TV Club: Octavia Spencer’s enthusiasm can’t save a shaky SNL

“I’m not an actor, I’m an [Oscar-winning, sometimes God-playing movie] star!”

Octavia Spencer, both in her brief monologue and the goodnights, seemed absolutely delighted to be hosting SNL, and bundle of delight that she is, her positive energy buoyed the show. Which is good, since the back half of this episode was pretty waterlogged. Spencer, fresh off this week’s Oscar nomination (“Can you believe… I didn’t win?,” she joked in the monologue, teasing a La La LandMoonlight kerfuffle gag), can be a prime goofball when she wants to, but, as it turns out, live TV might not be her thing. Everyone reads cue cards on SNL—especially since the show’s legendarily fluid nature means constant last-minute changes—but some hosts (and cast members) are simply more at ease making the process look seamless. Spencer was fine in some uneven sketches, but there’s a …

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