“A lot has changed since last season. The vaccine came out everywhere except Florida, and the rest of the country went back to normal for about a week and a half,” the Texas-born actor said in opening his monologue and talked about growing up as a middle child, pointing to his brothers, actors Luke Wilson and Andrew Wilson, in the audience. (Luke Wilson later joined his brother for a taped Star Trek sketch in which the duo played Jeff Bezos and his brother.)
“I am excited to be here doing something live,” Wilson said, noting that unlike with movies, “reviews will be coming in immediately. People are probably tweeting reviews right now.”
While Wilson has been told that if he gets to read the good reviews, he also needs to read the bad ones, “that’s not true,” he said, quipping, “I only read the good ones. I really find that the bad ones, they don’t really speak to me in the same way.”
He then recalled one bad one that “made it past my radar” years ago which said, “Owen Wilson’s onscreen persona has all the ambition of an old golden retriever laying next to a fire.”
“To be honest, I probably have been guilty at times of coasting a little, taking my foot off the pedal, but I’ll tell you what. When Daniel Day-Lewis retired, and all of that pressure landed on my shoulders, everything changed. That’s when I knew I had to do Cars 3,” Wilson said to big applause.
He called hosting SNL part of “taking chances and spreading your wings as an artist.”
“And is it the worst thing in the world, being a golden retriever laying next to a fire?” he added. “I mean, I know everyone comes out here and says, ‘It’s going to be a great show!’ Is it? I don’t know!”
Watch Wilson’s opening monologue above.