Why Has John C. Reilly Only Hosted ‘Saturday Night Live’ Once?
The once-elite SNL Five-Timers Club — a select group of entertainers so undeniably hilarious that they’ve been asked to host Saturday Night Live at least five times — has gotten a whole lot bigger over the years. Now 22 celebs can slide into the coveted Five-Timers velvet jacket, including “what the heck?” funny guys Ben Affleck and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. As the club grows each year — John Mulaney was the latest enshrined — it forces us to ask the question: If Elliott Gould could get six frickin’ shots at this, why has comedy genius John C. Reilly only got to host once? And why was that nine long years ago?
It’s not like Reilly is shy about doing comedy. I saw Tim & Eric bring their live show to little ol’ Madison, Wisconsin just a couple of years ago, and you can guess who jumped on stage for the encore, thrilling the masses with 20 minutes of unhinged Dr. Steve Brule. That’s Reilly, apparently hoofing it from town to town on the Tim & Eric tour bus, all in the service of goofy-ass laughs.
Look, we get how Saturday Night Live works. HBO wants to pump up The Last of Us, so Pedro Pascal gets the nod this weekend. Last week, it was Michael B. Jordan doing all he could to sell Creed III. Aubrey Plaza was out there promoting White Lotus and Emily the Criminal. Hosting SNL can be just another stop on the late-night car wash tour, moving from chair to chair to make sure viewers know your project exists. But the best SNL shows, year after year, are often hosted by entertainers with nothing to sell. Mulaney consistently hits it out of the park. Will Forte returned last year to remind the younger cast how to get their weird on. Lizzo flat-out destroyed. The point being: Performers don’t have to be in a movie opening next week to bring them on board.
And if we really have to play that game? Fine! Reilly was a blast as Dr. Jerry Buss in last year’s Winning Time on HBO, and Season Two is coming in 2023. Boom. Opportunity. The guy shows up in four to five projects a year, so we’re sure we can find one that could use a little SNL juice.
The best argument for more JCR on SNL? It’s his work on the show. Pairing him with Forte as an Olympic swimming coach? Inspired.
How about this bonkers bit as an actor committed to reenacting historical racism?
And we can’t get enough Harpoon Man. Any of these three sketches would be a contender for the absolute best of Season 48, and they’re all from the same show.
So come on, Lorne. We’re pretty sure Reilly is still in the old-timey Rolodex you keep next to the popcorn machine. With a good handful of shows left in 2023, pick up the phone and make the call. We all know who would make a fantastic addition to SNL’s Two-Timers Club. Even Rudy Giuliani hosted once for Christ’s sake.