x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Footnotes: Campaigning for Betty White

Betty White, late of The Golden Girls, hosts Saturday Night Live as a result of a campaign on Facebook, an entity unfamiliar to her.

Betty White (right) on the set of Saturday Night Live with Kristen Wiig.
Betty White (right) on the set of Saturday Night Live with Kristen Wiig.

It started out as just another one of those Facebook groups - Betty White to Host SNL (Please?!) - urging for the 88-year-old star of The Golden Girls to helm Saturday Night Live, NBC's flagship comedy sketch show. It worked, since the group's huge following (it currently has 515,125 fans) reportedly led to White's appearance on the show last week. Her performance went down a storm, and she drew the best audience figures since November 2008, when the comedian Tina Fey impersonated the Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin during the US election campaign.

And on the tail of the first Facebook campaign, another: more than 27,000 fans have now joined a group lobbying for her to present the Oscars. White has not yet made it clear whether or not she is keen to take up the challenge, but she found time during her appearance on the frenetic 90-minute show to acknowledge her online fan base. "When I first heard about the campaign to get me to host Saturday Night Live, I didn't know what Facebook was. Now that I do know what it is, I have to say: it seems like a huge waste of time."

Next year's Academy Awards ceremony will take place on February 27. If White is successful (and who knows? She might be), she will take up the mantle from Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, whose lacklustre co-hosting effort this year met with mixed reviews.