11 May 2009
In an SNL season that has been wildly uneven post-election, where even the best hosts seemed poor served by bad material (Alec Baldwin’s underwhelming hosting gig comes to mind, as does the very up-and-down turn served by Neil Patrick Harris; in both cases, the hosts themselves were fine, but the material just didnt live up to the awesomeness they were supplying), it turns out two men can save us all: First, we had Dawyne “The Rock” Johnson, chewing up scenery and doing by far the best Obama impression seen on the show as The Rock Obama (Barack’s Hulk-like alter ego). And it was great, because Johnson has exactly the zany sort of charisma that works as a host. But it was nothing compared to this week’s saviour:
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE. One of the best things about SNL‘s hosts is getting to see performers you like turn into performers you love thanks to their flexibility and range and intense comedic timing, and there’s no case stronger for that than JTim. Thanks to SNL‘s capacity for showcasing his considerable talent and charisma, he went from being my favorite *NSync’er to one of my all time favorite performers. He’s an all singing, all dancing, all hilarious one man spectacular, and this week’s hosting gig was no exception. From his opening musical number, that saw him effortlessly ad-libbing with the crowd while parodying himself, to the new Digital Short destined for glory, “Motherlover,” Justin Timberlake once again proved why he’s the King of Popular Culture today, and why people should really give Southland Tales another shot. Not only does he effortlessly fill out skits and characters already created (often making me forget he’s the same teen idol my schoolmates used to have all over their rooms with big fake lipstick kisses on him), but he’s steadily building up a repertoire of Justin Timberlake characters that are wholly his and wholly awesome.