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Five Great 'SNL' Hosts That Will Never Happen

by Danny Gallagher, posted Apr 6th 2010 6:29PM
'SNL' logoA host can make or break an entire episode of 'Saturday Night Live.' In fact, the mere presence of some celebrities like Chevy Chase, Milton Berle and Frank Zappa have turned their slice of Saturday late night into the lowest moments of "Must-Miss TV."

However, things are looking good this season. A preliminary list of hosts includes Oscar nominated actress Gabourey Sidibe, former 'SNL'er and '30 Rock' star Tina Fey and 'Golden Girl' actress and new found Internet champion Betty White.

However, some pop culture icons, nay legends, will never get to prove their celebrity power by hosting this comedy powerhouse simply because they never got an invitation, the show wasn't around in their time or they physically couldn't go to the studio. These hosts would have made for the best shows if the laws of time and space went on a week-long coffee break.

5. Bea Arthur
Bea ArthurBetty White might be the latest retro celebrity to achieve fame all over again, but she wasn't the first 'Golden Girl' to catch a gleam in a younger generation's eye.

The star of 'Maude,' 'The Golden Girls' and 'The Star Wars Holiday Special' reinvented her career as an appreciative punchline for mannish older women so much so that she appeared on several of the Comedy Central Roasts and even racked up funny and memorable guest turns on new classics like 'Malcolm in the Middle.'

A stint as a 'SNL' host was due long before she found herself back in pop culture's ever-narrowing spotlight or her sad passing. Her stern, almost schoolteacher demeanor for delivering a joke or a punchline would have made for a hilarious monologue and as far as the potential for sketches, she certainly could have done a memorable "Dueling Banjos" showdown with Will Ferrell's Janet Reno impression.

4. Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin FranklinThis founding father and American statesman wasn't just a brilliant scientific mind who not only helped usher a new nation into the world, but also a new age of enlightenment. He was also one funny son of a b, and I don't mean "bald eagle."

He possessed a rare wit for his time that could be as philosophical and endearing as it was dark and edgy. He also had a notorious lifestyle as a party hound and a lover of all things delicate and female, practically making him the tabloid sweetheart of the American Colonial heyday. So just imagine the kind of humor and situations the 'SNL' could conjure for their distinguished guest. Hell, Franklin could revive 'The Ladies' Man' all by himself, not that it wouldn't be nice to see Tim Meadows don the fro' wig once more.

3. Stephen Hawking
Stephen HawkingThis noted theoretical physicist and scientific mind also has an equally matched sense of humor. He's always cracking wise in his innumerable press conferences and lectures and even on TV such as his short stint as himself on the first "What If?" episode of 'Futurama.'

And despite some initial reservations about exploiting his image and even his crippling condition, his mind and place in the universe could fit well as an 'SNL' host. He would have a great, natural sense of humor about himself and his place in the universe. And, God forbid, he might even educate a few people, right before the audience's collective mind goes racing back to the fact that he sounds like the world's smartest answering machine.

So why wouldn't he be able to make the show? He's too busy making sure the planets are still orbiting and that the universe is holding together by the slowly ripping seams of space and time. Besides, he shouldn't anyway because if he does end up as a host on live TV, that's the perfect moment for the aliens to swoop in and enslave all of humanity.

Speaking of killing all humans...

2. Bender
BenderEgo or the lack thereof always makes for a good 'SNL' host for the writers and actors to bounce ideas and bits off of, and Bender has a higher concentration of self than any other element on the periodic table.

He might just be a cartoon to some, but to his creators and fans, he's a living and breathing (if you count metal and alcohol exhaust as "living and breathing"), fully developed (depending on the OS upgrade) being. He's a chain-smoking, binge drinking, foul-mouthed robot who always looks out for number one and that makes him a perfect celebrity for 'SNL.'

Of course, when animations try to mix with the human world, the results vary (cough, 'Cool World,' cough) but if a cartoon character had to come out of the drawn world and into the real one, Bender would be the one.

1. John Wayne

John WayneIf, however, you're looking for a host with a bit more of an iconic or legendary status, no name comes closer than "The Duke."

He has not only carved out a career that Jack Nicholson is jealous of, but he's been created almost as a tall tale character like Pecos Bill or Paul Bunyan, except I'm sure he could kick Bill and Paul's ass.

Had it not been for the ravages of time, he would have made a damn good 'SNL' host. Even though he wasn't known for it, he could handle his own as a comic actor. His uneven temperament and clownish facial expressions actually drew intentional laughter when he went for it like his guest appearance on 'I Love Lucy.' He also wouldn't mind poking a little fun at himself, whether its his cowboy drawl or his ability to walk out of bar fights without a scratch on him and his hat still glued to his noggin. The hell he wouldn't.

UPDATE: One of our very knowledgeable readers pointed out that Ms. Arthur hosted an episode of 'SNL' in 1979. Even though her inclusion in this list meant to refer more towards the latter part of her career in the same vein as Betty White's upcoming appearance, I apologize for the error.

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Mike Davis

Thanks again, Danny G., for a poorly reasoned, dull and ultimately pointless post. Advice for future posts: if it seems like a funny idea between bong hits, it's not a funny idea.

April 07 2010 at 10:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Flight of the Conchords as hosts and musical guests.
Hells yeah, Joel McHale! (Or really, the entire cast of Community can host).
Jason Segal
Conan O'Brien! Though NBC's burned THAT bridge.

April 07 2010 at 2:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Belly's comment

Two things:

1. Conan HAS hosted. Remember "The Molecular Man/El Hombre De Los Moleculos?"

2. I don't think NBC's treatment of the late-night debacle would have any effect on Conan's relationship with Lorne or SNL.

April 07 2010 at 7:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tony DIMeo

this is a really stupid post!!

April 06 2010 at 8:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What a disappointing post.

How about five real, living celebrities who have never hosted?

April 06 2010 at 7:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Jim's comment

Yea, seriously.

April 06 2010 at 7:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


Here are my suggestions:

Meryl Streep
Johnny Depp
Joss Whedon
Serena Williams
Simon Cowell
Nathan Filion
Alyson Hannigan
Jim Parsons
Mark Wahlberg
James McAvoy
Emily Blunt
Joel McHale
Stephen Colbert
America Ferrera

April 06 2010 at 8:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Bea Arthur hosted in 1979.

April 06 2010 at 7:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dj's comment

Ha! So this post is dull AND inaccurate!

April 06 2010 at 7:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

while we're at it, can we add Gob Bluth (the character, not will arnett), batman, wolverine, and Ben Linus?

its ok. slow news day.

April 06 2010 at 6:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to amazo's comment

As long as he brings Franklin, I'm all for Gob.

April 07 2010 at 7:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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