Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Who Makes A Better Hoda?

Last [Saturday] night, SNL newbie Jenny Slate was put in the unenviable position of picking up a character created by Michaela Watkins, a one-season castmember who was let go earlier this year. Watkins had carved out a niche for herself on the show with a spot-on impersonation of Today show anchor Hoda Kotb—the straight woman to Kristen Wiig’s boozy, bawdy Kathie Lee Gifford. But the sketch was revived yesterday with Slate in the role, a slightly jarring change to those of us accustomed to seeing Watkins in the chair next to Wiig.

My colleague Ken Tucker thought the sketch was pretty underwhelming and took pity on Slate for having to “compete with the memory of Watkins’ original impersonation and sit by while Wiig did mugging that wasn’t freshened with anything new.” I actually laughed a few times during the sketch, but I agree that it feels like Slate’s got her work cut out for her if she wants to outshine Watkins. Check out the sketch below, and then let us know: Do you miss the old Hoda? Or did Slate manage to make the character her own?


Now hold on here. First of all, Hoda is an impression. You can't give Michaela credit for "creating the character." There is no character. It's merely an impression. Second of all, the way it probably went was more like this... Kristen: "Check out my Kathy Lee impression. I've been working on it. What do you think?" The Writers: "Perfect. Got a skit. We need a Hoda? Anyone do Hoda?" Michaela: "I do!" Boom.

And then it was probably similar for Jenny. Writers: "Got another Kathy Lee skit. Any of our other three ladies do Hoda?" Jenny: "I do!" Boom.

So the idea that Jenny is taking over someone else's character... that's rubbish.

Now that I've got that out of its box, decide for yourself who did better. Michaela probably did, because it seems that Jenny is still nervous. Jenny, you better work out those nerves very soon! Nasim's not going anywhere. She's been showing that lately, and this episode's Kim Kardashian was the one that tipped the scale (very similar to how Abby's Angelina Jolie impressions have tipped the scale for her). Nasim's here to stay. However, Jenny hasn't quite proven herself yet.

So who did better? Check it out...

Michaela Watkins as Hoda:

Jenny Slate as Hoda:



  1. Well I think Michaela's wins for me, but that's only because it is what I am used to. It was weird having it be a different person, but I think Jenny's version of Hoda was great as well, but it's new. Like you said, she needs to lose the nerves and get more comfortable with the impression and I will start to warm up to hers.

  2. One reviewer made a good point that Jenny's Hoda stands up for herself a little more. She's less of a victim. That is a little nicer.

    - TAE


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