“Saturday Night Live” pulled out all the stops for Justin Timberlake’s fifth stint as host, rallying a support crew bursting with the late-night staple’s icons and JT’s “Suit & Tie” buddy Jay-Z. After lamenting in his opening monologue that with the appearance, he risked “disappointing everyone due to overly high expectations — thanks, Internet,” JT was ushered into the Five-Timers Club by a parade of comedy legends with whom he shares the honor, including Alec Baldwin, Tom Hanks and Chevy Chase.
Guitar in hand, Paul Simon welcomed Timberlake to “the most-exclusive club in New York.” A pipe-smoking Steve Martin joked, “I always thought if an ’NSYNC member made the Five-Timers Club, it would be Joey Fatone.” Candice Bergen also donned a navy robe with a “5” crest, as former “SNL” castmembers Dan Aykroyd and Martin Short, who’ve not reached the hosting milestone, served as the club’s bartender and waiter.
And, yes, Andy Samberg made an appearance, too. JT and his “Di– in a Box” and “Motherlover” partner brought their raunchy R&B flavor to the TV game show “It’s a Date!” The pair hilariously wooed the bachelorette — in song, of course — by inviting her to watch “Duck Tales” and crooning, “Ladies can’t get pregnant in the summertime.” When she chose the duo and the Festrunk Brothers (Aykroyd and Martin) as her dates, they declared, “We’ve had two ways, three ways, and we’re about to have five/ ’Cause we’re four wild and crazy guys.”
The historic episode opened with JT as Elton John, paying tribute to recently deceased Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. Rocking a blonde wig and sequined blue suit, he proclaimed, “A gig is a gig.” “Goodbye Hugo C.” was full of gems, such as, “You lived your life like a candle in the wind/ If a candle could pull out two pistols at a press conference.”
In his turn as musical guest, Timberlake previewed the first two singles from his third solo album, The 20/20 Experience , due March 19. For “Suit & Tie,” he was joined by his Tennessee Kids band, four backup dancers and a blinged-out Jay-Z, sporting no less than four super-thick gold chains. Hova will join him on the road this July and August, when their Legends of the Summer Tour rolls into 12 U.S. stadiums.
The Three Amigos (Martin, Chase and Short), in full regalia, introduced “Mirrors,” first performed a few weeks ago at the Brit Awards.
Of course, Timberlake wasn’t going to let the standard two songs be the only singing he did Saturday night. In one sketch, he dressed as a piece of tofu to promote “Veganville” restaurant, touting healthy eating with enthusiastic remakes of the disco classic “Le Freak,” “Ice Ice Baby” and “Dancing With Myself” (“Thinking About My Health”) and an ode to quinoa, “We Found Love (In a Meatless Place).” The skit ended with a super wacky Harlem Shake freak-out.
JT has won several Creative Arts Emmy Awards for his past work on “SNL.” In 2011, he took home the prize for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics for his monologue as well as Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series. Prior to that, in 2009, he took home the Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series, and in 2007, for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics for “Di– in a Box.”
Timberlake will hang around 30 Rock: Deemed “Justin Timberweek,” JT will be featured on all five episodes of “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” this week, beginning Monday.
Did you see Justin Timberlake on “Saturday Night Live”? Share your comments below!