Ben Affleck was the host on the season finale of Saturday Night Live this weekend. I’m not going to front like I even bothered to tape it. Just about the only celebrity that could get me to watch SNL again is Matt Damon, and he hasn’t hosted it since 2002. (He did do a short in 2011 with Val Kilmer, Katy Perry and Andy Samberg.) In contrast, this is Affleck’s fifth turn on SNL. He wants us to like him, he wants us to think he’s funny, and he’s willing to mock himself.
In his opening monologue (video below), Affleck referenced his Oscar acceptance speech and blamed “uncharitable souls” on the Internet for pointing out that he called his marriage “work.” You said it, Ben, no one put words in your mouth. You know this was his idea. He claimed that his speech was misconstrued, and then had Jennifer Garner come on stage to verify that she knew what he meant.
While winning an Oscar was a huge thrill, giving an Oscar acceptance speech is completely terrifying. You remember in my speech I thanked my wife while also saying the essence of marriage is work. And we’ve worked together on our marriage. And then some uncharitable souls on the Internet took that to mean that our marriage is some kind of manual labor. That’s not it, you define what’s important to you by what you dedicate your time to. And my wife knew exactly what I meant. And so to disprove the naysayers I asked her to come tonight.
Would you just now dispell this notion and tell the people what I meant?
Garner: Well yeah, it’s a way that we talk privately about how committed we are to our marriage. Not sure why you had to share it live to a billion people.
Affleck: Our marriage is the work of love. What would you have called it in a speech?
Garner: A gift. I would have said thank you to my wife, ‘our marriage is a gift.’
Affleck: Yeah, that’s one way to go, I guess. It’s a gift to the work of marriage which you gifted me with enormous work.
Garner: Well if we’re going to be completely honest here why don’t we go ahead and mention who does all of the work.
Affleck: That’s too inside the people don’t want to hear that…
I want to tell you how I wish I had ended that speech, ok? I couldn’t do any of the things I do without your support. You’re my angel, you’re my life and my world.
Garner: You’re reading that (shows cue card)
Affleck: I mean yeah, but it’s true. I love you.
Garner: Thank you. You’re a lot of work. [they kiss]
That was cute! It won me over. I thought it would be cheesier than it was, and it kind of speaks to their whole media strategy. Ben opens mouth, sticks foot in it, Jen saves his ass by being gracious and sweet about it.
As for the rest of the show, Pajiba has the rest of the skits for us as well as a nice overview. They call Ben “gracious” and “charmingly bumbling.” It was the last episode for castmembers Fred Armisen and Bill Hader and they got an emotional send off. Maybe they’ll get decent comedians to replace those two but it won’t be the same. Kanye West was the musical guest.
Ben’s marriage comments start at about 1:50