Jonathan Majors might not yet be the usual household name tapped to host venerable late-night comedy institution Saturday Night Live, but he’s about to be. Majors, already esteemed by those artsy, A.V. Club-reading types who recognized the actor’s considerable chops in indies like The Last Black Man In San Francisco and acclaimed TV fare like HBO’s Lovecraft Country, is poised to be one of those breakout hosts who make people sit up and exclaim, “Wait, who’s this guy again?”
Appearing alongside cast members Bowen Yang and Aidy Bryant (and musical guest Taylor Swift) in this week’s home base-shot previews of Saturday’s show, Majors looks right at home. Or at least as comfortable as an actor hosting the comedy high-wire act that is Saturday Night Live for the first time can be. In one, Majors plays straight man to the two cast cut-ups, with both Aidy and Bowen looking to steal singer-songwriter icon Swift’s thunder by announcing that, they, too will be dropping their latest (and, in Yang’s case, still-unwritten) new songs on Saturday.
Majors, vainly looking for some sort of authority figure amidst a studio filled with showboating goofballs, can only shrug there, although, in the second promo, the future MCU Big Bad is all funny business.
Rubbing hands in go-team anticipation, Majors rattles off his part in the quartet’s one-word-each hype job for this week’s episode, ultimately exploding in hard-won victory celebration. (Even leaping up for a victorious chest-bump with the equally pumped Swift.)
And, sure, Aidy lets slip that that was take 27 or so, but, still, not bad for a first-timer.
Majors’ major roles haven’t exactly inspired big yucks, what with Lovecraft Country’s wrenchingly scary stew of supernatural and real-life horrors and the stirring—and also occasionally wrenching—LGBTQ+ historical miniseries When We Rise. But from such staunchly dramatic roots does an unexpectedly funny and assured Saturday Night Live host often grow.
If Majors is prepared to go quip-to-quip with Ant-Man and newly ordained sexy man Paul Rudd (not to mention Bill Murray) in Marvel’s latest guaranteed blockbuster Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania, then the once and forever Kang The Conqueror must certainly be hiding some impressive comedy chops under all that dramatic power. And spandex.