Edward Norton is one of those actors you either like, or don’t care about. There is no inbetween. Sadly, he falls into the latter category more often than not. Not to say that Norton is not a capable actor, he just lacks the essential DNA to be charismatic. More journeyman than star. Still, he is popular enough to be given the honor of being on Saturday Night Live as guest host. He acquitted himself well enough, even it the writers of SNL missed a brilliant opportunity. But more about that later.
The latest season of SNL has been a bit of a hit-and-miss affair. With so many novice troupe members on the show this year, and missing some of the more reliable “older” members, it seems to be making a few too many missteps. While many can give the newbies on the show a little slack and may frown at hints that the SNL rookies could have been better utilized someplace else as unnecessarily harsh, but the show does seem to be lagging.
Edward Norton, for all his “everyman” good humour, was an odd choice for host as he currently has no celluloid irons in the fire. The 44 year-old actor/producer did well with the material given him. Some of the skits were truly funny. The movie preview for a “new Wes Anderson” film was good. Norton as Owen Wilson and Kate McKinnon as chameleon actress Tilda Swinton was inspired.
Edward Norton was not on his lonesome doing the show’s opening monologue. Miley Cyrus popped up to lend a twerking hand as well as Alec Baldwin. At this point Saturday Night Live missed a brilliant comedic opportunity where the writers could have shown just how culturally aware they are. Norton, Despite not being trusted to open the show solo, has been on SNL before in cameos and he obviously did well enough to be invited back as host. The promos for the event were, like the latest season, a bit up and down, with the Japanese TV gag working the best.
Cyrus and Baldwin turned up to do a little shameless self promotion, Miley to talk about her upcoming tour with her fans, and Baldwin, who really is quite funny, announced to Cyrus’s fans that he has a new talk show. The 20 year-old controversial popstar showed up later to twerk in the movie parody 12 Years Not a Slave, and this brings us to that missed opportunity.
Why, in the name of all that is comically astute, did no one think to have Norton and Cyrus team up for a short gag based on at least one of Edward’s films. With her recent MTV controversial twerking, could they not have come up with a couple of skits? For instance, Norton’s film Fight Club, could have been renamed as Twerk Club. Or how about The Incredible Twerk? Or even The Twerk-ist?
If the show’s producers were going to let Miley come back to gatecrash the opening monologue, in the name of self promotion, why could they not have made the most of her appearance. Unfortunately, like the rest of the newest season, the chance to be brilliant was lost.
All that can be said of the lack of opportunity taken by the writers is, “How could you? You had it right there in the palms of your hands and you let it slip away!” Maybe they were right. Re-watching the Edward Norton and Bobby Moynihan promos, the actor is a little too relaxed. The Saturday Night Live twerking opportunity may not necessarily have been missed, but judged inadvisable. After all, a great actor once said, “Dying is easy. Comedy, is hard.”
By Michael Smith