13 Very Famous, Very Funny People Rejected From ‘Saturday Night Live’

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13 Very Famous, Very Funny People Rejected From ‘Saturday Night Live’

13 Very Famous, Very Funny People Rejected From ‘Saturday Night Live’


Saturday Night Live is one of the longest running shows on television. Not only is the sketch comedy series iconic of American culture, it serves as a certain kind of rite of passage for comedic heavyweights. No matter how you feel about the series, its most valuable utility has always been to usher in new comedic voices to the public. Although the show may have brought us so many of the greats, sometimes the producers at SNL just get things wrong. These are Saturday Night Live’s biggest missed opportunities. But I must say, I think these comedians and actors turned out pretty well without the show.

1. Louis C.K. 

In 1993, C.K. auditioned and recalled the debacle to ASpecialThing,”Dave Attell, Laura Kightlinger, Sarah Silverman, Jay Mohr and me and a bunch of other people all auditioned.” Everyone but him was cast.

2. Jim Carrey 

Carey auditioned twice in 1980 but was rejected both times. He did however join the cast of In Living Color an alternative sketch comedy show.

Jim Carrey Signs Copies Of His New Book "How Roland Rolls"

3. Stephen Colbert 

Colbert discussed his failed 1992 SNL audition with GQ, “Robert Smigel had seen me perform at Second City when he was one of the people scouting forSaturday Night Live. When was Carvey? 1996? So that was in 1992 and I didn’t get hired for SNL that time.”


4. Aubrey Plaza

Though she interned for the show in 2005, she was passed over when she finally got the chance to audition three years later.


5. Donald Glover

Glover auditioned to appear on SNL as a recurring actor to play Obama in various sketches. He lost to Fred Armisen.

Community - Season 4

6. Zach Galifianakis 

Though he wasn’t hired as part of the cast in 1999, he did land a writing gig on SNL.


7. Kevin Hart

When Kevin Hart hosted SNL he used his opening monologue to lament his rejection from the show.


8. John Goodman

In 1980, Goodman was rejected, though he has since hosted 13 times.


9. David Cross

Cross and his comedy collective auditioned for SNL in 1990 and according to him, “bombed.”


10. Marc Maron

Maron believes he lost his chance to replace Norm MacDonald on Weekend Update because he ate a Jolly Rancher from Lorne Michael’s desk. Maron even wrote a story about it for AirAmerica. “As soon as I took the candy I swear to God Lorne shot a look at the head writer that clearly connoted to me that I had failed the test,” he wrote.


11. Lisa Kudrow

Kudrow and comedian Julia Sweeney vied for the one empty spot in 1990, Lorne Michaels flew out to see the two women’s Groundlings performance and Kudrow psyched herself out.  Kudrow later told Los Angeles Magazine. “The show that night got to me, I was unnerved and clearly not ready. I was disappointed that I did not get it. There’s another sign, I thought, that I’m not cut out for it. That feeling lasted for a little bit.”


12. Kathy Griffin

Griffin was a part of the same Groundlings showcase as Kudrow. Although Griffin agreed with Michaels’ decision because Sweeney kicked their butts. She told Los Angeles Magazine, “Lisa and I were really crushed. Julia just kicked our asses. She was perfect.”



13. Steve Carell 

Carrell and his wife comedian Nancy Walls auditioned for the show together in 1995. She got the job. He didn’t.


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