The 45th season of Saturday Night Live is humming right along. Phoebe Waller-Bridge has hosted. So has Woody Harrelson. Eddie Murphy is booked to make his big return to the show for the Christmas episode, which settles one of the long-running show’s longest-running topics of debate. And with that one out of the way, it frees all of us up to focus on new issues. New unanswered questions about who should host and when. Questions like, for example, should SNL let Guy Fieri host an episode at some point?
It’s a fair question. Should Saturday Night Live, a comedy institution in America for almost half of a century, invite Guy Fieri, noted spiky-haired Food Network cholesterol aficionado, host an episode of the show, possibly as soon as this year? Perhaps you have an opinion on this subject. Perhaps you shouted it at your screen as soon as you read the headline. Perhaps you are still shouting. Feel free to tucker yourself out with it. Get it all out of your system now because, below, I am going to present the case for and the case against letting Guy Fieri host SNL and it will be much easier if I don’t have to shout over you.
I will if I have to.
Well, first of all, to the extent this matters, which it does, Guy Fieri is extremely famous. So many people in so many demographics know who Guy Fieri is. Millennials with internet-ravaged brains know who Guy Fieri is. Baby Boomers with basic cable know who Guy Fieri is. Your mom knows who Guy Fieri is, and so does your Nana, probably. Even if they don’t know his name, they’d immediately recognize him if you showed them a picture or even if you just said “the spiky-haired Food Network dude.”
I’m not overstating this. Guy Fieri and the Food Network are ubiquitous in a way I don’t think all of us have fully wrapped our heads around. I was at the doctor’s office a couple of weeks ago and the television in the very crowded waiting room was playing Guy’s Grocery Games. People were into it. Old people, young people, different races and religions. I got into it at one point. The nurse called my name eventually and I almost shouted “NOT NOW, SAMANTHA JUST GRABBED A FROZEN TURKEY.” Guy Fieri is exactly the type of host who can bring Red State and Blue State eyeballs to the screen, which is apparently a thing the show is concerned about. A bunch of people would watch just out of curiosity. It would be a big deal. I promise you this.
Also: I think Guy Fieri would have fun with hosting Saturday Night Live. He’s not an actor or comedian, sure, fine, but neither is Charles Barkley and Charles Barkley is a terrific host. Hosting SNL has very little to do with actual sketch comedy talent and very much to do with committing to a bit and being a good sport. John McCain was a pretty solid SNL host. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning were pretty solid SNL hosts. There’s no reason Guy Fieri can’t do this. He’s definitely a good sport if he has his social media team doing stuff like this, and an even better sport if we all agree to go ahead and pretend Guy Fieri got really good at Photoshop and started doing it himself.
When the flavor is out of this world 🌎 👽🚀 pic.twitter.com/intg5HMzmI
— Guy Fieri (@GuyFieri) August 12, 2019
Lord in heaven knows it would give the writers plenty of material, too. There is so much to work with and, again, so many people who will get the references without needing them all explained. Give me ten cast members in spiky wigs at the Fieri Family Reunion. There’s one sketch. Give me Guy at the barbershop with a new barber who “has some ideas” about a new look. Boom, two sketches. Give me one where Guy is filming the Triple D intro where he’s driving down a desert highway and talking to the camera and whoops he rear-ends another car because he wasn’t looking at the road and things get dark and weird very fast. Three sketches. This took me ten minutes. I’m sure the staff can top these with a full week to work on it. Come on. Let Guy Fieri host.
Oh, are you worried that Guy Fieri can’t be funny, though? Hmm. Interesting. Look at this picture.
Guy Fieri is hilarious even when he’s not trying to be just because he’s Guy Fieri. I don’t mean that in a negative way. Put him in any situation. Put him in any situation. Guy Fieri playing flag football: hilarious. Guy Fieri testifying in front of Congress: hilarious. Guy Fieri in a spaceship headed to Mars where he meets an alien who thinks all humans look and act like him: hilarious. He’s a perfectly unique person, so much so that just his presence in a room changes the entire dynamic. He’s funny at zero. There aren’t many of those out there.
We’ve all been kind of mean about it, too. You’ve seen the jokes. You’ve made them. So have I. And what has Guy Fieri ever done to deserve them besides wear a flame-covered shirt and drive around the country to spotlight small businesses that are constantly in danger of getting swallowed up by an ever-spreading infestation of cookie-cutter international chain restaurants? Not a thing. He’s by almost all accounts a perfectly nice man who loves cheeseburgers and restaurants owned by weirdos and/or grandmas. We’ve been too hard on Guy Fieri. We should make it up to him. We should let him host Saturday Night Live.
I can see it now. Thanksgiving episode. Cold open. Some politics thing. Alec Baldwin as Trump. Anyone who has it recorded on their DVR just fast-forwards through it, two arrows minimum, maybe three if you’re feeling peppery. There’s no time for that. There are important matters to get to. Matters like: Guy Fieri walks out for his monologue and promptly drops a whole turkey into a deep fryer as he delivers his jokes. They say comedy, especially live comedy, is about raising the stakes. Well, show me higher stakes than deep-frying a turkey in bubbling, flammable oil inside a crowded studio that is inside a skyscraper that is in the center of Manhattan. Toss in one or two nervous glances at the fryer by Kenan Thompson and there you go.
It’s almost too easy.
I had a whole thing outlined here about why SNL should not let Guy Fieri host the show, but I really talked myself into all of this now. The only downside I see is that the monologue idea I just mentioned might burn down Rockefeller Center. That’s a risk we’ll just have to live with, I guess.
Ah, come on. Make the call, Lorne.