Five ‘SNL’ Hosts Who Had Absolutely No Sense of Humor About Themselves
You’d think “a sense of humor” would be the first qualifier to host Saturday Night Live, but over the show’s 49 seasons, a handful of humorless hosts have shown themselves to be acutely lacking in that department — especially when it comes to laughing at themselves. From the mouths of SNL cast members themselves, here are five of the show’s hosts who had no sense of humor about themselves whatsoever…
Seagal seems to be the consensus worst host of all time, in large part because he took himself so seriously. “The biggest problem with Steven Seagal was that he would complain about jokes he didn’t get,” says Tim Meadows in the SNL oral history Live From New York. “You can’t explain something to somebody in German if they don’t speak German. He just wasn’t funny, and he was very critical of the cast and the writing staff. He didn’t realize that you can’t tell somebody they’re stupid on Wednesday and expect them to continue writing for you on Saturday.”
It was so bad, says David Spade, that the show considered booting Seagal and doing a show without a host that week.
Tim Kazurinksy checked each guest “to see if they had a had a sense of humor, or if they were going to be a dickhead like Robert Blake.”
How bad was he? Writer David Sheffield remembered Blake being given a sketch called “Breezy Philosopher.” Blake read through the script, “then wadded it up, turned to (Gary) Kroeger and said, ‘I hope you got a tough asshole, pal, ‘cause you’re going to have to wipe your ass with that one.’ And then he threw it and bounced it off Gary’s face.”
The Peacock streaming version of this episode cut out every Blake appearance except for the final goodnights. Hey, the guy was found liable for the wrongful death of his wife, so what were you expecting?
All the cast members despised Zappa when he hosted in 1978, according to Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live. The musician immediately started barking out orders, while contributing ideas like, “I want to have pumpkins hanging on a Christmas tree, pumpkins that eat people’s faces. Pull that together by Saturday.”
Don Novello called the Zappa show one of the worst ever. “Zappa’s a genius, but he doesn’t trust people,” he has explained. “He does everything by himself.”
Chase has a sense of humor, but not about himself. He certainly doesn’t like it when he’s called out for his inappropriate jokes. When he hosted in 1985, Chase needled new cast member Terry Sweeney. “Chevy turned to me, and he said, ‘Oh, you’re the gay guy, right?’ And he goes, ‘I’ve got an idea for a sketch for you. How about we say you have AIDS and we weigh you every week.’” When someone made Chase take it all back, “he was really furious that he had to apologize to me,” Sweeney said. “He was just beside himself. And it was just awful.”
When he hosted again in the 1990s, Tim Meadows described the experience as “like just watching a car accident over and over again just watching him deal with people.”
Will Ferrell wished he’d gotten up and walked out of the room when Chase told a female writer, “Maybe you can give me a hand job later.” Chase earned Ferrell’s vote for worst host: “I think you’ll find a consensus on the Chevy Chase thing.”
When the young pop star hosted in 2013, “he was in a bad place,” Bill Hader told Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live. “Maybe he’s in a better place, but back then, it was rough.”
“Everyone’s usually on great behavior. Everyone’s very excited. Most times it’s 100 percent and that’s why I think Bieber was the only one, in my experience (who wasn’t),” Hader explained. “He just seemed, like, exhausted or at the end of a rope.”
Hader also complained about Bieber to Howard Stern. “Justin Bieber showed up with, like, 20 guys,” Hader told Stern. “He had a guy holding a slice of pizza, a guy holding a Diet Coke. Like, you’re going around the stage, and you’re trying to fight through all of these people to get dressed.”