21st Century ‘Saturday Night Live’ Guest Hosts Who Zoomers Have Probably Never Heard Of

It didn’t take long for some early aughts celebrities to fade from the zeitgeist
21st Century ‘Saturday Night Live’ Guest Hosts Who Zoomers Have Probably Never Heard Of

What up, Gen Z? As the latest generational wave of comedy nerds, you may be more likely to watch Saturday Night Live in TikTok-sized bites but those older clips might cause some WTF responses. Who the hell are these weird-ass hosts, and why should you know who they are? We’re not just talking about the guest stars from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s — there are plenty of hosts from the aughts who might cause a giant question mark to appear above your collective heads. We certainly wouldn’t blame you if you’re drawing a blank on these 13 21st-century SNL guest hosts.  

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Lara Flynn Boyle


Remember The Practice? When Boyle hosted in May 2001, she was hot off an Emmy nomination for her role as Assistant District Attorney Helen Gamble. But The Practice isn’t burning up the Netflix Top Ten these days, and Twin Peaks, the series that made her a star, is a particularly 1990s type of weirdness. In other news, SNL has done better by their hosts than this Bloater Brothers sketch, which casts Boyle in a Hooters-style half-shirt. No one should be asked to flash Chris Parnell on live TV.  

Mena Suvari


Suvari hosted in 2001 after her appearance in the Oscar-winning American Beauty, a movie that, um, hasn’t aged well (and neither does this opening monologue which relies on familiarity with the film’s perverted fantasies). Whether it’s the specter of a middle-aged dad lusting after Suvari’s high school student or the real-life stench emanating from co-star Kevin Spacey, that particular flick isn’t one that lands on a lot of today’s must-see lists. Zoomers might remember her better from another American movie — she was the least interesting cast member in the American Pie series.

Tom Green


Tom Green’s MTV show in the late 1990s was a cultural Roman candle that briefly lit up the pop-culture sky before Green ducked back down to earth, in part to deal with a cancer diagnosis. Green has bubbled up online here and there in subsequent years, but he’s kept a relatively low profile that likely makes him Zoomer anonymous.  

Calista Flockhart


Around the turn of the century, Indiana Jones’ better half was among the biggest stars on television. Ally McBeal is one of those early aughts shows that is very much of its time. The show leaned heavily on popular music, cool in the moment but a nightmare when expensive music rights keep the show from streaming and DVDs. As for Flockhart? Unless younger viewers caught her on the CW’s Supergirl, her infrequent TV and movie appearances likely make her unknown.  

Jeff Gordon


Sometimes, SNL hits the jackpot with athlete hosts, with superstars like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning turning in hilarious performances that still get memed today. Then there’s Jeff Gordon. He’s an all-time stock-car racing great, ranking third all-time in NASCAR Cup wins. But he hasn’t raced full-time since 2015 and thankfully, hasn’t attempted comedy since his SNL appearance in 2003. 

Nia Vardalos


Hey Zoomers, you’re about to get reintroduced to Vardalos with this summer’s My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3. The initial entry in 2002 was an out-of-nowhere blockbuster that received unexpected Oscar and Golden Globes nominations. Unfortunately for Vardalos, that success didn’t translate into long-term stardom. Her SNL appearance is largely absent from YouTube, with only this promotional clip to hint at what might have been. 

Jessica Simpson


Britney Spears rival Jessica Simpson hosted in 2004 with her then-husband Nick Lachey, now better known as the star of Love is Blind with current wife Vanessa. Simpson was white-hot for a minute, rocking her Daisy Dukes in the Dukes of Hazzard movie and churning out breathy pop songs. But Jessica isn’t even the most famous SNL guest in her family. That would be sister Ashlee, who got busted lip-synching and ditched the stage mid-song on live television

Elijah Wood


Zoomers with nerdy parents might not recognize the name Elijah Wood even if they were subjected to endless childhood viewings of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, in which Wood played hobbit hero Frodo Baggins. These days, his IMDb is mostly full of producer credits (admittedly, he did loom rather large in the most recent season of Yellowjackets). NBC hasn’t shared any Wood/SNL clips on YouTube, but this promo suggests we aren’t missing much. 

Al Sharpton


How do you explain Al Sharpton to someone who wasn’t there? His Wikipedia entry at least hints at his multitudes: American civil rights and social justice activist, Baptist minister, politician, radio talk show host and TV personality, who is also the founder of the National Action Network civil rights organization. Oh, and he also ran for president in 2004, making Sharpton another participant in Lorne Michaels’ questionable practice of allowing candidates to host the show. Sharpton was an entire socio-politco-pop-culture buffet, offering a little something for everyone to get agitated about. Too bad all that time in the public eye didn’t make him better at ready comedy cue cards. 

Paul Giamatti


These days, Giamatti is a face Zoomers might recognize — he shows up in stuff like Billions or as a voice on BoJack Horseman — but rarely in the leading role. In 2005, he was an unlikely leading man, earning an Oscar nom for his charming dork role in Sideways. The guy does have serious comedy chops, hilarious in films ranging from Howard Stern’s Private Parts to playing cranky cartoonist Harvey Pekar in American Splendor

Topher Grace


Do Zoomers watch That ‘70s Show We’re guessing no, considering it’s a nostalgia sitcom about their grandparents that had its original run before many of them were born. In that case, the name Topher Grace would likely draw blank stares. Trivia for Marvel fans: Grace was the original Venom, so can we give the guy a little geek cred? 

Jonny Moseley


Zoomers, join hands with Boomers, Gen X and Millennials in not recognizing the name Jonny Moseley. He was an Olympic skier for the U.S. in 2002, but failed to bring home a medal. Finishing fourth at the Olympics is nothing to be ashamed of, but it’s also not the kind of achievement that usually lands you a hosting gig on SNL. Credit to the imaginative writers for casting Moseley in a sketch as a guy who skis. 

Josh Hartnett


The irony of Josh Hartnett’s SNL monologue from 2002, in which he vows to break free from the old Josh Hartnett to show off a new Josh Hartnett, is that he never had a defined Josh Hartnett persona to begin with. He was a pretty boy in moderate but forgotten hits like Blackhawk Down and Pearl Harbor, cementing his status as a moderate but forgotten movie lead. He may be a fine character actor now, but name recognition among Zoomers? Nonexistent. 

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