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Alec Baldwin’s First “SNL” Hosting Gig Is Everything

October 17th, 2016 by Liz Brown

One woman’s teenage premonition came true.

Look, I’m not trying to sound conceited. All I’m saying is: I CALLED IT. From the first time Alec Baldwin hosted “Saturday Night Live” in 1990, I knew that his career was forever changed and that a sketch comedy superstar was born.

Baldwin was so brilliant in his Season 15 episode that he went on to host the show 15 more times (so far), landed the starring role as Jack Donaghy on “30 Rock,” and was the obvious choice to call in when “SNL” needed someone with a dead-on Donald Trump impression in the current season.

I was 14 years old the first time Alec Baldwin hosted “Saturday Night Live” and I had no idea who he was because I wasn’t cool enough to have seen “Beetlejuice” in the theaters and streaming movies were (gasp) not yet a thing. I was just a 9th grade sketch comedy geek who didn’t get invited to parties on Saturday nights and considered the “SNL” cast to be her personal tribe. I thought he was some generic dreamboat who’d scored the hosting gig as part of a movie promotion or something.

And then, as soon as he stepped out on the stage for his opening monologue, something magical happened. Alec Baldwin charmed me. His monologue was brief and flawless and focused on how to “charm your audience” and “get them on your side” by tossing sexy looks at the camera and delivering lines like “Hi there,” “Howdy” and “Guess who?”

And then he proved that the monologue was no fluke in the first sketch of the night: a soap opera parody called “Greenhilly” in which Baldwin plays a coy tennis pro who makes out with every other member of the cast whenever the music swells, including Phil Hartman and a dog who looked a lot like an early prototype of Triumph.

Then, Alec sealed the deal by appearing in the Mike Meyers recurring sketch Lank Thompson: I’m a Handsome Actor”. Baldwin demonstrates how to use time tested techniques to be more handsome while acting, including “always start with your back to the camera,” and “never look at the documents you’re signing.” This sketch is rapid fire comedy and Baldwin delivers it like he’s been rehearsing it for months.

And of course, there’s the unforgettable “Brenda the Waitress” sketch. Baldwin plays a James Dean-esque diner patron who serves up a heaping helping of sexual tension to Jan Hooks’s downhome waitress character in a scene that floods me every time I enter a diner to this day and has me reciting under my breath:

“You shouldn’t offer free pie with your meals. It makes you look cheap.”

It takes a special kind of actor to host “Saturday Night Live” and make it look like you’ve been part of the cast for years. Baldwin has proven from his first episode that he’s a sketch superhero: dreamy, fearless, and faster than a speeding bullet when it comes to comedic timing. Long may he reign.