Although the first two episodes of SNL’s 40th season featured acting cameos by musical guests Adam Levine of Maroon 5 and Ariana Grande, 24-year-old Hozier left the comedy sketches to the SNL pros for his debut on the program.
For his first song, the Irish singer delivered his hit single “Take Me to Church,” which topped the Adult Alternative Songs chart and reached the top 10 on both Hot Rock Songs and Alternative Songs. With an introduction by SNL alum Kristen Wiig, he followed up with the haunting “Angel of Small Death & the Codeine Scene.” Both performances featured backing vocalists and a string section.
First-time host Bill Hader launched the show by demonstrating his low singing voice during his monologue, which also featured a sax-playing Wiig and cameo by Harvey Fierstein. “With love, yikes!” Wiig joked. “That was really, really bad. I love you but don’t ever do that again to television.”
This week’s SNL also paid tribute to Jan Hooks, who died on Oct. 9 at the age of 57. Hader and Wiig introduced a vintage clip of Hooks with Phil Hartman, who also passed at a young age. “She was one of the best that ever was and her influence is clear in every one of us who has been here since,” Wiig said.