November 4th, 2013
02:00 PM ET

Kerry Washington hosts 'SNL': How'd she do?

Kerry Washington is at the top of her game this year, whether Emmy voters recognize it or not.

The "Scandal" star proved her versatility - and comedic timing - during her hosting job on "Saturday Night Live" this weekend.

We're not sure if "SNL" anticipated having a scandal of its own over the lack of black women in its cast, but having Washington available to host on November 2 was a stroke of good timing.

On Saturday, Washington joined Jay Pharoah for a cold open that brazenly addressed "SNL's" diversity issue. While the sketch comedy series has lost a number of its stars over the past few years, the performers chosen as replacements have notably all been white. And with Kenan Thompson refusing to dress up as a woman should any black ladies be needed for a sketch, "SNL" has been left in a very visible lurch.

But on November 2, the series made fun of itself, having Washington portray basically every black woman they could think of who would be in attendance at an Obama event. The actress pulled off First Lady Michelle Obama, followed by Oprah and then Beyonce, although we heard rather than saw her in character for that one.

Just in case the audience didn't quite get what was going on - and there's a chance they didn't, since Pharoah's joke that he felt like he hasn't seen Michelle "in years" seemed to go unnoticed - the sketch made it crystal clear what they were lampooning.

"The producers of Saturday Night Live would like to apologize to Kerry Washington for the number of black women she will be asked to play tonight," said a message that scrolled over the sketch while Washington was changing into her Oprah gear. "We made these requests both because Ms. Washington is an actress of considerable range and talent, and also because SNL does not currently have a black woman in the cast. As for the latter reason, we agree that this is not an ideal situation and look forward to rectifying it in the near future ... unless, of course, we fall in love with another white guy first."

When Washington was all said and done for the night, though, it's likely that producers were swooning over her. By and large, the 36-year-old actress received positive reaction for her performance; she may have been a first-timer, but she was pretty funny. Highlights included her sketch with Jay Pharoah and Kenan Thompson, portraying Obama supporters discussing the president's falling approval ratings:

[hulu id=rhar9dnfrovscpbmuijfkg width=450]

And another Pharoah digital short, a spoof on the viral hit, "The Fox":

[hulu id=uhs9evdekr1ww2ly7rlfqq width=450]

Not to mention Washington's monologue, in which various members kept mistaking her for her "Scandal" character, Olivia Pope:

[hulu id=3wafvd4ysznq-7ib8cymmw width=450]

"Even in the most middling sketches,"EW said in its review, "Washington’s energy and commitment to an array of characters was the best part."

What did you think of Washington's hosting job?

Filed under: Celebrities • Saturday Night Live • television

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