Where are all the female "Saturday Night Live" hosts?

This season, 5 of 21 hosts were women. It's not a new ratio! We crunch the numbers on the past decade


Daniel D'Addario
May 4, 2013 12:40AM (UTC)

This weekend begins the final run of episodes before "Saturday Night Live" takes the summer off. And with the season's final three hosts (Zach Galifianakis, Kristen Wiig and Ben Affleck) having been announced, perhaps the show's bookers will spend the summer brainstorming funny women.

Of this season's 21 episodes, only 5 were hosted by women -- that's 23.8 percent. And of those five women, four had hosted the program before; only the omnipresent Jennifer Lawrence was a new visitor to 30 Rock.

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This is hardly a new phenomenon. Though there have been vacillations in certain seasons, seasons generally break down 70-30 in favor of male hosts. Perhaps this isn't surprising. Not only do women hosts on "SNL" tend to play pretty, anodyne "girlfriend" characters (try to recall a sketch from either of Anna Faris' episodes!), but the female ensemble on "SNL" has traditionally been very strong, so much so that even some talented female cast members have trouble breaking through. Why book more female hosts if they're not going to get much to do? (This isn't new, either. In the show's first season, 8 of 25 hosts were women, including Candice Bergen twice within two months.)

We've broken down the past 10 seasons of "SNL" by gender to indicate that this season, with three Daniel Craigs for every Christina Applegate, is hardly a new phenomenon.

2012-13 season: 16 men, 5 women (23.8% women)

Notable moments: Anne Hathaway's third hosting gig; Melissa McCarthy's second; Kristen Wiig returns to the show as host; Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake both enter the "Five-Timers Club," a group of 13 men and 2 women who have hosted the show five times.

2011-12 season: 14 men, 8 women (36.4% women)

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Notable moments: Lindsay Lohan's fourth appearance (this time with platinum hair); Melissa McCarthy's first appearance; Anna Faris' second.

2010-11 season: 13 men, 9 women (40.9% women)

Notable moments: Miley Cyrus appears on "The Miley Cyrus Show" sketch; Anne Hathaway's second appearance; Tina Fey's third; Scarlett Johansson's third.

2009-10 season: 12 men, 10 women (45.5% women)

Notable moments: A season as close to parity as any in recent memory following a bad showing (more on that later); "Transformers" star Megan Fox hosts season premiere; Taylor Swift serves as host and musical guest; Tina Fey's second appearance; Betty White, supported by various female "SNL" alumnae, appears as host after a successful Facebook petition.

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2008-09 season: 19 men, 3 women (13.6% women)

Notable moments: Perhaps this accounts for the 2009-2010 season's flush of female hosts: The only women to host this season were Anna Faris, Anne Hathaway (both of whom would return to the show), and Rosario Dawson (who would not). The nine final episodes of the season, consecutively, were all hosted by men.

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2007-08 season: 9 men, 3 women (25.0% women)

Notable moments: The strike-shortened season featured three female hosts: Tina Fey (a beloved former "SNL" star), Amy Adams, and Ellen Page (both Academy Award–nominated stars of hit comedies). It also featured male comedy luminaries like Jon Bon Jovi and LeBron James.

2006-07 season: 14 men, 6 women (30.0% women)

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Notable moments: Frequent host Alec Baldwin supporting an uncomfortable Annette Bening in her monologue; "SNL" alumnae Molly Shannon and Julia Louis-Dreyfus returning as hosts; Drew Barrymore entering the Five-Timers Club (the only other female Five-Timer prior to the 2006-2007 season was Candice Bergen, inducted in 1990); Scarlett Johansson's second appearance.

2005-06 season: 13 men, 6 women (31.6% women)

Notable moments: Lindsay Lohan's third appearance (this time with red hair); Natalie Portman raps with Andy Samberg; Scarlett Johansson's first appearance.

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2004-05 season: 14 men, 6 women (30.0% women)

Notable moments: Lindsay Lohan's second appearance (this time with platinum hair); Paris Hilton's first and only appearance (Tina Fey later called her a "piece of shit"); Cameron Diaz's third.

2003-04 season: 11 men, 11 women (50% women)

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Notable moments: The numbers are skewed here, as Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen co-hosted an episode as did Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson (2004!) -- all are counted as individual hosts. Janet Jackson hosted shortly after her Super Bowl incident, as did Lindsay Lohan, for the first time (with red hair).

2002-03 season: 14 men, 6 women (30.0% women)

Notable moments: Sarah Michelle Gellar's third appearance; Jennifer Garner, wife of future Five-Timer Ben Affleck, hosted for the first and only time.

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Daniel D'Addario

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