When Saturday Night Live returns with new episodes on October 3, Jim Carrey won’t be the only former In Living Color star to make an appearance. Former SNL cast member, Fargo star, and legendary stand-up comedian Chris Rock will be hosting the season 46 premiere. Megan Thee Stallion will be the episode’s musical guest.
Chris Rock became famous during his stint on Saturday Night Live, but he wasn’t on the show for very long. He was a regular for three seasons, or roughly 1/6th of Kenan Thompson’s time on the show. Despite introducing a couple of beloved characters, Rock wasn’t featured that prominently on the show, and left in 1993. He immediately became a recurring “guest star” on Fox’s sketch show In Living Color, appearing in six episodes in 1993 and 1994. After that he became one of the most beloved and acclaimed stand-up comedians of all time, and has written, acted in and directed various movies and TV shows. This will be his third time hosting SNL, and it comes at a big time for the show—it’ll be returning to live studio shows after the pandemic forced it to run three pretaped, “virtual” episodes in the Spring, and during the most contentious presidential election in decades. Expect to be inundated with links and embeds of the inevitable debate sketch from next week’s first episode, regardless of how good it actually winds up being.
SNL’s host rarely exerts that great of an influence upon an episode. Stand-ups like Rock tend to host the most memorable episodes, though, if only because their monologues are usually more personal and pointed, and because they sometimes participate in the writing process. It’s hard to get too excited about Saturday Night Live in 2020—and entirely justified to question the wisdom behind returning to the studio during a deadly pandemic that is far from over—but at least Lorne Michaels has picked one of the best possible hosts for the show’s return.
Here’s Rock’s monologue from the last time he hosted, back in 2014.