19 ‘SNL’ Greats Who Have Never Hosted ‘SNL’

Thirty-nine former cast members have hosted the show, but these ‘SNL’ stars haven’t been asked back yet
19 ‘SNL’ Greats Who Have Never Hosted ‘SNL’

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As sure as Lorne Michaels sips Chardonnay under the Studio 8H bleachers, you can count on former Saturday Night Live legends to come back each season to host. This season alone has seen the returns of Pete Davidson and Kate McKinnon, bringing the list of cast member/hosts to 39 and counting. (Up to you if you want to count Shane Gillis.) And some long-tenured cast members haven’t been gone long enough to miss — Aidy Bryant and Cecily Strong will get their shots soon enough. But several other comedians who logged half a decade or more on the show haven’t received their return invitation. 

Here are the 19 most formidable SNL cast members who have never been back to host…

Gilda Radner

The one that almost was. Radner was scheduled to host in the spring of 1988, but the end of that season was obliterated by a writers’ strike. She would have been the first returning female cast member to host. Once the show resumed production, Radner’s failing health prevented her from a second chance to lead the show.

Al Franken

Amazingly, Franken appeared as a quasi-cast member during 11 different seasons, and that’s not counting additional years spent as a writer and producer. Considering his post-SNL success as a Rush Limbaugh antagonizer, political pundit and senator, it’s a wonder that Franken has never hosted. His #MeToo scandal didn’t help. 

Ana Gasteyer

An underappreciated gem, Gasteyer spent six seasons on the show. She got big laughs with her impressions of Martha Stewart, Hillary Clinton, Joan Rivers and more. She was also a great counterpuncher, trading solos with Will Ferrell in the Altadena Middle School music teacher sketches and Molly Shannon on their NPR parody Delicious Dish. Bring her back!

Chris Parnell

What up, Parns? The only guy SNL fired twice has been a frequent visitor on SNL-adjacent shows like 30 Rock and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. With eight seasons under his belt, Parnell deserves a shot to headline the actual show.

Bobby Moynihan

What’s more impressive than eight seasons on SNL? How about nine? The way the crowd roared when Moynihan took the Weekend Update desk as Drunk Uncle proves that he was an SNL fan favorite. He’s been off the show since 2017 — maybe he only needs a high-profile project to get asked back.

Rachel Dratch

“The whole studio vibrated,” Jimmy Fallon said of Dratch’s first Debbie Downer sketch, “and I started crying laughing.” Okay, cracking up Fallon and Horatio Sanz isn’t the world’s most difficult task, but by all accounts, the seats were shaking with laughter that night. Dratch put in the work for seven seasons on SNL and deserves to come home for her flowers.

Darrell Hammond

Until Kenan Thompson set up permanent residency at 30 Rock, Hammond held the record for longest tenure on the show — a whopping 14 seasons in which he delivered uncannily accurate impersonations of anyone SNL could throw his way. You could argue Hammond has already been asked back since he’s replaced Don Pardo as the show’s announcer, but give the guy one more shot in front of the camera. 

Tim Meadows

Before Hammond and Thompson broke his record, Meadows’ 10-season run was the longest in SNL history. Meadows excelled at playing the Everyman, which might be the reason he’s never been back to host, although he did find his breakout character with The Ladies Man.

Jane Curtin

Curtin quietly had one of the most durable post-SNL careers of anyone in the original cast, winning an Emmy for her work on Kate & Allie and scooping up a bunch of other nominations for Third Rock From the Sun. She hasn’t spoken fondly of the show in recent years, complaining about John Belushi’s misogyny and substance abuse and claiming the original show is no longer funny. So she’s probably not coming back anytime soon. 

Kevin Nealon

Like Meadows, Nealon was a reliable Everyman on the show, but he also created memorable characters such as Hans and Franz and Mr. Subliminal. He might be getting long in the tooth for a hosting job now, although older comics like Steve Martin and Martin Short still bring in big ratings. 

Jan Hooks

A head-scratcher. Considered one of the best cast members ever, Hooks was never invited back to deliver that opening monologue. It’s easy to think of Hooks like Gilda Radner, someone whose chance to return to SNL was thwarted by her untimely death. But Hooks didn’t pass until 2014, giving SNL two decades to book her as host. She often said the stress of doing a live show led her to sitcoms — maybe SNL tried and she didn’t need the anxiety?

Christopher Guest


Guest was a comet, delivering only one year of SNL brilliance before turning out years of classic film comedies like Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show. Considering that Guest’s greatest comic talents are in improvisation and ensemble work, never returning feels like a missed opportunity.

Vanessa Bayer

On the one hand, it seems like Bayer just left the show. On the other, she’s been gone since 2017! With a slew of signature characters like Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy, ex-porn star Brecky and the Tostinos Lady, she’d be welcomed back by a generation of viewers. 

Chris Kattan

Kattan was so popular that he landed on the cover of Rolling Stone with Will Ferrell and Molly Shannon, thanks to endlessly recurring characters like Mango, Mr. Peepers and the Roxbury Guys. In his memoir, Kattan faulted NBC and SNL for not paying his medical bills after a fall during a sketch, possibly explaining his long absence from 30 Rock. 


Dennis Miller

Miller singlehandedly revived Weekend Update after a steady diet of Brian Doyle-Murray, Brad Hall and Charles Rocket nearly sunk the signature segment. But Miller rarely appeared in sketches, making a return as host a dicey proposition. His right turn into political punditry also makes him an uncomfortable fit. 

Cheri Oteri

Oteri rivals Molly Shannon for fearless ridiculousness in sketches. She was white-hot enough to join Kattan, Shannon and Kattan on the late 1990s Rolling Stone cover, but Oteri has had a surprisingly quiet career post-Saturday Night Live

Joe Piscopo

It would be an overstatement to say Piscopo was as popular as Eddie Murphy during their reign as the kings of Saturday Night Live — but it wouldn’t be that much of an overstatement. Piscopo parlayed his fame into starring roles in movies and comedy record deals, but it wasn’t enough to earn him a trip back to the SNL stage.

Horatio Sanz

Based strictly on longevity, Sanz’s eight seasons land him on the list of Non-Host All-Stars. Why hasn’t he been back? It can’t help that a woman filed a lawsuit against SNL, NBC and Sanz, alleging that he groped her and made sexual comments to her when she was under the age of 18 — and while Sanz was an active cast member. (Sanz and the woman have subsequently settled out of court.) Then again, the accusations never stopped SNL from asking Sanz back multiple times to sing his Christmas song.

Rob Schneider

Schneider was considered one of the Bad Boys of SNL alongside Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Chris Farley and David Spade. All but Schneider have been asked back to host — clearly because of the kind of wokeness that’s likely the subject of his next Fox News appearance crying about cancel culture. 


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