This Famous Late Night Host Was Rejected From "SNL"

And then Late Night With Conan O'Brien rejected him too!

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Saturday Night Live has kicked off a ton of careers, from Chris Rock's to Tina Fey's to Adam Sandler's. But it also nearly killed some careers too. It turns out, late night host Stephen Colbert auditioned for SNL in the 1990s, but was rejected. Ultimately, his failed audition led him to The Daily Show; then to host his own show, The Colbert Report, which ran for 11 seasons; and now, he's moved on to be the host of The Late Show, succeeding David Letterman. To see what happened at Colbert's SNL audition, read on. And to find out which host left the wrong impression, check out This Is the Worst "SNL" Host of All Time, Cast Says.

"[SNL writer and producer] Robert Smigel had seen me perform at Second City when he was one of the people scouting for Saturday Night Live," Colbert said during a GQ interview in 2011. "I didn't get hired for SNL that time." Smigel explained to GQ that on one of his trips to Second City, the famed Chicago improv comedy house where many SNL cast members have been discovered, he was expecting to see Steve Carell. However, Carell was out that night, but his understudy, Colbert, was there to take his place.

"Colbert completely blew me away. I was all about the understudy. Like, 'Who's the understudy?'" Smigel said. Colbert was brought in to audition for SNL's creator and producer Lorne Michaels, who turned him down.

During a 2015 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Michaels expressed regret over passing up Colbert. When the interviewer asked, "Whom did you overlook that you kicked yourself over later?" Michaels first response was "Stephen Colbert." "There were lots of people who you'd see how brilliant they were, but you knew on some level that it wasn't going to work," said Michaels.

Though he wasn't a fit for SNL, Smigel introduced Colbert to Conan O'Brien to see if there was a spot for him on his show. After submitting some jokes, Colbert also got rejected from Late Night with Conan O'Brien.

However, Colbert is in good company as a reject of the famed sketch comedy series. Read on for other stars who SNL passed on, and to find out why this one celebrity got cut from the show, check out Adam Sandler Just Explained the Truth Behind His "SNL" Firing.

Read the original article on Best Life.

1
Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey
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The famous comedian who is heavily featured on the current season of SNL as Joe Biden was rejected by the sketch show in 1980. "I wasn't at the Jim Carrey audition, but somebody who was there said, 'I don't think Lorne would like it,' and they were probably wrong, but it doesn't matter," Michaels told The Hollywood Reporter. "Or maybe they were right—who knows? No one gets it all right." To see which celebrity this host will never let on his show, check out The One Guest Anderson Cooper Banned From His Show.

2
Lisa Kudrow

Lisa Kudrow
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Before Friends became a massive hit, Lisa Kudrow was part of the star-studded Los Angeles-based improv and sketch-comedy school The Groundlings. Michaels told The Hollywood Reporter that he went out to visit the school and watch a performance of Kudrow and Julia Sweeney, whom he ultimately ended up casting over Kudrow.

Although he was impressed with Kudrow's audition, he felt it wasn't the right time to cast her. "Lisa Kudrow gave a brilliant audition, but it was at the time when it was Jan Hooks and Nora [Dunn]," said Michales.

3
Donald Glover

Donald Glover
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Emmy, Grammy, and Golden Globe-winner Donald Glover, also known as Childish Gambino, joked about getting rejected from SNL twice during his opening monologue when he hosted the show in 2018. "But it all worked out for me," he said with a smile. And for more celebrity news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

4
Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling
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While on The Last Laugh podcast in 2019, Mindy Kaling said her career could have looked very different. During Season 2 of The Office, Kaling was offered an opportunity to audition for SNLThe Office showrunner Greg Daniels struck a deal with Kaling, agreeing that if she was offered a role on the legendary show, he would release her from the contract since SNL was her childhood dream. Kaling wasn't offered a spot as a cast member, but rather as a writer. Although she wanted to take the job in an effort to play the long game and end up on stage, she said Daniels denied her release since that wasn't the deal they had made. And for more on what she's up to now, check out Mindy Kaling Secretly Had Another Baby and His Name Is Too Cute.

5
Aubrey Plaza

Aubrey Plaza
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"I wanted to be on that show for as long as I could remember," Aubrey Plaza told The Guardian of SNL. In 2005, she interned for the show, and in 2008, she auditioned but didn't end up making the cut. But if you're a fan of the show that ultimately made Plaza famous, check out 35 Ron Swanson Quotes That Will Make "Parks and Rec" Fan Giggle.

6
Kevin Hart

Kevin Hart
Shutterstock/Kathy Hutchins

Kevin Hart also joked about his rejection from SNL during his monologue as a host in 2013, citing multiple bad impersonations as the reason he didn't get the gig.

7
Zach Galifianakis

Zach Galifianakis
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After not getting picked for SNL, Zach Galifianakis worked as a part-time writer for the series for two weeks, he told GQ. For a Britney Spears episode that aired in 2000, Galifianakis wrote a sketch in which Will Ferrell was her oft-showing bellybutton's bodyguard. At the table read, the the sketch bombed, he told Off Camera With Sam Jones. "I remember it was so silent. I remember hearing the A.C. … it shut down in the middle of the sketch," he said. He was sitting next to Fey, the head writer at the time, who patted his shoulder. "God bless her," he said.

8
Jennifer Coolidge

Jennifer Coolidge
Shutterstock

Like Kudrow, Jennifer Coolidge was also a member of The Groundlings, and in 1995, she was invited to New York to audition for SNL along with other group members Ferrell, Chris Kattan, and Cheri Oteri. Though she didn't make the cut, she became a mainstay in Christopher Guest's mockumentary movies, from Best in Show to A Mighty Wind. And for more Hollywood history people would like to forget, check out Oprah Says This Was the Worst Guest She Ever Had.

Allie Hogan
Allie Hogan is a Brooklyn based writer currently working on her first novel. Read more
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