‘West Side Story’ star Ariana DeBose to host first 2022 ‘SNL’

The Golden Globe-nominated actress will host the Jan. 15 episode of the NBC sketch comedy show.

NBC’s Saturday Night Live announced that it will open the new year with Ariana DeBose, the actress who stars as Anita in the hit remake of West Side Story, as host.

DeBose will host the long-running sketch comedy show for the first time on Jan. 15 and rapper Roddy Rich will serve as the episode’s musical guest.

Ariana DeBose attends The Hollywood Reporter’s 29th Annual Women in Entertainment Breakfast with FIJI Water at Fairmont Century Plaza on December 08, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for FIJI Water)

Elated to be hosting, DeBose posted about her upcoming appearance on Twitter, quote tweeting the SNL official post with the caption, “I’m hosting @nbcsnl. Hold please while I go collect my extremities, as I have exploded from excitement and sensible fear.”


This will be SNL‘s first episode since Dec. 18, when actor Paul Rudd hosted. The ninth episode of the show’s 47th season was altered due to the spike in positive COVID-19 cases driven by the omicron variant. Kenan Thompson and Michael Che were the only cast members present at Studio 8H, while the night was mostly pre-recorded sketches.

The episode also lacked a musical guest. Singer Charlie XCX had been scheduled to perform.

DeBose has risen in prominence since landing a big role in director Steven Spielberg‘s high-profile reimagining of the classic 1961 film. It’s earned $49 million at the box office worldwide since its December release, and DeBose is up for a Golden Globe nomination.

West Side Story is based on the hit Broadway musical. Appropriately enough, DeBose has an extensive background on stage.

She was nominated for a 2018 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for Summer: The Donna Summer Story, playing the titular character. She’s also appeared in Broadway musicals Hamilton, Motown The Musical, A Bronx Tale and Bring It On: The Musical.

Ariana DeBose, Steven Spielberg, and Rachel Zegler attend the New York premiere of West Side Story on November 29, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for 20th Century Studios)

DeBose first came into national attention as a contestant on Fox’s dance competition series So You Think You Can Dance back in 2009. She stars in the Apple TV+ musical comedy series Schmigadoon!

The Jan. 15 SNL episode will also be Roddy Rich’s first time performing on the show. The rapper just scored a Top 10 charting album on the Billboard 200 with his sophomore release Live Life Fast.

The album, which features guests such as Jamie Foxx, Future, Kodak Black, Lil Baby, Ty Dolla $ign and 21 Savage, also reached number one on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop album chart.

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