5 Best Moments from Jenna Ortega Hosting ‘Saturday Night Live’

Lead Photo: NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 06: Jenna Ortega attends the world premiere of Paramount's "Scream VI" at AMC Lincoln Square Theater on March 06, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 06: Jenna Ortega attends the world premiere of Paramount's "Scream VI" at AMC Lincoln Square Theater on March 06, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
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Don’t be bummed out that the Saturday Night Live debut of Jenna Ortega on March 11 didn’t include any spoofs of her hit Netflix show Wednesday (a promo did) or her recently released horror sequel Scream VI. Surprisingly, there wasn’t much of her signature deadpan humor either. Still, there was plenty to admire as Ortega took the stage on the long-running sketch comedy show.

Ortega was the third Latine host in the last six shows in Season 48. Aubrey Plaza, who Ortega presented with at the SAG Awards last month, hosted on January 21, and Pedro Pascal hosted on February 4. Normally, an SNL season runs for 21 episodes through mid or late May, so that means there are probably about six more episodes left in the current season.

For the April 22 episode, how about if Oscar nominee Ana de Armas (Blonde) becomes a first-time host the same weekend her new movie, Ghosted, debuts on AppleTV+. Then, SNL should book Rita Moreno to host the weekend Fast X hits theaters (May 20) or any of the Latinas in the action-packed sequel – Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, or Nathalie Emmanuel. Did you know Moreno has never hosted SNL before? How is that possible?

Here’s a look at the five best moments of Jenna Ortega hosting SNL. Blinking was allowed.


Invisible Nasties

During her opening monologue, Ortega shared a clip of a TV commercial she starred in as a little girl for Colgate toothpaste. In the commercial, a 9-year-old Ortega asks viewers if they want to help her “catch some invisible nasties,” which are portrayed as animated germs swirling in the sink. Ortega then said “scary music and editing can make anything seem like a horror film” before replaying the commercial with ominous music and lighting and demonic voice effects.


Dangerous Minds

A PBS game show called School vs. School featured Ortega as an X-Men-esque student with mind power competing alongside a classmate and teacher. The teacher’s name was Professor Zander, and the school they were representing was the Academy for Extraordinary Children. Ortega played Zena, a mutant who wasn’t allowed to use her superpowers because, according to Zander, she “cannot yet control them.” Zena and Zander yell back and forth at each other until Zena gets angry and uses her power to incapacitate the teacher on the opposing team.


Cat Ball

The MTV show Ridiculousness is lampooned with Ortega playing Lee Lee, a panelist brought onto the show to comment on the online videos the host shows the audience. Ortega’s character, however, begins to share disturbing anecdotes with the host and her fellow panelists. For example, when she sees a funny cat video, she tells everyone about the time her cat had babies, but that the kittens “came out fused into one big … ball of cat parts.” Later, when one of the other panelists wants to hear more about Lee Lee’s cat story, the host says, “No more cat ball! The cat ball is weird and sad. It’s not the vibe of the show.”


Waffle House of Chaos

Ortega and SNL featured cast member Marcello Hernandez starred in a CW-type teen drama called Varsity Valley, which inexplicably sets a sad breakup scene in the parking lot of a Waffle House. Instead of focusing on why the stars of the show, Casey (Ortega) and Zach (Hernandez), are ending their relationship, viewers are distracted by tons of bad behavior happening in the restaurant beside them. This includes fights, a woman dancing on the counter and a police officer tasing a shirtless customer. Ah, you never forget your first love.


Demon Meets Its Match

Ortega gets her fill of horror mayhem in a skit where she plays a girl who is possessed by a demon. Her parents and a priest are in her bedroom attempting to save the girl, but they are apparently making too much noise. Their upstairs neighbor, Mrs. Shaw needs eight hours of sleep, so she volunteers to exorcize the demon herself. The demon settles down when Mrs. Shaw makes it abundantly clear that she’s not going to take any of its back talk. She’s been a crossing guard at an elementary school for 40 years, and there’s nothing the demon can tell her that she hasn’t heard before.