This coming weekend is a big one for Saturday Night Live. It marks the end of Bill Hader's tenure on the show and Ben Affleck's fifth time hosting. But perhaps the most significant reason to tune in is the fact that Kanye West is the musical guest, and he's making it seem like he really, really doesn't want to be. With West's apparent frustration with the show and his penchant for, shall we say ... off-the-cuff remarks, producers should be worried and we should be excited. Is there a better combo than that?
So just how worried should Lorne Michaels be? It's hard to tell. A report from Perez Hilton claimed that West threatened not to perform if Kim Kardashian was mocked. On Wednesday night, while performing during the Adult Swim upfront at the Roseland Ballroom, West went on a rant about the paparazzi who recently filmed him walking into a sign. Complex's Insanul Ahmed reported that during the show he told the audience: "[I had a friend ask me, 'Are you gonna go on] SNL and you're going to do like a skit about the paparazzi and shit and like humanize yourself?' I ain't here to apologize to no motherf--kers man. It ain't about me humanizing myself." He later added: "Hell nah I ain't doing no motherf--king SNL skits, this my goddamn life. This ain't no motherfucking joke. That's it. Stop that shit right there."
While he may be talking about skits relating to paparazzi specifically, West is clearly in no mood to be poking fun at his image, something also evident in his promos for the show. That is, unless said promos are a brilliant act of meta-self parody. We're not exactly sure. West stands, arms-crossed, at one point with a Band-Aid on his head, glaring at the camera and delivering lines in a read-from-the-teleprompter monotone. The bits are supposed to be about how Affleck and West are too cool for Armisen, but somehow we get the sense that theme was chosen out of necessity.
As for the content of his actual performance—aside from what he might say before or after—who knows? West will likely perform some new material, possibly even "I Am A God," a song which might not have a lot of fans in certain religious communities.
West has done some pretty great things on SNL in the past. Let us not forget that this weekend will also be his fifth appearance on the show as well. His first time in Studio 8H came shortly after his infamous George Bush comments at the Katrina telethon. During that appearance, West showed a willingness for self-parody as the show orchestrated a backstage reunion between him and Mike Myers, the celebrity who stood next to him when he went off on the president. (FYI, it was 2005 but Maya Rudolph was pregnant back then as well.)
In 2007, he parodied his own bad behavior at awards shows.
He's also had some fantastic performances on the show. The last time he was on the show in 2010, Saturday Night Live let him totally redo their set and bring on a crew of ballerinas for his performances of "Power" and "Runaway."
So West might either do something artistically amazing, go off the rails, or simply blow off this performance. No matter what, we'll be watching.