Natasha Lyonne, the co-creator and star of the hit Netflix show Russian Doll, hosted Saturday Night Live for the first time on the Season 47 finale. “Two things you really want to be associated with right now are Russia and Netflix,” Lyonne said.
Hosting the sketch series was a seriously big deal for the self-described “real New Yorker.” Lyonne went on to explain that she has a kind of “cosmic connection” to the series. “The people here are my real-life chosen family. I’ve been coming here since I was a teenager,” she said. “I co-created Russian Doll with Amy Poehler, and I have great friends from the show.”
On cue, Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph materialized beside Lyonne to give her the ultimate gift: impressions of herself. “Ipso facto,” Armisen rasped. “Cock-a-roach,” said Rudolph, nailing Lyonne’s brusque New York accent. Lyonne let the audience know that she and Armisen previously dated for seven years. “We’re the only couple who had a sex tape no one wanted to buy.”
Lyonne went on to describe the arc of her career, beginning with a 1986 clip of her on Peewee’s Playhouse (“my best work.”) “I do some TV, my mom and I move to the Upper East Side. Suddenly, I’m in the movies — oh, and all those Nineties movies: American Pie, American Pie 2, American Pie: The Multiverse of Madness. The cult-favorite But I’m a Cheerleader.
“Things are going great,” she continued, “and then, ‘Knock knock.’ ‘Who’s there?’ ‘Multiple arrests and drug addiction!’ Oh yeah, I went to hell and back. Life was rough. But just like when Fabio was on that roller coaster and a bird flew in his face — and we have a photo of that — I brushed myself off and I got back on the ride.
“But I’m here and I’ll tell you what I found. There is always hope and despair. And there’s always a reason to get back in the ring and fight another day.”