Charles Barkley Says That Hosting ‘Saturday Night Live’ Is ‘The Longest Damn Week of Your Life’

But maybe not as long as waiting for a championship ring?
Charles Barkley Says That Hosting ‘Saturday Night Live’ Is ‘The Longest Damn Week of Your Life’

The Round Mound of Rebound says that the weeks he has spent preparing for his stints as host of Saturday Night Live were some of the most arduous of his life — and that’s coming from the guy who spent the first 12 days of summer in 1993 getting his buns busted by Michael Jordan.

When it comes to SNL hosts, athletes are consistently the leading contenders for “Worst Host of the Season,” “Worst Host of the Last 10 Years” and “Worst Host in the History of Comedy.” As it turns out, there is very, very little overlap in the skill sets required to be a word-class sports star and a passable comedic actor — except when it comes to guys like Charles Barkley. The basketball Hall-of-Famer and Inside the NBA host isn’t just funny for an athlete, he’s one of the funniest people in all of television, and he regularly spits legendary roasts of the women of San Antonio, Lonzo Ball’s statline, and, of course his co-hosts on TNT’s best basketball talk show.

As such, the Chuckster has hosted SNL a total of four times throughout his athletic and broadcasting careers, meaning that he’s spent a total of about one month of his life preparing and performing on one of the most high-stress live events on television that doesn’t use a scoreboard. Yesterday, on the CNN show King Charles, which Barkley co-hosts with Gayle King, Barkley spoke to SNL ironman Kenan Thompson about the work schedule of the sketch show, saying of the hosting gig, “I’ve had a couple people call me who were hosting Saturday Night Live, I said, ‘It’s the longest damn week of your life.’” 

Mentally speaking, that means Thompson must be in his early 200s by now.

“Youre rehearsing 10 to 12 hours every single day,” Barkley addressed Thompson, who has served as Barkleys SNL impressionist in 14 different sketches and segments during his record-breaking SNL tenure. Barkley asked his guest, “How do you keep your energy level and your focus up working that hard every day?”

“Number one, its a dream come true,” Thompson explained, “Number two, its different for the host. The host has a lot of responsibility, like, were there more in a supporting role. Third, I work with amazing people, brilliant people, in the cast, in front of the camera, behind the camera. Its a several hundred people family who are trying to build something new every single week,” Thompson explained before cracking up at Barkleys impression of his Inside the NBA co-host Shaquille O'Neal from Barkleys 2012 hosting stint.

Thompson recalled of that episode, “I remember when he came in Day One and was like, ‘I’ve never worked more than two hours my whole life, and Im not about to start now! I was like, ‘I don’t know about that. Youre about to have a little bit different (kind) of an experience.'"

“The monologue is the hardest part,” Barkley said of that experience, which would likely come as a surprise to the many NBA referees who awarded Barkley a NBA record 329 technical fouls throughout his career. Youd think mouthing off for a couple minutes would be a layup for the legend.


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