Lena Dunham hosted Saturday Night Live (SNL) for the first time and, true to her form on her HBO show Girls (see above photo), she got naked to prove her point. In her show, she uses bold nudity as a satirical form, and this was brought onto the set of SNL last night. She claims that this is “just her thing,” in the same way that other actors have their personal touch in their work.
In her opening monologue, Dunham talked about the passion she has for her work, but mentioned that a side effect is that people she doesn’t know come up to her and discuss their sex lives with her. She has learned to quickly reply to inappropriate comments with wit of her own that put her back in the driver’s seat. That is, instead of feeling vulnerable with her nudity, she uses it as a means of personal branding and strength. For example, when a man on the street remarked on how Dunham’s breasts were similar to his sister’s, she quipped back, asking how he would know that, and did his sister have nice breasts?
It was anticipated that Dunham’s unabashed nudity would be part of her comedy skits in her first stint on SNL. Overall, reviews were that she did a good job, but that the skits were not as humorous or well-designed as they could have been. Claimed to be her funniest skit of the night, Dunham played a nude Eve opposite Adam (played by Adam Driver of Girls) in the Garden of Eden. After eating the apples (she couldn’t stop at just one), she talked to God and asked him not to “apple shame” her, saying that although she committed original sin, she should at least get credit that it was “original.”
The late night comedy Saturday Night Live, now in its 39th season on NBC, has long had the tradition of helping comedians launch their careers. While none of them have gotten naked to do so, Lena Dunham is hopeful that SNL will help her, as well. SNL strives to be current, and as evidence of success in doing so, has recently won an Emmy Award for its spin-off, SNL Digital Shorts. Lena Dunham considers herself a superfan of SNL and says that hosting the show is a dream come true for her.
Since she was a little girl, Dunham has nurtured the dream that she might someday host Saturday Night Live, which has propelled comedians Gilda Radner, John Belushi, Chevy Chase, and recently, Tina Fey into the limelight and onto solid footing. Dunham self-defines her love of the show as “obsessed” and she feels that having arrived as host is both exciting and surreal.
Dunham’s creation, Girls, marked as a “romantic comedy,” got its start on HBO in 2012 and presents a surprisingly frank look at the life of twenty-somethings of this generation. She describes herself as an avowed feminist and presents the paradox of being charmingly awkward and at the same time comfortable in her skin. The show depicts four female friends and their escapades – both dressed and undressed – in relationship with one another and their boyfriends.
Saturday Night Live fans got the opportunity to be entertained by a naked host in late night comedy last night. For Lena Dunham this was the first time. Could there be a repeat performance?
By Fern Remedi-Brown