14 Best and Worst Host Moments in the History of ‘Saturday Night Live’

On a scale from Hanks to Seagal, where do you place Bieber?
14 Best and Worst Host Moments in the History of ‘Saturday Night Live’

Imagine if George Steinbrenner had to grump his way through a David S. Pumpkins sketch. Or if Tom Hanks had to play a lecherous MLB owner. Whether uniquely excellent or uniquely terrible, these hosts have created unforgettable, inimitable scenes, live from New York.

Bill Hader

In 2018, Stefon made his first appearance in four years, joined by his lawyer (and conceptual piss artist), Shy.

George Steinbrenner

Steinbrenner stayed well within his comfort zone to play George Steinbrenner: a pantsless, lascivious misogynist who won’t stop hitting on a female reporter. Keep in mind that this is one of the few sketch ideas he actually liked and agreed to appear in.

Natalie Portman

In a classic Digital Short, Portman sheds her good girl image and raps furiously about doing drugs, drinking and fighting.

Chevy Chase

After departing the cast to become a movie star, he made a few returns to his alma mater as host. But each time he managed to one-up his horribleness behind the scenes, getting in a fist fight with Bill Murray, casually chucking homophobic slurs at gay cast members and ultimately hitting Cheri Oteri in the head during his last appearance in 1997.

Jeremy Renner

The same year that The Avengers came out, Renner appeared on the show as his character Hawkeye. That was a bold move, as the sketch pointed out how ridiculous his character is —  a “bow and arrow dude” on the same team as a monster and a literal god.

Martin Lawrence

Lawrence was really feeling himself in his monologue, and tried out some material that was so objectionable, SNL has replaced the footage with a sort-of apology about Lawrence’s observations on the “decline in standards of feminine hygiene.”

Robin Williams

Williams hosted three times. His most memorable sketch may be, ironically, the one where he’s completely silent, playing a well-meaning but ultimately disastrous mime roommate.

Justin Bieber

Bill Hader has said that, while it’s nothing personal, Bieber is the only host he ever hated working with. His gaggle of hangers-on gummed up the works all week, and he repeatedly broke the fourth wall in his sketches in a way that showed he just didn’t care to be there.

Peyton Manning

Manning hosted shortly after his 2007 Super Bowl win, cementing him in the American zeitgeist as an actually pretty funny dude.

Milton Berle

Berle hosted in 1979, seemingly with the sole intention of proving that he was still at the pinnacle of entertainment, not these young freaks. He went off-script, told bawdy jokes and compelled the audience to give him a standing ovation at the end of the night.

John Goodman

Goodman joined Bob Swerski’s Super Fans, playing the role that Mike Myers usually played. They explained his considerable weight gain with depression-eating cheese fries after Michael Jordan left the Bulls.

Frank Zappa

Zappa took an improv jazz approach to his stint hosting the show. Meaning: he went off script and talked shit about the production, ultimately making it about the jokes he didn’t tell.

Tom Hanks

The throwaway sketch that launched a halloween costume: David S. Pumpkins. No one involved thought this sketch would work, and why would they? It’s pure goofball all the way down. But Hanks, the cast members and the writers struck the perfect chords of inanity and swagger.

Steven Seagal

By all accounts, the worst host the show has ever seen. He spent the week insulting the writers and cast members, then delivered his lines on Saturday night as if it was his first time speaking English. He nearly refused to appear in a Hans and Franz sketch because they’re canonically fans of Arnold Schwarzeneggar.

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