As the hotly-anticipated "Hunger Games" sequel "Catching Fire" opens this weekend in theaters, it's no surprise that "Saturday Night Live" wanted in on some of that sweet, sweet attention. And with host Josh Hutcherson, they got it big time.
Hutcherson, who plays Peeta in the "Hunger Games" movies, joked in his opening monologue about how his character seems to be something of a beta male: "I play Peeta, the brave young hero who immediately gets hurt and has to be carried around for the rest of the movie," he joked.
He then revealed that members of the "SNL" cast are big "Hunger Games" fans, and ... cue Kate McKinnon, the biggest fan ever, dressed up as Elizabeth Banks' character Effie Trinket, down to the wide eyes and powder-white face. McKinnon said they would have their own "Hunger Games" cull, and bring two cast members up to the stage to fight to the death. Cecily Strong volunteered as tribute (à, la Katniss Everdeen) and ultimately gave Hutcherson a piggyback ride at the end of the opening.
But perhaps the best segment of the evening had nothing to do with "Hunger Games," and much to do with Hutcherson accepting some good-natured ribbing for being of shorter stature. In a video segment, Hutcherson, Kenan Thompson and Jay Pharoah played subway car dancers — a familiar sight on the New York City subway system — who have found a way to work around those times when the trains are packed and they can't bust a move with big, flashy dances. Alas, Hutcherson's character ("Lil Peanut") comes to a bad end and has to be replaced.
The next new "Saturday Night Live" episode airs Dec. 7 on NBC, with host Paul Rudd and musical guest One Direction.
First published November 24 2013, 7:01 AM