Melissa McCarthy, coming off a surprise Emmy win—surprising only because that show she’s on blows chunks, not because she isn’t a talented actress/comedienne—hosted SNL over the weekend. Did you see it? It wasn’t horrible. But it wasn’t great. It was a long way from great. Sketches tend to drag too long on SNL these days (that “Arlene” sketch was INTERMINABLE and I can’t even talk about the Lulu Diamonds bit), and much of McCarthy’s innate comic ability was crushed under the weight of too-long scenes and bits ground into the dirt by repetition.
You know what was great about SNL, though? The honest joy McCarthy and her fellow Bridesmaid, Kristen Wiig, had around one another. The Lawrence Welk/Junice-Tiny-Hands sketch worked not because it was that good (though Junice is a brilliant character she is always underserved by material), but because Wiig and McCarthy were having more fun doing their own thing on stage right than the scene really justified. Ditto for the monologue. It wasn’t that spectacular—McCarthy confessing she’s really a dancer at heart which is funny because look at the big girl dance, but she starts talking just before she’s about to dance, haha!—but once Wiig came out and joined McCarthy the energy picked up and both women seemed really into it.
Still, for those of us who watched Gilmore Girls, it’s great to see McCarthy finally getting her share of the spotlight. As a fan of that show (who didn’t want to be adopted by Lorelei Gilmore?!), I remember McCarthy as Lorelei’s harried-chef best friend, quick with a quip and some dispensable wisdom. SNL played on McCarthy’s wildly crass turn in the Wiig-scripted Bridesmaids, but I think it might have been better off playing up to that old Gilmore sensibility—quick wit, quick delivery. McCarthy isn’t just funny, she’s smart. And that was not on display on Saturday night, which obviously didn’t bother anyone but me as SNL got a ratings bounce.
McCarthy’s spotlight extends beyond SNL, though. She’s wrapped This Is Forty with Judd Apatow and she has a couple comedic projects in the works, including one from Wiig’s writing partner, Annie Mumolo (something about stealing the Stanley Cup). All this momentum is expected to carry into award season, too. I doubt an Oscar nomination happens, simply because the Academy doesn’t take comedy seriously, but right now I’d say McCarthy is a lock for Comedic Supporting Actress at the Golden Globes. A few years ago, a win at the Globes boosted The Hangover and the careers of everyone involved with it. Now it’s the ladies’ turn.