Saturday Night Live has been an institution for 40 years, and throughout that time, many talented people have auditioned to be a part of various casts. It was inevitable that producer Lorne Michaels had to turn down some talented people, but we can’t believe he turned these famous faces down.
In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Lorne Michaels revealed some names that he had to turn away.
“Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell auditioned,” he said.
Michaels was asked if there was anyone he wanted to hire but didn’t at the time.
Lorne was candid, saying, “There were lots of people who you’d see how brilliant they were, but you knew on some level that it wasn’t going to work.”
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One of those people was Lisa Kudrow, who became a household name on the 90s sitcom Friends. Kudrow did fine after her SNL audition, and has kept the ball rolling with her career by taking on critically acclaimed shows The Comeback and Web Therapy.
Although Michaels said Kudrow gave a “brilliant audition,” there just wasn’t enough room for her among the other females.
“It was at the time when it was Jan Hooks and Nora [Dunn in the late 1980s, early ’90s].”
Surprisingly, Lorne slept on Jim Carrey’s audition to be on SNL back in 1980. As it turns out, he wasn’t even in the room when Carrey decided to take to the stage.
“I wasn’t at the Jim Carrey audition, but somebody who was there said, ‘I don’t think Lorne would like it,’ and they were probably wrong, but it doesn’t matter, or maybe they were right — who knows? No one gets it all right.”
Of course, Carrey went on to become one of the great comedians of his generation, both in stand up and in film. He also returned to the SNL stage to host the show three times, and nailed it. The first was back in 1996 while the second was in 2011.
As for another snafu, Michaels said he would have cast 1985’s 11th season a bit older. Instead, he went for a much younger crowd with Jon Lovitz, Randy Quaid, Robert Downey Jr, Anthony Michael Hall, and Joan Cusack.
“I wanted to recapture what [we had had when we started]. Dan Aykroyd was 22 [in 1975], I believe, and so was Laraine Newman. I think Bill Murray was, too. Gilda [Radner] and John [Belushi] were like 24. Chevy [Chase] was 31… We were just younger, and so I wanted to get back to that and I maybe went too young. I think it wasn’t thought through as much as I would have liked it to have been.”
[Image via NBC]