Megan's “Live” Shot

Other non-comics have scored on "SNL." Tell us your picks for most memorable hosts

By Jere Hester
|  Thursday, Sep 24, 2009  |  Updated 8:45 PM PDT
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"SNL" Highlights: The New Season

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Sure, Megan Fox is beautiful – but can she make you laugh?

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All eyes will be on Megan Fox Saturday night – and not just for the usual reasons.

The sultry young movie star is attempting her first major comic turn as the host of the 35th season opener for "Saturday Night Live."

But can Fox be funny?

We won’t learn until Saturday, but "SNL" boasts a history of finding humor in unexpected faces.

Alec Baldwin, thanks to "SNL," found his true calling in comedy – a talent he's parlayed, under Lorne Michael's tutelage, into a successful stint on "30 Rock."

Justin Timberlake recently became the first performer to collect an Emmy for hosting “SNL,” in no small part due to the hilarious "Motherlover" video – the followup to his and Andy Samberg’s even funnier Emmy-winning musical short than involved a rather unusual use for a box.

William Shatner provided one of the show's all-time belly laughs in 1986 when he played himself lashing out at "Star Trek" convention geeks. "Get a life, will you people?” he said. “I mean, for crying out loud, it’s just a TV show!” The sketch helped Shatner get a new life in performing, bringing his inner comic persona to gigs on "3rd Rock from the Sun" and "Boston Legal."

Baldwin, Timberlake and Shatner scored on "SNL," thanks to a willingness to lampoon their public personas. But it was the emergence of keen comic timing that elevated each into the pantheon of great guests.

Steve Martin – and we expect no argument – ranks as the show's best all-time host. But being in the comedy business doesn't necessarily translate into success on the main stage of Studio 8H. A cranky Milton Berle's 1979 stint remains one of the program's most infamous disasters.

Which brings us to a question: Which “SNL” hosts have given the most memorable performances, for better or worse, over the last 34 years?

Use the comments section below to weigh in as we wait to see whether Fox can also turn heads with laughter. 

Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is the former City Editor of the New York Daily News, where he started as a reporter in 1992. Follow him on Twitter.

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