Betty White, Jay-Z Celebrate Golden Years on "SNL"

Actress is oldest host ever of sketch show

By Caitlin Millat
|  Sunday, May 9, 2010  |  Updated 11:05 PM CDT
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Take note -- this may be the only time you see Betty White and Jay-Z on the same stage.

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Take note -- this may be the only time you see Betty White and Jay-Z on the same stage.

The rapper and ex-"Golden Girls" actress shared the spotlight on this weekend's episode of "Saturday Night Live," which saw the 88-year-old White star in "SNL" sketch favorites alongside some of the show's most prolific female alumni, including Amy Poehler, Tina Fey and Molly Shannon.

White opened the program, billed as a Mother's Day episode, with a bit about the Facebook campaign that landed her in the "SNL" hot seat, joking that in her heyday, the social networking site wasn't around, making the first of a slew of jokes about her "golden" years.

"I'm not new to live TV," White said, referencing a sitcom she'd filmed in 1952 that aired live. "Of course, back then, we didn't want to do it live. We just didn't know how to tape things," she joked.

The actress, who gained newfound fame as a comedy star this year when she starred in a Snickers Super Bowl commercial that saw her get barreled by a football player and slammed to the ground, capitalized on her age throughout the show, using some variation of old-woman-makes-potty-mouthed-joke in nearly every sketch.

White spent most of the program starring in "SNL" mainstays she had been written into for the power-packed episode that brought back Fey, Shannon, and Poehler as well as ex-favorites Ana Gasteyer, Rachel Dratch and Maya Rudolph.

The ex-"Golden Girl" played MacGruber's grandma in a slightly uncomfortable three-part episode of MacGruber, which saw the action hero, soon to be featured on the big screen, propose marriage to White for being the "best grandma ever."

White's impeccably timed response? "Are you f------ crazy? Yes."

She also recycled the grandma act to sit alongside Rachel Dratch in Dratch's arguably most famous bit, the Debbie Downer sketch, which featured White as Dratch's depressed character's grandmother who sees the glass half-empty -- and more.

Despite her age, White held her own alongside "SNL"'s heaviest female hitters, at one point stealing the show from star Tina Fey in a bit about the census that saw White list the other residents of her apartment as Fluffy, Princess, Tigger and Socks.

She didn't shy from raunchy comedy, either -- White spent the entirety of one sketch making thinly veiled sex jokes about her "muffin" as she starred as a bakery chef alongside Gasteyer and Shannon, hosts of a public-radio cooking show.

"A lot of people like my pumpkin pie, and of course my carrot cake is legendary. But if there's one thing I'm known for, it's my muffin," she deadpanned.

White's most shocking "SNL" moment came after the cast honored her in a digital short with a moving rendition of "Thank You for Being a Friend," the theme of White's hit sitcom "Golden Girls."

"Oh, that was just lovely," White said as the cast finished. "But I think I prefer my version," she said, covering her face in a black ski mask and launching into a death-metal version of the song.

Poehler, Gasteyer, Fey, Rudolph, Dratch and Shannon all had their own shining moments throughout the program, from Rudolph's turn as a struggling Whitney Houston to the ladies' collective starring gig as mild-mannered singers on a reprise of the "SNL" favorite Lawrence Welk sketch.

For his part, music icon Jay-Z brought the house down, performing a medley of hits including "99 Problems," "On to the Next," and New York City favorite "Empire State of Mind," which the song's co-star, Alicia Keys, also performed on the program earlier this season.

He closed with the hit "Young Forever," dedicated to "the most incredible Betty White."

 

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