There is something to be said for the fact that SNL’s host makes a difference each week. The entire concept of having a celebrity host is really a flawed one; it brings in big names, and ratings, but the comedy itself can often falter. When you have someone come in who doesn’t have comic timing, the show basically falls apart. It limits what the writers are able to work with, and it basically handicaps the program. It’s why the show has so many legacy hosts: Christopher Walken and Alec Baldwin each have fantastic comic timing, and the result is that they’ve each hosted numerous times. It’s also why, often, the show likes to bring back former cast members to host after they’ve made it big.
Well, Molly Shannon (IMDB) returning isn’t exactly because she made it big (The movie she’s promoting, Year of the Dog, is still fairly smalltime), but the fact remains that it’s a smart decision from a creative point of view. Well, okay, from a comic point of view, as relying on her past hit characters isn’t exactly “creative”, but the fact remains that Molly Shannon can do what few hosts can: flawlessly interject into sketches without it seeming forced. She can star in one, taking it over completely, and yet effortlessly play a supporting role when it is required of her. But did it result in a good show?