Poor Josh Brolin. The first time he hosted "Saturday Night Live," in 2008, he was upstaged before he even hit the stage, thanks to cold-open cameos from Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin, Tina Fey playing Sarah Palin and Sarah Palin playing herself.
But the installment might be best remembered for the music – and not Brolin's "I'm No Angels" skit. That's the night Adele gave her first big hello to U.S. audiences with performances of "Chasing Pavements" and "Cold Shoulder," helping launch her superstardom on this side of the Atlantic.
Now it's Matthew McConaughey's turn for some pity: He's slated to host this weekend as Adele returns to "SNL" seven years and two albums later as the undisputed star of the show.
Adele is, well, rolling deep with momentum: "Hello" recently became the first song to notch a million downloads in a week. On Tuesday, she gave a concert at Radio City Music Hall that was taped for a special to be broadcast next month on NBC. On Friday, her "25" album gets its official release.
But "SNL" bodes to be an Adele highlight – a return to the TV studio where she first connected with a large hunk of her audience, via a searing, heartache-propelled voice that embeds itself in listeners' souls.
"SNL," of course, has hosted many unforgettable musical segments over the last four decades, a litany that includes performances by, among other, Paul Simon, Elvis Costello, Public Enemy, Nirvana, Mariah Carey, Kanye West, Prince and three of the four Beatles.
Adele’s "SNL" debut ranks among the most significant breakout performances in the show’s history – it became for her, in a sense, what the live-from-New-York "Ed Sullivan Show" gig meant to John, Paul, George and Ringo in 1964.
Judging from portions heard so far, "25," represents a maturation without a loss of edge and relatability. The 27-year-old singer and songwriter comes back to "SNL" amid a renaissance that easily beats a McConaughassaince any night of the week.
Not that Oscar-winner McConaughey, a frequent “SNL” target, is feeling sorry for himself. Check out some self-effacing promos he cut with Kate McKinnon (above), in which Adele plays an unseen role.