Saturday Night Live has jump-started the careers of so many entertainment superstars since it’s inception way back in October 11, 1975. This fact was evident during the SNL 40th Anniversary show on Sunday night when a cavalcade of comedic icons were marching up and down the stage.
SNL took us in a time machine by showing us the audition tape of not only the castmates that made the show a hit for 40 years, but also some famous faces that they may have had some regrets for not hiring.
In this behind-the-scenes montage it features the audition tapes from everyone from SNL legends Gilda Radner and John Belushi to Phil Hatman and Dana Carvey to Andy Samberg and Kristen Wiig and everyone in between. How amazing does the Will Ferrell as a cat audition look? No wonder he was hired on the spot.
The auditions by megastars that were rejected by SNL featured Jim Carrey, Kevin Hart, Stephen Colbert and an almost unrecognizable Zach Galifianakis who triumphantly declared, “I have a new headshot. It’s a scratch and sniff, and it smells like failure and onions.”
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, SNL creator Lorne Michaels revealed which stars he may have overlooked:
Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell auditioned. 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. Lisa Kudrow gave a brilliant audition, but it was at the time when it was Jan Hooks and Nora [Dunn]. 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.
Not shown in the rejected auditions were other standouts who tried to be on the show including Louis C.K., Paul Reubens, Kathy Griffin and Aubrey Plaza. Even with those misses, Lorne still has a pretty amazing batting average.