SNL: John Mulaney’s fourth time hosting will be the most challenging

John Mulaney (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for IFC)
John Mulaney (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for IFC) /

John Mulaney is a pro at hosting Saturday Night Live by now but this time will be different

It’s hard to believe but we’ve already reached the fifth week of Saturday Night Live in season 46. The show has done its best to adjust to the new normal and part of that success has been thanks to who has been asked to host. That trend continues this week with John Mulaney but the reliable comedian is facing some unfamiliar challenges.

After an incredible run as a writer at SNL, Mulaney hosted for the first time in 2018. This week will mark his fourth time back at Studio 8H. He’s become a go-to host for the show and deservedly so. He is not only one of the best comedians working right now but he’s a fan-favorite and knows how SNL works as well as anyone.

He’ll need that experience to come through for him this week. Between the timing of the episode and the ongoing pandemic, there is a lot of pressure on Saturday Night Live to deliver.

John Mulaney hosts the last Saturday Night Live before the election

Saturday Night Live is experiencing another bump in ratings thanks to the election. In no coincidence, the season 46 premiere was its highest-rated since 2016. Audiences have been tuning in to see Jim Carrey as former Vice President Joe Biden and possibly the end of Alec Baldwin’s run as President Donald Trump.

Given that the election is on Nov. 3, this week will be SNL’s final chance to comment on the election before it happens. The show is much more prepared for a Trump victory than in 2016 but has not been subtle in indicating its hopes for 2020.

There is the potential for this to be the most-watched episode of the season so far. Chances are that the first post-election episode will outperform it but that remains to be seen. The pressure is on SNL and John Mulaney to deliver on Nov. 1 before America casts its ballots on Nov. 3.

The pandemic could impact what John Mulaney can do as host of SNL

Politics aside, there is one thing most fans will be looking for this weekend: another musical from John Mulaney. “Diner Lobster,” “Bodega Bathroom,” and “Airport Sushi” are wildly popular and demonstrate Mulaney’s very specific sense of humor.

These sketches have involved a number of cast members along with big sets and detailed costumes. You’d also have to imagine that they require more rehearsal time than your average SNL sketch.

We know from behind-the-scenes looks at SNL that things are a little different due to the pandemic. Table reads and rehearsals adhere to social distancing guidelines. The number of people allowed in the studio are limited. And the number of performers in a given sketch hasn’t quite been the same.

With all that being said, it may be difficult for Mulaney to pull off another musical number. It is not an impossible task but fans should brace themselves for a break from Mulaney’s musicals. Then again, the effect of the pandemic on New York City may have provided just the inspiration Mulaney needed for a fourth installment.

John Mulaney is also hosting the Halloween episode of SNL

Holidays are always a big part of what Saturday Night Live does. The show has a long history of some fantastic Halloween sketches including “David S. Pumpkins” with Tom Hanks. The combination of Halloween, the pandemic, and the election means that audiences will be looking for something special from SNL and John Mulaney.

This will be the first time SNL has aired a new episode on Oct. 31 since 1992 when Catherine O’Hara hosted along with musical guest 10,000 Maniacs.

There is already enough on SNL’s plate this week so hoping for a David S. Pumpkins-esque character may be asking too much. But fans will be looking forward to what John Mulaney and the others come up with for Halloween, even if celebrations are a bit more muted this year.

So between the election, the pandemic, Halloween, and living up to his past success, John Mulaney is facing a number of challenges in his fourth time as host. But there is a reason Saturday Night Live turned to the comedian for this particular show and there is no reason to think he won’t deliver.

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What are your expectations for John Mulaney and Saturday Night Live this week? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. Be sure to check back with Last Night On for a full recap of the episode.