Republican Party presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is currently considering a request from SNL creator Lorne Michaels to host the show. Nearly all candidates have appeared on the comedy series, but Steve Forbes was the last to actually host in 1996 — according to The Hollywood Reporter. SNL writer Jim Downey reminds readers that, “[Romney] was funny on Letterman, giving the Top Ten list,” but we’re still not buying it. Can the former Governor of Massachusetts prove that he’s a human being and not an android? Will he actually get the jokes? Will Jason Sudeikis prove that he can out-Romney even Romney? We prepped ourselves for the possible answers by revisiting some of the NBC series’ worst hosts. Unfunny, awkward, and awful SNL MCs await you past the break, proving that sometimes hot-button hosts just don’t have the funny to make it all work. As always, share your picks below.
How well did the last presidential candidate who hosted SNL perform? Not so spiffy. Steve Forbes’ jokes flatlined completely — just like his tax plan. Not even his odd, Play-Doh-like expressions could save him. He appeared as host with musical guests Rage Against the Machine, who felt censored by the network due to Forbes’ gig. “They said the sponsors would be upset, and that because Steve Forbes was on, they had to run a ‘tighter’ show,” guitarist Tom Morello shared. “They could not have sucked up to the billionaire more.” Clearly it didn’t help.
Celebutante and lover of accessory pooches Paris Hilton hosted the comedy series in 2005. She said, “That’s hot,” far too many times, was completely unconvincing even as Fashion Fever Barbie in a skit with Amy Poehler and Will Forte as Ken (which — no insult to Barbie dolls everywhere — we think probably should have been a shoo-in), and apparently angered Tina Fey. “She’s a piece of shit,” Fey told Howard Stern when he mentioned the guest host. You can watch the full rant below, where Fey picks on Paris’ “Fraggle” hair and shares that the celebrity was mainly interested in performing Mean Girls-esque skits that allowed her to pick on frenemies like Jessica Simpson.
Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan’s appearance on SNL in March 1994 came just a few months after her now famous encounter with rival Tonya Harding that involved Kerrigan getting clubbed in the knee. The champ was also just criticized for comments made during a parade for Walt Disney World — which happened to be caught on cam — where she said, “This is dumb. I hate it. This is the most corniest thing I have ever done.” Unfortunately her hosting stint didn’t relieve Kerrigan from the spotlight. We’re sure media burnout had something to do with it, but her spot lacked personality.
Everyone wondered if January Jones — at that point already known as ice queen Betty Draper — could actually be funny when she appeared on the show in 2009. Sadly, Jones came across more like window dressing than an actual actress in her episode. The farting Rear Window sketch was pretty wretched, and Jones’ inability to read cue cards and focus on the right camera made things worse. If we had to choose which Mad Men star fared better as an SNL host, Jon Hamm would win hands down.
Uncle Miltie’s brand of vaudevillian humor didn’t go over well with the cast and crew of SNL. The comedic actor’s star had already fallen by the time 1979 rolled around, and in what seemed to be a desperate attempt for one more moment in the spotlight, Berle mugged for the camera like crazy and was blamed for trying to upstage the young whippersnappers around him. Apparently the shenanigans didn’t stop there, since tell-all book Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live, as Told By Its Stars, Writers and Guests shared that Berle had an oddly pervy moment with writer Alan Zweibel in a dressing room. The scribe told author Tom Shales, “[Berle] parts his bathrobe and he just takes out this — this anaconda. And he goes, ‘What do you think of the boy?'” The 71-year-old Berle was subsequently banned from the show.
We can wax nostalgic about all the ridiculous action movies Steven Seagal appeared in during the late 1980s/early 1990s, but there’s no avoiding something: Steven Seagal has always come across as a big jerk. The actor didn’t seem any different during his 1991 SNL spot, where his sourpuss demeanor didn’t bode well for the funny. And as big of a tool as Andrew Dice Clay was during his SNL host spot, Seagal managed to up the ante with a cruddy impersonation of the offensive comedian. Humorless Sensei Seagal was banned from the series for, well, being himself.
Chevy Chase has a history of bad behavior — as his recent feud with Community creator Dan Harmon proves — and he got into hot water with SNL creator Lorne Michaels during his 1997 hosting appearance. By that point, the SNL alum — responsible for one of the show’s best old school skits (Land Shark!) — had depleted his Vacation series humor, which may have made him miserable. The cranky actor apparently couldn’t get along with anyone on set of the show. His bad vibes came through in his episode, which felt wooden, awkwardly forced, and wholly unfunny.
MC Hammer should have used his signature pants to hide in when he hosted SNL in 1991 and simultaneously appeared as a musical guest on the show. Career-wise, things were already going down the tubes for the hyper performer, as by this point he had changed his name to the simpler “Hammer” in a bid to be taken seriously. Too legit to quit? Naw.
In 2000, the Canadian comedian totally confused audiences with his monologue when he told viewers that he’d be marrying then girlfriend Drew Barrymore (who did appear in the opening) at the end of the episode. It never happened, which seemed to peeve people — but that was just the start of their issues. Green’s jokes were dubbed to be in poor taste and generally considered stupid — not terribly unusual for the strange performer. His appearance came right after he cancelled his television series and was treated for testicular cancer, but that didn’t make anyone feel more forgiving when it came to the bad jokes Green dropped.
We’re not sure why SNL continues to be convinced that we’ll find athletes playing themselves as amusing, when clearly it’s rarely, if ever, worked out in the past. (See: our previous entry Nancy Kerrigan, George Foreman, Lance Armstrong, etc.) Swimmer Michael Phelps’ appearance as host was a complete wash thanks to his inability to read cues, his flat humor, and an intro that felt more like butt-kissing to adverts than an actual attempt at entertainment.