Saturday Night Live has given a platform to a lot of different celebrities to be hosts on the show and it’s not always worked out.
Sure, the number of good guest hosts probably outnumbers the bad ones. Yet those hosts who simply didn’t work out for a myriad of reasons are remembered quite well.
So, who falls among the absolute worst guest hosts for SNL? It kind of looks like a who’s who of entertainment, sports, television, and movies.
We’ll start with Chevy Chase, whose initial success on TV was due to his being on the show. Back in 1997, Chase reportedly smashed cast member Cheri Oteri on the back of her head about something. In the late 1970s, at the height of his first level of success, Chase came back only to get into a fistfight with Bill Murray. Due to these instances, Chase hasn’t hosted since the late 1990s. He’s been on as a guest sometimes, but never as a host.
In the meantime, Martin Lawrence, who was riding high in the 1990s thanks to his sitcom Martin, found himself on the banned list. Lawrence tried some jokes or material about feminine hygiene. They fell flat and were even deemed too bad to air in reruns. That’s one thing that can happen on a “live” television show. Lawrence’s hosting gig lasted one show. He’s never been back since 1994.
Paris Hilton was a bit too haughty for cast members. She reportedly was not too keen about putting in the work to prepare. It even led Tina Fey to tell Howard Stern in an interview that Hilton’s attitude was that everyone should be grateful that she was even there. Meh, it was a disaster from the get-go, Rolling Stone reports.
Meanwhile, actress January Jones received high praise, and an Emmy Award, for her portrayal of Betty Draper on Mad Men. Sometimes, serious actresses can leap comedy and hold their own. Jones was not comfortable in her hosting role at all. Jones even verbally asked for cues during sketches. That’s a no-no on live television.
Cyclist Lance Armstrong took center stage as host back in 2005. At the time, Armstrong was in a relationship with Sheryl Crow and had beaten cancer. He also was quite public and vocal about his “Livestrong” charity. Yet there was a bit of arrogance coming through to the cast and on the show itself. Of course, this was before Armstrong was found to have used performance-enhancing drugs.
Ironically, late New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner even took a turn as host. This could have been pretty good had “The Boss” been a little bit more humble. Forget about it. Steinbrenner nixed different sketch ideas. For the ones that received an OK, he just half-heartedly got involved with them. Eventually, George “thought” he knew better for SNL. It was a disaster back in 1990.
Now, it might be hard to believe that Milton Berle could be a bad host. Back in 1979, Berle, “Uncle Miltie” and “Mr. Television” himself, just pretty much torpedoed the whole show. He was upset that a number of his ideas were nixed by the show’s writers and producers. Berle went out there and told off-color jokes. He took over the show himself, thinking that he knew better. It could have been a great moment.
Yet the “worst of the worst” might belong to Steven Seagal. This is a consensus choice from cast members and even SNL boss Lorne Michaels, too. In 1991, well, let’s just say that Steven loved himself a whole lot. Seagal would dismiss jokes for him to say. He even appeared lackluster and disinterested in being a part of SNL. Seagal’s ego got the best of him. It also sent the cast and Michaels into a tailspin that week. Congrats Steven, you win the “Worst-Ever SNL Host” title.
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