Saturday Night Live is funny. I don't mean that it "was funny when we were younger," or "used to be funny in the 90s," or any other premature eulogy you may overhear. I mean that SNL is currently funny right now. (Well, not right now, but at 11:30 -1:00 on Saturday Nights.) On a weekly basis this season, the sketch premises and writing have been thoroughly entertaining, but there is one occurrence, or to be more specific- person, that always seems to make SNL better. That person, you may have guessed from this post's headline and his recent weekend update and digital short appearances, is Justin Timberlake. Consequently, there is one simple thing SNL must do to solidify their place at the top of the sketch comedy heap. Saturday Night Live should hire Justin Timberlake as a cast member.
I realize that with two parties involved, there are two hurdles to overcome here. The first question is for Saturday Night Live. Would they benefit from having someone this ubiquitous as a regular player? The second issue belongs to Justin Timberlake. Why would an eminently talented music superstar and film actor want to limit himself to television? Let's deal with SNL first.
Saturday Night Live has a complicated history with hiring people who are already famous. Without rehashing "The Stars Come Out": 1980-1985" chapter from Tom Shales' must-read work, Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live, Lorne Michaels does not like to hire already well known people. This type of casting is associated with a different era of SNL, an era run by Dick Ebersol, at a time where SNL was assumed to be having its final hurrah. In fact, Lorne Michaels' return to the show basically ended that approach to cast members.
Notwithstanding, couldn't Lorne Michaels change his policy here? For one thing, we are not talking about hiring an entire cast of celebrities; this would be only one famous cast member. It's also important to consider how good Justin Timberlake has been on the show and that it seems the cast likes and fits in well with him. Saturday Night Live has been good enough on its own merits to hire Justin Timberlake without it coming off as a cheap publicity ploy.
As far as Justin Timberlake himself, at first glance it seems that he wouldn't need this gig. Logically, he shouldn't take a job to appear on SNL. By all means, he has music, he has movies, he has Jessica Biel, and he has no compelling reason to become a cast member. Except for one thing: I think he wants it. Anyone who has seen him perform with the cast can tell that on a level of pure enjoyment and fulfillment, a part of Justin Timberlake wants to be performing in comedy sketches. I think Justin Timberlake yearns to be a cast member on Saturday Night Live.
This should be Lorne Michaels' mission. Lorne Michaels needs to find out what must be done to get Justin Timberlake on SNL on a regular basis. If he can only appear in half the season's episodes, hire him. If he can only commit to half the week with the cast, hire him. If it means we can't have Cameron Diaz cougar cameos, it is a sacrifice that must be made.
So, please, Saturday Night Live, hire Justin Timberlake. The possibility is so exciting, I might just... well, you know.
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