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Louis C.K. has more sketch comedy experience up his sleeve than you think

While an undeniable comedic genius, Louis C.K. is not well-known for his wild, wacky array of characters or impressions, so it was weird (though not unpleasant) to hear that he'd be hosting Saturday Night Live on November 3. But recall that the show thrived on hiring standup comedians in the early 1990s -- and they nearly hired Louis C.K. Splitsider has the award-winning comedian's history with the show, including his contributions to TV Funhouse, and why it doesn't seem like such a strange idea after all. (via Splitsider) Jamie

Seth MacFarlane tapped for the Oscars

Very groovy news coming through the entertainment pipeline this morning as we find out who will host the Oscars: Seth MacFarlane! The Family Guy and American Dad creator, who just opened up Saturday Night Live's new season with a bang, has been chosen to host the next Academy Awards telecast early next year. Hopefully, he will show up to rehearsal this time! (video link)

And speaking of Saturday Night Live, they have announced their October lineup of hosts and musical guests: This Saturday, October 6 will be Daniel Craig with musical guest Muse, October 13 will be Christina Applegate -- coming back for her second time as host -- with musical guest Passion Pit, and October 20 will welcome Bruno Mars, who will do double duty as host and musical guest. (That would have been such a great Digital Short, so can Andy Samberg and Co. please come back to do just one? If anyone knows the correct person to bribe, please let me know.)

Seth MacFarlane's Big News [Oscars on YouTube]

Saturday Night Live's Backstage Blog

The Saturday Night Live reality show that (thankfully) wasn't

Bradford Evans at Splitsider has delved into the aborted attempt at an American Idol-style competition show in which the ultimate prize was becoming an actual featured player on Saturday Night Live. It was 2005, and it almost happened, but it didn't because for just one important moment, an angel appeared on Lorne Michaels' shoulder and said, "Don't do this." And Lorne listened. That angel got its wings that day, and they were the fanciest, fastest, and strongest wings that ever carried a celestial being. (via Splitsider) Jamie

Saturday Night Live recap: Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Mumford & Sons

The last time Joseph Gordon-Levitt hosted Saturday Night Live, he turned out to be a great host -- genuinely funny, happy to be there, ready to do anything that was thrown at him, and then doing it well. And he even did a Donald O'Connor-style song and dance number in his monologue. This time, he was a bit wasted in mediocre sketches, but at least they weren't bad. The enthusiastic host with the clear comedic talent just could have been put to better use. Far from a bad show, but I like to see a bit more from such a cool guest.

Mumford & Sons was the musical guest, and they sounded great. But I'll abstain from reviewing their sets, since I'm writing about a comedy show and not a concert. They did, however, show up in one sketch, and that is always fun.

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Saturday Night Live recap: Seth MacFarlane and Frank Ocean

Last night, NBC's Saturday Night Live returned early to get a head start on the presidential election season. And not only did it spend considerable time on the topic, it introduced us to three new cast members and shiny new opening credits! Our host for the 38th season premiere was Seth MacFarlane, creator of Family Guy and director of Ted, with musical guest Frank Ocean. Here is how I'm approaching this recap, ladies and gents: I like this show, and I laughed a lot at stuff that was on it last night. And now, I'm going to tell you about what made me laugh the most, and which sketches I could have replaced with five minutes of brushing my teeth. But here is my recap in a nutshell: this was a good one! And it started with a former Barack Obama impersonator passing the baton to a new one.

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Fred Armisen hands over the presidential reins to Jay Pharoah on SNL

Lorne Michaels broke the news yesterday that when the new season of Saturday Night Live starts this weekend, it will be Jay Pharoah playing President Obama rather than Fred Armisen, who has played POTUS since 2008. Pharoah, currently a featured player (though that may change), has been honing his Obama impression for a while now, and it's good. Very good. But Michaels had reservations about throwing a brand new cast member into such a prominent role. Those reservations are gone, and now, we will get to watch Jay Pharoah's amazing Obama impression on actual television and not just YouTube.

(Actually, he'd done it on television, when he appeared on Letterman in December 2010. But you know what I mean.)

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Jason Sudeikis will return to Saturday Night Live for an abridged season

All summer long, following the departures of Andy Samberg and Kristen Wiig from the Saturday Night Live cast, Jason Sudeikis never really committed to staying or going. It was a tricky situation, since he has found some success in movies, but has been playing a really great version of Mitt Romney on the show throughout this election year. But now, it's confirmed that Sudeikis will stay on to play the Republican nominee (and other roles, of course) through the election and then say his goodbyes in December. So, apparently someone has purchased a working crystal ball that provides election results! That might be news, too! (via Splitsider) Jamie

Three Second City performers join Saturday Night Live, Jason Sudeikis also sticks around

Just in time to start its 38th season this weekend, Saturday Night Live has added three new performers to its roster, all of them discovered through their work at Chicago's Second City: Aidy Bryant, Cecily Strong, and Tim Robinson will join the cast as featured performers. In other news, it looks like Jason Sudeikis is staying on, having never offered any reason to believe he's officially leaving. Probably because he'll be playing Mitt Romney for the primetime election specials as well as the late-night show. And then we'll see what happens in November! (via USA Today) Jamie

Can't Kate McKinnon just be the one and only Kate McKinnon?

I love covering awesome comedians. I happen to have a soft spot for the lady ones since I have attempted to be a lady comedian myself. But you know what really gets my knickers in a twist? (And it's certainly not reserved for just women.) Calling someone the next "someone else." Today, the NY Post put up a very flattering piece about Saturday Night Live's newest female cast member, Kate McKinnon. And this is great! I love that she's getting positive press, and I'm not knocking the Post for giving the girl the props she deserves. But why do we have to call her "the next Kristen Wiig" when "Kate McKinnon" is awesome in her own right? We already have a Kristen Wiig, and she's great. But she makes movies now, so let's move on and let McKinnon be McKinnon.

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Saturday Night Live announces its first three hosts of its new season, starting with Seth MacFarlane

Riding on the success of his first feature film/sleeper hit Ted, Seth MacFarlane will take the stage as the host of Saturday Night Live's season premiere on September 15. He will be accompanied by musical guest Frank Ocean. I think Seth MacFarlane is a delight, and in the midst of this insane political season, I have a good feeling that he will be right at home with the cast. If he doesn't sing, then I will consider that a ripoff. Also announced are the next two hosts: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, with musical guest Mumford & Sons, and Daniel Craig, with musical guest Muse. That will bring us into October, at which point we will need funny business more than ever as we enter the home stretch before the election. (via Deadline) Jamie

The Saturday Night Live primetime election specials will make a comeback -- whose momentum will it ruin this year?

NBC has announced that, as they did four years ago, Saturday Night Live would make an early return to the airwaves to tackle the presidential election. Two primetime specials were announced for September 20 and September 27 (both Thursdays), and while we know that Kristen Wiig and Andy Samberg have left the show, will Jason Sudeikis delay his departure to play Mitt Romney? Or will Romney actually show up?

But more importantly: It was the SNL specials four years ago that shed a different kind of spotlight on then-vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin by way of a devastating (and Emmy-winning) impression by accidental doppelgänger Tina Fey. Will the SNL writers and performers duplicate the skewering commentary from 2008 with Barack Obama and Mitt Romney? And who is going to come out of this looking worse?

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Tom Davis, former SNL writer, "de-animates" at 59

One of the original writers of Saturday Night Live, Tom Davis, has died of cancer at age 59. He was best known for his work with Al Franken, who went on to become a U.S. Senator, representing the state of Minnesota. Not long before his death, he wrote a piece on the site Incident Report saying that he and Franken were working on something for the latter to read after he "de-animate[d]." Sadly, that happened yesterday, and the world is less one amazing comedy writer.

In his obituary, The New York Times describes a 2004 incident involving a Jeopardy question asking who Davis was -- no one had an answer. I want to be a part of making sure that never happens again. We lost a good one, so pay attention, eggheads.

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