Michael Keaton brings back Batman (and Beetlejuice) for SNL

Michael Keaton is experiencing a professional renaissance of sorts lately with his Oscar-nominated performance in Birdman, but for many people, the veteran actor’s most memorable roles are those of Batman and Beetlejuice. And it was those characters — from Tim Burton’s 1989 revival of the DC Comics superhero and his 1988 supernatural comedy, respectively — that a few Saturday Night Live cast members were determined to bring back to the screen when Keaton hosted the most recent episode of the long-running sketch comedy series.

Early in Keaton’s show-opening monologue, SNL cast members Taran Killam and Bobby Moynihan interrupted the actor to make their fanboy-friendly request of the Birdman star. Their musical plea to have Keaton play Batman — and then Beetlejuice — for them was met with resistance from the actor, who at one point shouts, “Somebody find Lorne!”

In the end, though, the pair finally get their wish — sort of — as scenes of the Killam and Moynihan reenacting moments from Batman and Beetlejuice are cut with scenes of Keaton practicing backstage for the episode, crudely (and quite hilariously) edited to make him look like the iconic characters. Just when you think that’s all we’re going to get, Keaton concludes his monologue by offering up a nostalgia-inducing “I’m Batman” for the camera, followed by the catchphrase for his Beetlejuice character, “It’s showtime!”

As Keaton mentioned early in his introduction, it’s been quite a while since the actor appeared on the SNL stage. His first guest-hosting gig for the series occurred in 1982, with a second appearance in 1992 to promote Batman Returns. While Keaton was one of the staples of ’80s and ’90s films, he faded from the spotlight a bit over the last decade or so, only to come back in a big way with Birdman, which won four Academy Awards and was nominated for another five Oscars — including one for Keaton himself in the “Best Actor” category.

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