Twenty-one individuals took turns gracing the stage of Studio 8H to host a week of the long-running “Saturday Night Live.” The 47th season seemed to be middle-of-the-road compared to former years, but the dominant showing of male performers in contrast to the female ones seemed to stick out more so this time around.
The newest season kicked off in October with Owen Wilson, followed by Kim Kardashian. Eight celebrities took the “SNL” stage before Christmas break, and the only other woman to host during that period was Billie Eilish, who also served as the musical guest. Of the 21 guests this season, seven were women, two of whom played double duty as musical guests: Eilish and Lizzo.
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In the season’s 21-person cast of regular and featured players, nine were women, two of whom exited at the end of the season — Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant. The last time the number of women hosting “SNL” cracked double digits, with 10 or more, was in 2009 (season 35), which came one year after one of its worst showings with three.
In the Emmy realm, when it comes to its submissions for guest actor in a comedy series, in the past decade an “SNL” host has won six times — Dave Chappelle (2021 and 2017), Eddie Murphy (2020), Jimmy Fallon (2014 and 2013) and Justin Timberlake (2012).
Women have won guest actress in a comedy series five times — Maya Rudolph (2020, 2021), Tiffany Haddish (2018), Melissa McCarthy (2017), Tina Fey & Amy Poehler (2016).
If you go by viewership, the submissions for NBC should be a no-brainer. Eilish had the season’s highest ratings when she hosted the Christmas episode. In order of the episode ratings, the next highest-rated hosts are Paul Rudd, Ariana DeBose, Willem Dafoe and Jonathan Majors (tied), Kieran Culkin, Jake Gyllenhaal, Will Forte, John Mulaney and Simu Liu.
Of course, you can argue that it’s not just about the ratings, as shown by the impeccable performances of Jerrod Carmichael, Lizzo and Oscar Isaac during their respective weeks. “SNL” doesn’t confirm which guests are being submitted until the Emmys release their official eligibility list when nomination voting opens — a tactical move that avoids any perceived backlash from critics and fans.
The sketch comedy series, in recent memory, never submitted all its hosts, typically leaning toward stand-up comedians or former cast members. Last year, 11 hosts were submitted, three of whom were women — Anya-Taylor Joy didn’t make the cut, Kristen Wiig was nominated and Maya Rudolph won. Chappelle won among eight male hosts, with Alec Baldwin, Daniel Kaluuya and Dan Levy receiving nominations.
When looking at the coveted “Five-Timers Club,” the group of performers that have hosted at least five times, 23 people are represented — 18 men and five women. The last even male and female split host year was the 2003-04 season.
So, who should the awards teams have submitted? On the men’s side, it would be nearly unforgivable not to have given a chance for the Emmys to recognize Carmichael and Isaac, with Benedict Cumberbatch also a worthy entrant.
It may seem like a cop-out for the women, but all delivered during their brief stints, and with only seven in the mix — a lineup that consisted of a majority of them would not be a poor showing in the slightest. Nonetheless, “SNL” needs to make more thoughtful measures to balance the scale with its iconic platform.
Emmy predictions are updated every Thursday on Variety’s Awards Circuit pages.
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