MTV News' resident Lohan defender explains how returning to 'Saturday Night Live' may be the first step in her career comeback.By John Mitchell
Lindsay LohanPhoto: Evan Agostini/Getty Images
I've long been a defender of Linsday Lohan. I root for her success and am eternally hopeful — and thus often disappointed — that she will get it together. When people slam her, mock her long, long list of troubles, I can always be called upon to email them a link to Robert Downey Jr.'s biography, which has many parallels to Lohan's but differs because it also contains the phrase ".357-caliber Magnum handgun."
Downey's list of troubles easily eclipses Lohan's (at this point, anyway), but he managed to fully recover and go on to become one of the biggest stars on the planet, starring in enormous box-office hits like "Iron Man" and "Sherlock Holmes" and earning Oscar nominations for films like "Tropic Thunder." She's not entirely out of the woods just yet, but she's been earning "glowing" reports on her probation progress and was recently announced as the host of "Saturday Night Live" on March 3. A series of good signs and the first truly positive news out of Camp Lohan in a long time.
When word of Lohan's hosting stint on "SNL" was announced, I was incredibly pleased. For many reasons, it seems like a smart move, and if she pulls it off, it could be the first step (of many necessary steps) toward a real career comeback. Here's why:
»She's good at it.It's been a while since the public has been given the opportunity to view Lohan in a positive light. For years, the details of her substance abuse and legal problems have overshadowed absolutely everything else she's tried to do, stopping her once-promising acting career dead in its tracks and making her a laughingstock. I don't blame anyone for forgetting she's a natural, particularly when it comes to comedy. But don't forget that when the material she was given matched her talent, she shined — see "Mean Girls," "Freaky Friday" and "A Prairie Home Companion." In 2006, her "Prairie" co-star, Meryl Streep, said Lohan is "completely, visibly living in front of the camera." That's a big compliment, especially when it's coming from the woman considered by many to be the greatest living actress in film.
More specifically, Lohan has proven herself on the Studio 8H stage. She's hosted "SNL" three times and has always delivered. Check her out as a newly mature Hermione Granger in a "Harry Potter" spoof or in a mock ad for "Coin Slot Crème" for proof. She was also part of one of the most famous "Debbie Downer" skits ever ... and kept it together better than "SNL" regulars Jimmy Fallon and Horatio Sanz when everyone started breaking.
»She can poke fun at herself.There's no denying the actress will hit the stage with plenty of baggage, but what has always separated Lohan from many of her peers is her good humor about her own misfortunes. There will be no pink elephants in the room on March 3; it's likely she'll offer up her past troubles as fodder for the writers, hoping to clear the air. In the past, she's made fun of her money troubles and even created a fake eHarmony video for Funny or Die. She's been through a lot, and hopefully a little good-natured ribbing about her arrests and failed films will prove cathartic, both for the actress and audiences looking for a reason to like her again.
»It's a safe bet.Lindsay needs a hit badly, and it doesn't matter what form it comes in. She needs to get her name attached to something that isn't a complete failure or vaguely scandalous. There's a good shot that the attention the episode will attract will translate into big ratings for the show, which could be a win for the actress as well.
If she brings her A-game and the episode is widely watched, it will be a much-needed shot in the arm for her waning career. "SNL" is a big deal, and when it garners attention, be it good (think Melissa McCarthy) or bad (hello there, Lana Del Rey), people know about it ... even if they didn't tune in at 11:30 p.m. on Saturday. The show is recapped and video floods the Internet. If she's good, people will be talking about it by the proverbial water cooler on Monday morning. This is an opportunity, the first one in many, many years, for people to sing Lohan's praises and be reminded of her talents. And she's in a position where she needs to get out there and remind people that she is a gifted performer. It's been a long time, and many have forgotten.
»Oh, and it's her first acting job.You've got to start somewhere, girl.
Is hosting "Saturday Night Live" a good move for Lindsay Lohan? Sound off in the comments section below!