There's no point, obviously, in getting into the merits of "Saturday Night Live." We know what it is: It's inconsistent and reviled, but a lot of us continue to watch it out of habit, or because every once in a while it will show flashes of brilliance. It's also occasionally fun to see actors we admire in a different context. Sure, the writers have managed to waste a lot of potential over the years, but every great once in a while, "Saturday Night Live" can help to reshape someone's career (Jon Hamm), bring out a sense of humor we didn't know existed (Peyton Manning), show amazing dancing talent we weren't aware of (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), or demonstrate the true potential of an already huge celebrity (Justin Timberlake). Many of us watch each week because, while we're often left bitterly disappointed, every once in a while, the show will surprise us. Somehow, that makes the suffering worth it.
What's most fun, however, is seeing someone we think we know in an unfamiliar context, and finding out all sorts of new things about him or her. Unfortunately, "SNL" often sticks with the huge movie stars instead of more talented actors, often to the show's detriment. Did anyone really need to see Katy Perry or Russell Brand host "SNL"? Or Channing Tatum? What's fun is when they bring on people like Jane Lynch or Bryan Cranston, even if they do waste their talents and relegate them to background players, because every once in a while, one of those more minor television or movie stars will thrill us.
I think the following seven people could all do that: Provide an unexpected boost for both the show and the actors involved. Start your Facebook campaigns.
Peter Dinklage: How freaking fantastic would it be to have Peter Dinklage host the show? He'd be the shortest person to ever host the show (narrowly beating out Danny Devito). He's a wicked great dramatic actor, but it's clear he has a sense of humor about himself and his stature (see Elf), and obviously, if the show could make hay out of Melissa McCarthy's weight, they could probably do wonders with Dinklage's size. Dinklage interviews are scarce, but the few that I've seen all confirm that the guy is an outstanding person with an abundance of personality, and that's really the first key to success as an "SNL" host (see his interview on "The Daily Show," from several years back, for instance). That personality is on display, here, in the video for his GQ photoshoot (slightly NSFW)
Michael K. Williams: At this point, you've either seen "The Wire," it's in your Netflix queue, or you've been berated by someone because you haven't seen it yet. In either case, everyone who has ever opened an Internet browser knows Michael K. Williams' face. Curiosity alone would probably draw a sizable audience, and obviously, there are plenty of skits the show could build around his Omar Little personae (or even that of Chalky White, his character in "Boardwalk Empire.") Moreover, the show could certainly take advantage of the fact that Michael K. Williams used to be a dancer and choreographer: How big would your eyes get if you were to see Michael K. Williams break out moves like the ones seen here (at the 4:50 mark)
Ryan Gosling -- Hollywood hasn't seen a new legitimately huge box-office star in years, but Baby Goose may be the closest thing we get for awhile. His movies don't make a ton of money, but he is in a lot of films, he's probably the best actor under 35 in Hollywood, and of course, he's also an Internet phenom (thanks to the "Hey Girl!" meme, which would provide the basis for at least one skit). He, too, can sing and dance (he started on "The Mickey Mouse Club,") and he could probably provide an excuse or three for a Justin Timberlake cameo. Plus, they could build a skit around Gosling breaking up random fights on city streets.
Timothy Olyphant -- There's no good excuse for the fact that Timothy Olyphant hasn't yet hosted "Saturday Night Live." I think that a hosting stint could do for Olyphant what it did for Jon Hamm: Present him in a way we haven't seen him and open up the possibility of more comedic roles in his future. Plus, he could play a gratuitously shirtless lawman who wears nothing but spurs and a cowboy hat. I think that'd be a big hit. Plus, the guy never blinks: There's a whole skit right there. Plus, a potential Emmy for best guest star in a Musical or Variety show might finally give him that opportunity to deliver the Emmy speech he had ready last year.
Alison Brie -- Joel McHale may be the more natural choice from "Community" to host (Chevy Chase would be fun to see again, too, except that he's been banned from the show), but Brie could bring to the show something that Joel McHale is incapable of:
Danny McBride -- I'm not sure that Danny McBride could do a 90-minute live show without using profanity, but the guy is built for "SNL." He's the fake bravado version of Will Ferrell. His entire career has basically been a recurring character, but it's a funny one, and unlike "SNL" recurring characters, McBride's doesn't wear out its welcome in under five minutes. Plus, he can bring that sh*t to the next level.
Nick Offerman -- It's kind of obvious, isn't it? Clearly, he's multi-dimensional, it'd be great exposure for "Parks and Recreation," and he could usher in cameos for both his co-star, Amy Poehler, and his wife, Megan Mullally. What I wouldn't want to see, however, is "SNL" attempt to do anything with his Ron Swanson personae -- they could only do harm. But it would be cool to see Offerman outside of the context in which we know him. What's bizarre, however, is that in interviews, he kind of is Ron Swanson.