If you lose an ovary, do you gain a testicle? It’s a riddle as old as time and one Saturday Night Live is about to find the answer to come November. Following the 2008 Presidential Election Amy Poehler will call it quits at SNL, ending a 7 year tenure that has coincided with the show’s return to relevance. Poehler will first go on maternity leave then join the cast of the new spinoff of “The Office.”
As Poehler leaves, SNL finds its arsenal of weapons nearly depleted. Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Kristin Wiig helmed the show’s voyage back on to the cultural radar of the country. Nowhere else on television, let alone in the history of Saturday Night Live, could women be seen with such a central role in comedy. Not so much was it that Fey, Poehler and Wiig were funny for women, they were genuinely the stars of the show, providing the best performances, delivering the best lines, nailing the punch lines and sketches you talked about at work on Monday. Sure, Samberg, Forte and Meyers were funny too, but their brand of college humor worked better when tempered by Fey and Poehler at the Update Desk or Wiig as the nervous and insecure Penelope. With Poehler gone, though, and Wiig left alone as the only notable female, what’s going to happen to the show? Who’s going to inherit the limelight? A look below at the candidates for The Chair.
1. Fred Armisen.
Armisen and Will Forte joined SNL as members of the same 2002 class. Their tenures have been good but unfortunately not memorable. Armisen’s portayal of a high school dramaturg performing a forensics sketch on gossip was as virtuosic as Alec Baldwin’s multiple personality performance as Tracey Morgan’s family in 30 Rock. Unfortunately, he’s too nuanced to be an SNL headliner.
2. Will Forte.
I mean, the Macgruber sketches are hilarious, but Forte’s strength as the awkward guy just barely holding on won’t cut it as the lead.
Verdict: No chance.
3. Bill Hader.
Bill Hader definitely has a chance of emerging as the dominant star of the show. Since his earliest appearances he’s proven himself a skilled impressionist and certifiable performer. He can’t do it alone, though. A lot will depend on whom Lorne Michaels chooses to surround him with.
Verdict: Most likely.
4. Andy Samberg.
Samberg stormed out of the gates as the most likely to inherit the frat boy throne of Adam Sandler and Jimmy Fallon. But is his ironic, throw-away humor compelling enough to lead a show?
Verdict: Probably Not.
5. Jason Sudeikis.
Dude’s funny. His turn as Flloyd on 30 Rock was great. But Sudeikis excels as the Everyman. I’m not sure his archive of characters is deep enough to carry a show as varied as SNL.
At the end of the day it looks like there’s going to be a piece missing at the top of the SNL pyramid. With no one waiting in the wings the show looks poised to default on the promise it gave at the end of the 2007-2008 season. Poehler’s gone; Fey’s gone; Wiig’s left to hold down the Forte. The prognosis isn’t good for SNL post-Poehler, unless John McCain wins. If you lose an ovary, do you gain a testicle? Yeah, a bunch. Sarah Palin’s loco and has un oeuf nuts in that cabeza to give us all scrotums. What? I need more coffee. Yeesh.