As much as I loved Forgetting Sarah Marshall, it is my strongly biased opinion that no movie Kristen Bell has made to date (well, I haven’t seen Hit and Run yet) will ever be as good as Veronica Mars or her still-squee-inducing sloth home video. But every time the bubbly actress makes an appearance on TV, she steals the show. Case in point: last night’s Tonight Show, in which she absolutely charmed with tales of how she used to get out of traffic tickets and used to have a car named “The Slut,” and then followed that up by sitting next to second guest Ryan Lochte and enhancing his interview. We’ve lovingly poked fun at Lochte’s great interview skills, and if he’d appeared by himself with Jay Leno, things might have gone just the same as they have in every sitdown he’s had since before the Olympics (he pees in the pool, he’s friends with Michael Phelps, he’ll consider the Bachelor but is more excited about Dancing With the Stars). But with Kristen there, everything was fresh and lively again.
After Bell tried on Lochte’s medals — because they matched her dress perfectly — she wasn’t content to sit back and let him deliver the same old answers. He explained why it was OK with him to race twice in the same day with only 27 minutes of rest, Kristen raised her hand to ask, “Twenty-seven minutes of rest as in between the races or 27 minutes of sleep? … Between the races. It’s just as bad. I don’t know why I even asked the question. Both are horrendous options. Could you even catch your breath in that amount of time?”
“After each race you build up so much lactic acid …” Ryan began.
“Of course,” she said, interrupting him.
“… that I didn’t really have time to cool down. So I was still huffing and puffing before my next race.”
OK, it’s much cuter to watch than transcribe. But anyway, she’s an excellent Ed McMahon/Andy Richter type here. Asking the questions and giving commentary that a seasoned host might not think to do. And she’s got so much else to offer the talk-show world: She’s cute without being annoying, funny without being mean, and she has a really great voice. Plus, we imagine that she’s every bit as smart as the girl detective she once played.
Sure, she probably won’t go for this idea right now, when she’s at the prime rom-com age. But maybe in a couple of years she’ll tire of those and realize that if she hosted her own show, she could even have the zoo bring a sloth by the set every once in a while.