'Saturday Night Live' recap: If Betty White had hosted last night

Bowing to a grassroots movement to get the funniest senior citizen in show business front-and-center, SNL had Betty White host one of its best entries of the season last night. There was a peculiar cold-open in which Kenan Thompson played a live-action version of Cleveland from The Cleveland Show starring in a parody of The Blind Side. But Betty White started saving the show almost immediately. In her opening monologue, she claimed to be the “457th woman Tiger Woods slept with,” and offered a withering critique of his stiff apology from earlier this week.

There was the inevitable Golden Girls parody, with Abby Elliott playing Blanche and Jason Sudeikis looking fine as Bea Arthur’s Dorothy:

White showed just how spry she still is in an Olympics sketch, impersonating a skiing Lindsey Vonn. (Extra credit to Bill Hader for doing a fine version of a snowboarding, high-on-life Shaun White.)

Next up was a deft take-off on the recurring role White used to have on Boston Legal, with Darrell Hammond making an SNL cameo in James Spader’s role:

And in the fine tradition of SNL game-show parodies, there was a full-scale Match Game sketch, with White pretending to seize control of the show from host Gene Reyburn (a clever Will Forte). Note, too, how well Kristen Wiig is used as an extra-screechy version of The Bob Newhart Show‘s Marcia Wallace:

Musical guest Katharine McPhee was skull-crackingly dull.

Next week: Jennifer Lopez hosts.

[Do you wish Betty White would host SNL for real? Write to NBC and Lorne Michaels, or maybe you’ll want to join the Facebook group.]

For more: Exclusive: ‘SNL’ close to landing Betty White!

Betty White responds to SNL campaign

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Comments (73 total) Add your comment
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  • James

    That was frighteningly too real to an actual SNL show.

    • Glenn

      SNL needs more talented black comedians on the show. Kenan Thomson’s “Tiger Woods apology” sketch would have been a lot better if someone else had been playing Tiger.

      • Adam

        WE NEED BETTY WHITE! Can we possibly even have the Betty White show?!

    • Stephanie Tanner

      Without a “Mama’s Family” sit with Vicki Lawrence and Caroll Burnett and the gu who played Vint and Bubba the show will be a failure and not worth the time. Toss in Naomi while we are it.

  • Frank Anderson

    Boo! The first show I want to hear about this season and Ken’s write up feels slapped together in ten minutes!

    At least the links are You Tube links my iPhone can view.

    Come on Ken! You are better than this! This is an example of why you are the least consistant writer on this site.

    • JS

      Ummm . . . he’s not serious. ‘Tis a joke.

    • DiDi

      Uh, Frank. I think you missed the point. Did you even look at the videos? She’s hilarious!

      • Steve

        Frank, were you drunk when you read this??

        Ken, great idea. I wish Lorne Michaels would read this. I don’t understand why he WOULDN’T put her on??

      • Frank Anderson

        Lol! No I wasn’t drunk, but i had just woken up… Apparently I missed the “if” part.

      • CDT

        Don’t feel bad, Frank… I did the same thing. I was like, “What??? Betty hosted???” I even went to Hulu to see if I could catch the episode. Quite the gullible one am I.

  • AC

    Maybe I didn’t get enough sleep, but I didn’t see the show last night and I don’t understand this post at all. Did she host or not? Why are all the clips not of the sketches that Ken is describing in the text? I feel lost.

    • Gregoire

      You people need to get new brains.

    • Dave

      Seriously, are you not able to read? I really can’t handle it when people are this dumb.

    • AC

      My apologies — apparently missing one two letter word in the title to the post makes a HUGE difference in being able to understand the overall point. However, I do think there might have been a better way to point that out to me other than insulting my general intelligence.

  • Nicole

    Part of me thinks that SNL might not be saying yes to this idea just because it’s a popular opinion. But I also think they really don’t have a choice, since this season (and for some past) has been lame. But honestly, they’d be stupid not to have her on.)

  • Mz

    I want a GOSSIP GOLDEN GIRLS skit if she’s on SNL.

    • Ken Tucker

      Great idea!

  • Leela

    I’m confused about why the shot at Katharine McPhee was necessary.

    • jeff

      because she sucks?

      • Auth

        For the contact leenss, it would highly depend on how long it’s life is. Some leenss can be changed daily, some monthly and some leenss can be used for a much longer time.I would highly recommend the glasses as unlike contact leenss, the chances of you gettin an eye infection is much much lower. Though it maybe a bit more expensive, it can be used for the long run. So, go for the glasses first then when you have enough money again, go for the contact leenss. Just like me!

  • jmo

    I’m with James. Those skits are all relevant and would’ve been out n out funny. If anyone has seen Betty during those Comedy Central roasts, her Tiger Wood’s monologue would’ve killed the audience. Kudos to you Ken. If only it were real!!

  • miss k

    Ha ha, for a second, I was a little confused about this “recap”. But why the crack at Katherine McPhee? That made no sense.

    • maiv

      i’ve been reading ew and it seems that a lot of the staff doesn’t like her currently. inside joke maybe?

      • mart

        Kat McPhee will be around longer than EWwwwww magazine!!

      • HA

        Seriously doubt it.

  • Amanda

    This is great but you got one part wrong: Shaun White would obviously be played by Andy Samberg.

    • Ken Tucker

      Hmmm–I think you’re probably right, Amanda–thanks!

  • mart

    Betty White should host SNL and KATHARINE MCPHEE IS NOT DULL!!!!!!!!

    Who care what EW (ewwwww) thinks anyway?

    • CDT

      You do, apparently.

      • mart

        Apparently, you do too! As does Ewwww because why else would they mention her ?

      • Brian

        Shut up, mart.

  • Janet

    Okay, it took me a sec to get it, but I think you are very clever.

  • Snsetblaze

    Wierd, I turned on NBC and looked for SNL at the right time and it wasn’t there so I turned to something else. I would have wanted to see this.

  • maiv

    it seems that BW would be game for this, so it’s all up to lorne…i mean, we know who’s coming up, so just acquiesce to what the public wants!

  • traydenb

    No Mary Tyler Moore, Sue Ann Nivens Clips? Come one, that was one of her funniest characters? And what a skit for SNL, Sue Ann at the ripe age of 80 still doing her cooking show with a young male side-host for sexual flirtation only.

    • Tati

      LOVE THESE!!! In fact, these might be my favorite in a long time! Maybe it’s bscuaee they seem to young and hip things I wish I still were! *sigh* Beautiful pictures.

  • Rockmuse

    This would be a fun time to pull out a surprise guest shot with Justin Timberlake and a good time to pull out the “Cougars” sketch.

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