I wish I understood where my reasoning for this article originated. Seriously. I rewrote this introduction several times, and every attempt made less sense than the last. Video game characters on the most revered late-night television show in history? Why? I’m blaming Bowen Yang and his Persona 5 reels on Instagram.
Anyway, Saturday Night Live is an integral part of American pop culture. So are video games. Therefore, a world where video game characters could host SNL is a world I’d love to live in. With my shaky reasoning out of the way, here are some fan-favorite characters I want to see host SNL.
10 Hatsune Miku
Pop stars and Saturday Night Live go hand in hand, giving us some of the series’ most memorable moments. Consider Paul Simon in a turkey costume, Ariana Grande single-handedly saving Tidal with impeccable impressions, Justin Timberlake in pretty much everything: all brilliant comedy.
So, of course, Hatsune Miku, the Vocaloid idol, would make a fun and quirky double-duty host, also serving as a musical guest. What’s great about this diva is that she’s a computer program that will sing anything, whether it’s a Dick-In-A-Box sequel or a heartfelt ballad. All the writers need to do is type her lyrics. Then, boom! She’s memorized them and ready to go. Talk about performance ready.
I don’t know how many sketches you can write consisting of the words “Pika,” “Pika-Pee,” “Chu,” and the like. Still, if the Pokémon anime’s done it since 1997, the writers over at 30 Rock can handle a little one-hour chunk of live TV. (A Please Don’t Destroy short about toiling to write for Pikachu could be some fun meta-commentary).
If all else fails and the show is a (Liz) lemon, at least Pikachu will still be Pikachu. It’s like animals and babies on stage. They’re mesmerizing because they’re present in the moment. Who could hate on a cute, electrified rodent thing hosting a comedy show? I couldn’t.
8 Little Mac
Another category of SNL hosts is athletes. They don’t always have the stage presence and comedic chops of actors and singers, but they’re team players that take direction well. Plus, it’s always a blast to see highly competitive, disciplined people poke fun at themselves.
Little Mac is one of video game’s most recognizable athletes (that isn’t a replicated athlete in a 2K game). Plus, Mac’s seen some things. For example, he went toe to toe with Mike Tyson. Imagine if he met one of Tyson’s White Bengal Tigers? There’s an odd Joe Exotic boxing parody wrapped up in that.
7 Mike Haggar
Many politicians have graced Studio 8H’s stage, including Bernie Sanders, John McCain, and Hillary Clinton. But what about athletes-turned-politicians? Mike Haggar of Final Fight and Saturday Night Slam Masters fame is a wrestler and former mayor of Metro City, a direct parallel of The Big Apple. So, he’s a shoo-in to host SNL.
Wrestlers are fantastic actors. They create outrageous characters, perform elaborate stunts, and know their way around crowd work. For instance, look at Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. He’s a member of the five-timers club! If there was an SNL equivalent in Metro City, I feel Haggar would also be in their five-timers club.
6 Tom Nook
Another flavor of SNL hosts, regrettably, are billionaires. So, I strongly feel that Animal Crossing’s money-making raccoon would buy his way into hosting the show. But Tom Nook is nowhere near deplorable as Elon Musk or Donald Trump. So, at least there’s that.
And if Nook can get KK Slider to serve as musical guest, then I would say his hosting was worth it.
She’s witty, spunky, and has one of the best songs in gaming. So, it makes sense that GLaDOS, the scheming AI from the Portal series, hosts live from New York on Saturday Night!
GLaDOS would make a great asset on SNL for multiple reasons. First, of course, she could sing her two singles, “Still Alive” and “I Want You Gone,” as a musical guest. However, her dead-pan one-liners would make her a perfect fit sitting beside Colin Jost and Michael Che on Weekend Update.
4 Mario And Luigi
Mario and Luigi have paid their dues and then some. This duo is as memorable as many of comedy’s most significant partnerships, like Abbott and Costello, Cheech and Chong, and Tina and Amy. So, it’s about time these gaming legends hosted SNL.
Mario and Luigi have great chemistry, know how to roll with the punches, and can turn a dull night into a (Mario) Party! Plus, the Super Mario Brothers and company deserve a piece of revenge for that stale Wario court sketch.
3 Lara Croft
Lara Croft has fought dinosaurs, prevented a Mayan apocalypse, and even scaled the Great Pyramid. But can she survive the trials of Studio 8H? Let’s be honest. Hosting SNL is likely a piece of cake for the famed Tomb Raider compared to her earlier accomplishments.
With so much lived experience under her belt, the material for Lara’s episode writes itself. For instance, Lara fought an otherworldly being with Thor’s hammer. That’s an opening monologue in and of itself. Furthermore, Croft’s dry sense of humor would make her a great straight-woman, similar to the Queen Of Deadpan, Jane Curtin.
2 PaRappa The Rapper
Scrappy rays of sunshine that spit rhymes make great SNL hosts. It’s what made Lin Manuel Miranda such a wonderful host back in 2016. (I’m still chuckling over Crucible Cast Party.) So, if I were to find a close video game equivalent, PaRappa The Rapper would fit the bill.
Plus, picture the awesome Um Jammer Lammy collab that PaRappa could do for the musical performances. You gotta believe that would make for an epic show!
1 Johnny Cage
Of all the Hollywood stars deserving of a guest host position on SNL, one of Earthrealm’s defenders is an obvious pick. Johnny Cage is an action star whose skill set combines Jean-Claude Van Damme’s stunts with Bob Saget’s raunchy dad humor. Who else would find pleasure in turning a corpse into a ventriloquist dummy?
Young Johnny Cage may have been a pain to work with, but Daddy Cage is a much wiser man. Life and fatherhood humbled him, making him one of the most loveable characters in the Mortal Kombat series. And speaking of fatherhood, you know Chloe Fineman would bring out her best Cassie Cage impression for this show.