You heard it here first: Jennifer Lawrence is the host we didn’t know we needed.
Jimmy Kimmel has been absent from his show this week due to a delay of his son’s second heart surgery, and in the meantime, a variety of celebrity guest hosts have taken over. Lawrence took the reins on Thursday night’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! following appearances earlier in the week by Shaquille O’Neal, Dave Grohl, and Channing Tatum. Not only did she blow the previous hosts out of the water, but she gave Kimmel himself a run for his money.
The famously #relatable star kicked off the night with a predictably self-deprecating monologue, commenting on her adoration of the Kardashians (Kim was her guest for the night) and the Dodgers’ recent World Series loss. She had a few great lines (“The people of L.A. haven’t been this disappointed with a pitcher since Gwyneth Paltrow made quinoa lemonade!”), bolstered by solid delivery and some seriously elite facial expressions.
Jennifer Lawrence, Legitimate Comedian, followed up the monologue with a genuinely hilarious man-on-the-street game in which she ambushed people and demanded that they name five movies she had starred in. Pulling off the Billy Eichner impression, Lawrence displayed her trademark quick wit and a willingness to make a fool of herself. A particular highlight came near the end, when she climbed onto a Hollywood tour bus and riffed with the passengers for a while. “I see these vans drive by my neighborhood,” she said as she got off the bus, “so if you see somebody in a Tesla giving you the finger, that’s me.”
That could have been it—a genuine talent for comedy and on-the-spot ad-libbing would have been enough to serve as a solid appearance by a dramatic actress not used to hosting anything—but then she went and delivered a legitimately compelling, 18-minute-long interview with Kim Kardashian West.
It was the right call to pair J-Law with Kim. Lawrence is a longtime fan, and the two recently had a drunken dinner together that provided plenty of conversation fodder. But even with that safety net, Lawrence’s interview was surprisingly daring. She demonstrated from the start that she would ask Kim questions that no male talk-show host would consider. “Do you think it’s a coincidence that Reggie Bush’s wife looks just like you?” she asked. “I don’t.”
From there, she vacillated wildly between oddly specific, fangirl questions (“Is Khloe, like, in on you being subtly rude to her? Or are you just subtly rude?”) and blatant references to famous Kardashian scandals (“Have you talked to O.J. since he’s gotten out of prison? Did you ask him if he did it?”).
The entire interview is a trip, but, more than anything, it’s wildly entertaining to watch two of the world’s biggest stars chat like BFFs about everything from ex-boyfriends to the rumors that surround them both. J-Law and Kim brought out the best in each other; Kim came off as remarkably relatable, even when talking about the intercom in her house or a song Kanye performed for her at the Met Gala. And with Lawrence’s help, Kim was the funniest she’s ever been. When plugging Kim’s makeup line, Lawrence not-so-subtly compared a makeup brush to a dildo. When the two pointed out that the flesh-colored plastic may be what’s prompting those comparisons, Kim deadpanned that she didn’t realize it looked like a dildo because, “I usually see darker colors, so …”
After a few badly received movies and diminishing returns on her “normal girl” routine, maybe hosting is the future of Jennifer Lawrence’s career. The potential is there. Let’s start her off easy, with an award show or two; pair her up with a comedian friend (Aziz Ansari? Amy Schumer?) and give ’em a low-stakes show like the SAG Awards or the Film Independent Spirit Awards (although Nick Kroll and John Mulaney’s stint from last year would be tough to beat). A few one-liners later, she’ll have worked her way up to the Oscars, and the era of “Jennifer Lawrence: Hostess With The Mostest” will be in full swing.