvin which Ferrell performed with Rachel Dratch. The appearance of any of these would have audiences cheering. One thing that has to be watched for though, is the problem of “Returning to Host SNL Let-Down,” where fans are so excited about a former cast member returning to host SNL that it can’t possibly meet expectations and fans immediately post their disappointment.
News items and stories that may find their way on to the show and Weekend Update tonight include the government shutdown, the upcoming Super Bowl between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots, the Oscar nominations including the affect of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, and Reba McEntire as KFC’s latest Colonel Sanders.
In the first of the promos released to promote tonight’s new SNL, it’s a trip down memory lane with a montage of the Will Ferrell’s funniest Saturday Night Live moments including his now iconic “Cowbell” sketch. The next promo is another montage of Will Ferrell’s SNL characters, however these are performed by cast member Leslie Jones and boy does her “Steve Butabi” need work. And finally, Will is joined by musical guest Chris Stapleton to promote SNL and talk wine. Shout out to 101.9 FM – The Max!
Will Ferrell hosts an all-new Saturday Night Live which is live across all time zones, with musical guest Chris Stapleton, tonight at 11:30pm on NBC.