In the eyes of some, you're not a real pop-culture icon until you've hosted "Saturday Night Live." And although this weekend may not have featured the long-lobbied-for appearance of Robert Pattinson, "Twilight" nonetheless took center stage for TV's late-night comedy institution, as 17-year-old Taylor Lautner became the first of the franchise's stars to rock the show.
Of course, his appearance kicked off with the monologue, arguably the most important moment for any host. Lautner's opening began with him bounding down the steps to greet the crowd in a red plaid shirt and black leather jacket. "It's great to be here hosting 'Saturday Night Live," he grinned. "I remember when 'SNL' first started — I was negative eighteen at the time." Appearing calm and comfortable, Taylor joked that in "New Moon," "I took my shirt off a lot — too much, in fact. Even Matthew McConaughey told me to cool it." Lautner's biggest laughs, however, came when he referenced his hotly rumored relationship with Taylor Swift — which Swift also referenced on the show in her opening-monologue song last month — and his failure to stand up for her at the MTV Video Music Awards when Kanye West interrupted her acceptance speech. Showing a clip of him standing idly by, he said, "What I really wanted to do was this," and performed a series of dazzling martial-arts moves before beheading a cardboard cut-out of Kanye.
In the first of his several skits in the show, he played Phil Pomeroy, the nervous "backup-backup quarterback" for the University of Oregon. In the skit, Lautner posed for a between-play video clip shown of players during football games. It was a thinly-written sketch that called on Lautner to simply make faces at the camera, but his wincing, twitching and hand movements made it worthwhile.
Later, he and Abby Elliott played a married couple breaking the news that they're pregnant to several relatives — including Kristen Wiig's recurring character Sue, who can't handle secrets. The sketch was basically an excuse for Wiig to bring back one of her signature over-the-top creations and crash through the set, and was notable for a weird wig that made Lautner look like Josh Brolin's little brother.
Further along in the show, Lautner played "Mikash," one of four middle-school choir singers, clad in a red shirt, sparkly green vest and what appeared to be Jackson Rathbone's blonde Jasper wig. Delivering some sort of German accent, he rapped about Santa Claus, danced and got hit in the belly with a basketball — and busted out an impressive Michael Jackson moonwalk at the end of the sketch.
In the night's funniest skit, Taylor played "Marianna," a high school girl in a "Team Edward" T-shirt who is reluctantly paired with another girl in a "Team Jacob" tee. "How can I ever trust her scientific conclusions if she prefers Jacob to Edward?" he lisped, clad in a jean skirt, leggings and long-haired wig. "Jacob smells like a wet dog!" Spoofing girls who crush on Edward, Taylor even made out with a Robert Pattinson notebook at one point and insisted that Jacob had "CGI abs." "If those abs were real," he insists, "then the dude who played Jacob deserves an Oscar." Likely to become the viral clip of the episode, it's hard to understand why this wasn't the first sketch after the monologue.
Lautner's final sketch saw him back in a wig and this time flirting awkwardly with a girl. The joke here was Kenan Thompson playing an Isaac Hayes-like smooth-talker who cuts into the action and narrates the events, screaming "No!" when Lautner's character reveals a romance-killing love of Hobbits and declaration that "I'm also kinda unusually hairy." The sketch was lightly written but largely saved by Lautner, who, as he had throughout the night, showed off some impressive comedic chops as the first "Twilight" star to get live on Saturday night.
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