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Recently, Saturday Night Live generated perhaps its biggest controversy in years when it hired (and later fired) comedian Shane Gillis. The internet firestorm over his hiring has overshadowed SNL’s hiring its first-ever featured player of fully Asian descent, Bowen Yang (famed SNL album Fred Armisen is partially Korean). It’s also overshadowed the immense diversity of amazing hosts and musical performers set to appear on SNL this season.
Hosts this season will include both actors long overdue for a mainstream spotlight and established household names. The season’s musical guests are generally household names, but one of them stands to bring an utterly unusual performance to the SNL stage. Find out who’s hosting and performing below.
Host: Woody Harrelson
Musical Guest: Billie Eilish
Woody Harrelson is no stranger to SNL. He hosted the sixth episode of season 40 in 2014, the same year he starred in the acclaimed first season of True Detective. That episode’s musical guest was Kendrick Lamar, who was still riding the high of his groundbreaking, inescapable album good kid, m.A.A.d city over a full year after its release.
This time around, Harrelson’s musical companion will instead be Billie Eilish, the 17-year-old relative newcomer whose performances are known for being as unusual as her recordings. Although her single “Bad Guy” eventually reached the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100, Eilish’s image as a goth, spider-loving internet teen may translate equally strangely and compellingly on the SNL stage.
Host: Phoebe Waller-Bridge
Musical Guest: Taylor Swift
Phoebe Waller-Bridge was nominated for one Emmy in 2018 and was up for three Emmys at this past weekend’s Primetime Emmy Awards, but her extremely dark comedic sensibilities have prevented her from fully entering the mainstream. After she hosts SNL for her first time on October 5th, that could change. Her morbid, bleak humor could prove an interesting match for the often family-friendlier comedic styles of SNL.
Returning to the SNL stage is Taylor Swift, the pop icon who has been all but inescapable this decade. Swift appeared on the show in both 2013 and 2017, and as she returns to the stage this time around, she’ll be armed with a new album, last month’s Lover. She’s also a huge fan of Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and her fandom could lead to some potentially fun moments.
Host: David Harbour
Musical Guest: Camila Cabello
Some Stranger Things fans think that the show’s third season ruined David Harbour’s character, Hawkins police chief Jim Hopper. Harbour himself remains in eternally good standing with fans and critics alike, an actor well-known for being a super nice guy. His solid sense of humor and generally good vibes are certain to make him an entertaining SNL host, even if he’s never previously hosted.
Also debuting on SNL is Camila Cabello, the pop star whose Shawn Mendes collab “Señorita” recently topped the Billboard Hot 100. Cabello has been a leading name in pop music for years now, but the success of “Señorita” may well be her peak to date, so this couldn’t be a better time for her to hit the SNL stage.
Which of these hosts and guests are you most excited about? Share your thoughts in the comments!