Now in its 41st season, Saturday Night Live is a cultural institution. A landmark show that has produced some of the most iconic characters and funniest moments in television history. The fact that each show is broadcast live makes the accomplishments of the cast and guest host even more impressive. However, if there has been one consistent weakness of SNL over the years, it has been with the guest hosts. For every host who knocks it out of the park, such as Alec Baldwin and Tom Hanks, there are hosts who totally bomb on the program. Whether they are uncomfortable in a sketch comedy format, don’t relate to the material, take themselves too seriously, or are simply not funny. The history of SNL is littered with terrible hosts. Here are the 13 worst SNL hosts of all time.
13. Donald Trump
To be fair, Donald Trump was not the worst SNL host ever. And the fact that he was on the program gave the show’s ratings a bump. And while Trump wasn’t unfunny on the show, you can’t really say he got a lot of laughs either. Basically, the best thing you can say is that the Donald was a good sport while on the program. He stood by while cast members such as Darrell Hammond and Chris Parnell did impressions of him, and he didn’t complain that he was being mocked incessantly by the cast members. He also didn’t sue the show, which, for Donald Trump, is quite impressive. This is, after all, a man who constantly sues anyone who says anything even slightly negative about him. He’s not speaking to Fox News as he runs for President. So the fact that NBC got out of this unscathed is pretty good. We’ll call this appearance an unmemorable draw.
12. Adrien Brody
Adrien Brody was hot off his Oscar win for the movie The Pianist when he hosted SNL back in 2003. And nobody thought Adrien Brody was hotter at the time then, well, Adrien Brody. Legend has it that Adrien Brody drove the cast nuts the week he was on the show by constantly shooting down their ideas and instead offering up his own pithy thoughts on what would make for a good skit. Strangely, all of his ideas involved him as a rapper. This was enough to piss everyone on the show off. However, Adrien Brody succeeded in getting himself banned from SNL when he took it upon himself to improvise his introduction of that week’s musical guest, Sean Paul. He also introduced the Jamaican dancehall reggae hip hop rapper while wearing faux dreadlocks, which everyone but Adrien Brody found insulting. Worse, the intro, like everything else Adrien Brody did on the show, was not funny. Boo.
11. Lance Armstrong
Before he admitted to being the biggest cheat ever in professional sports and a social pariah, cyclist Lance Armstrong was, for a time, America’s most beloved athlete and cancer survivor. Naturally, SNL invited him to host the show in October 2005. This came months after Lance officially retired from cycling (for the first time) and amid swirling rumours of his steroid use. So Lance spent most of the show making fun of the allegations that he’s a cheat, as well as taking pot shots at his then-fiancée, singer Sheryl Crow—noting that he had finally set a date for their long delayed wedding (yuk yuk). The couple broke up less than a year later. The unfunny skits Lance Armstrong appeared in included him going on a date with a lazy fat girl and him being a triathlete who was only good at biking and couldn’t run or swim very well. The whole thing was almost as bad as his confessional interview with Oprah Winfrey.
10. Milton Berle
Milton Berle was a TV pioneer who was affectionately known as Uncle Milty to his legion of fans during the Golden Age of Television in the 1950s. The original SNL cast grew up watching Milton Berle as kids. So it was disheartening when Milton Berle’s appearance on SNL during the fourth season of the show in 1979 was an unmitigated disaster. Especially since Berle himself is a veteran of live television and did his own show in the 1950s live-to-air. The problem is that Milton Berle’s humor did not mesh with the humor of the SNL cast, notably Bill Murray and Gilda Radner. There was also the fact that Milton Berle looked down on the scruffy SNL cast and spent his time on the show ordering everybody around. When the episode featuring Milton Berle finally went live, he took the show into his own hands and turned into a total monster on the air—upstaging the cast and berating series regular Gilda Radner for being unfunny. Apparently Milton Berle’s time as host on SNL ended with him engaged in a screaming match with executive producer Lorne Michaels.
9. Tom Green
Remember shock comedian Tom Green? He was the guy who sucked on cow utters and covered himself in the carcass of a dead deer killed on a highway to get laughs. He hosted his own show on MTV and was briefly married to actress Drew Barrymore at the turn of the century. He also made an infamous movie called Freddy Got Fingered that is considered by many people to be the worst film of all time. Bottom line is that Tom Green was never that funny. It took some time for people to realize that fact. Unfortunately, nobody came to this conclusion before Tom Green was tapped to host SNL. Anyone who saw Tom Green’s appearance on SNL will recall the very unfunny sight of cast member Will Farrell regurgitating food into Green’s mouth as the two pretended to be baby birds. Why this happened is anyone’s guess, but it was not funny. Tom Green’s appearance on SNL is best left in the dumpster with the rest of his career.
8. Rudy Giuliani
This is a sensitive one. Rudy Giuliani is arguably the greatest Mayor in the history of New York City. During his time in the position, Giuliani cleaned up the streets, revitalized Times Square and made the city that never sleeps one of the world’s leading centers. He also led New York when it was attacked by terrorists on September 11, 2001. His response to that crisis and leadership in its aftermath were exemplary. And it was after 9/11 that Rudy Giuliani hosted SNL in an effort to lift the city’s spirits. Clearly, Rudy Giuliani’s heart was in the right place. The problem was that he is just not a funny guy. Seeing Rudy Giuliani in skits where he played a New York City taxi driver just didn’t work and left audiences bewildered. Plus, the whole exercise seemed beneath Rudy Giuliani, who, up until that point, had seemed like a modern day Winston Churchill leading New Yorkers through a time of crisis. Nice try, but it just didn’t work.
7. Chevy Chase
Chevy Chase was the first cast member to breakout from SNL. He was a cast member on the show for only one season—the first season in 1975. Chevy Chase’s Weekend Update segment and impressions of then-U.S. President Gerald Ford made him so popular that Chevy left SNL after the inaugural season to launch his movie career. However, Chevy Chase returned to host SNL eight times between 1978 and 1997. Those hosting appearances were not necessarily unfunny, but the turmoil Chevy Chase caused behind the scenes on the show is legendary. During his first return to SNL in 1978, Chevy Chase got into a fist fight with cast member Bill Murray, who, ironically, replaced Chevy Chase when he split for Hollywood. This fist fight, which was broken up by Dan Aykroyd, is part of SNL lore. However, when Chevy Chase hit SNL cast member Cheri Oteri in the back of the head while hosting the show in 1997, it was the last straw for executive producer, and long-time Chevy Chase friend, Lorne Michaels, who was forced to ban him from hosting the show again. Chevy Chase now has the distinction of being the only SNL cast member banned from the TV program. A television series he co-founded. Awkward.
6. Deion Sanders
Getting superstar athletes to host SNL can be tricky. When it works well you get an awesome episode, such as when NFL quarterback Peyton Manning hosted the show. When it doesn’t work, you get the Deion Sanders episode of SNL. On paper it must have looked like a great idea to invite Deion to host SNL in 1995. Fresh off back-to-back Super Bowl wins with the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers, Deion Sanders was then the hottest athlete in America. He also played professional baseball, which is pretty cool. However, Deion Sanders fell into the trap of taking himself way too seriously on the show. Which is surprising for a guy whose self-proclaimed nickname is ‘Neon Deion.’ He also insisted on performing not one, but two songs off his 1995 rap album while on SNL. What, you’ve never heard of Deion Sanders’ rap album? Trust us, there’s a reason for that.
5. Justin Bieber
Justin Bieber is pretty annoying under the best of circumstances. Take the kid out of his comfort zone and he can be downright unbearable. This was the case when the Biebs hosted SNL in 2013. Not only was Justin Bieber not funny and completely out of his element on a live sketch comedy show, but he apparently brought an entourage of more than 20 people with him. Cast member Bill Hader told radio show host Howard Stern that Justin Bieber even had a guy follow him around holding a slice of pizza for him…and Hader was not joking. Justin Bieber agreed to host SNL at a time when he was trying to rehabilitate his image, but his on air performance and backstage antics only served to further alienate him from his fan base. Stick to singing and modeling underwear, Justin.
4. Steven Seagal
Wow! Hard to imagine a time when 1980s martial arts action film star turned Krispy Kreme doughnut apostle Steven Seagal hosted SNL. But, at the height of his fame, Seagal was the SNL host in April of 1991. And just how bad a host was Steven Seagal, you ask? So bad that SNL’s executive producer Lorne Michaels told New York Magazine in 2014 that Seagal was the worst host in the history of the show. Asked to elaborate, Lorne Michaels simply said that the week Steven Seagal hosted was “just a really hard week.” What Lorne Michaels did’`t say is that Steven Seagal was a megalomaniac jerk who took himself way too seriously, was not funny and refused to do many of the skits the cast prepared for him. Oh, and he made up his monologue on the spot, ignoring the cue cards that were written for him. Sayonara Steven Seagal. Sayonara.
3. Katy Perry
Like athletes, getting singers to host SNL can be dicey. We’ve already gone over the Justin Bieber hosting gig. Singers make for great musical guests, but putting them in comedy skits can be hit and miss. Mostly miss. The exception, of course, being Justin Timberlake. This bring us to Katy Perry’s stint hosting SNL in 2011. Katy Perry’s penchant for any type of comedy was so bad that by the time the show aired, the songstress was relegated to a supporting player in most of the skits where she was featured, such as when she played a political analyst on a call-in show run by black activist Al Sharpton. The fallout from Katy Perry’s appearance on SNL was so bad that her boyfriend at the time, comedian Russell Brand, broke up with her. Though there has been speculation that Russell Brand was just upset that he was not asked to host SNL, what with him supposedly being a real comedian and all.
2. Lindsay Lohan
Troubled actress Lindsay Lohan hosted SNL four times—three of those times being from 2004 to 2006 when Lohan was at the height of her Mean Girls popularity. And, to be fair, Lindsay Lohan was okay as the show’s host. She clearly had the support of Lorne Michaels, who produced the movie Mean Girls that made Lindsay a star, as well as SNL cast member Tina Fey who wrote the script for the film. However, when Lindsay Lohan returned to host SNL in 2012 after a six year hiatus it was a train wreck. In a blatant bid to rehabilitate her stalled career and get herself somewhere other than the tabloids, Lindsay Lohan went on SNL and spent 90 minutes letting the cast take pot shots at her. She couldn’t remember her lines, missed her cues and generally looked unprepared. This hosting gig did not do anything for Lindsay Lohan other than reinforce her unprofessional conduct. File this one in the ‘where are they now’ folder.
1. Paris Hilton
“That’s hot” is about all Paris Hilton can say. Sadly, her catchphrase does not describe her appearance hosting SNL in 2005. Paris Hilton’s time on SNL was so bad that after her appearance, cast member Tina Fey went on Howard Stern and called the heiress “a piece of shit.” Tina Fey also said that Paris is legitimately stupid and proud of how dumb she is. Never mind that the show Paris Hilton hosted was unfunny and downright boring, with a listless Paris standing around looking confused in every skit. According to Tina Fey, the cast was so fed up with Paris and her attitude that they gave up trying to write anything decent for her. This would explain why Paris ended up playing a Barbie doll with no elbows in one of her skits. The good news is that Paris Hilton does not seem bothered by the fact that her SNL hosting stint was a total failure. We doubt she even noticed.