Celebrities Who Auditioned For SNL


Can you imagine what SNL would’ve been like with Steve Carell and Lisa Kudrow???

We asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us about their favorite celebrities who auditioned for Saturday Night Live but didn’t make it onto the show. Here are some of the most shocking answers:


Mindy Kaling

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Kaling had dreamed of being on SNL since she was a kid, and auditioned for the show during her time writing for and appearing on The Office. Showrunner Greg Daniels agreed to release Kaling from her contract if she got a spot on the show, but Kaling was offered a writing position instead. In the end she had to turn down SNL, but we did get more of the iconic Kelly Kapoor out of it.



Kevin Hart

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Hart learned a very important lesson from his audition: If you’re gonna do an impression of someone, make sure it’s a person that people know. Hart did an impression of Avery Johnson — an ex–basketball player and sports analyst — and could immediately tell that Lorne Michaels had no idea who he was. Hart did not get offered a spot on the show.



Aubrey Plaza

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Plaza had dreamed about being on SNL since she was a kid, and even interned for the show back in 2005. She auditioned in 2008 and didn’t make the cast, but did get a role in the movie Funny People. Plaza moved from New York to LA for the job, and not long after, she started playing the April Ludgate we know and love on Parks and Rec.



Jim Carrey

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Carrey’s SNL audition story is a roller coaster from start to finish. The NBC Burbank studio, where Carrey was auditioning, was surrounded by news crews because someone was in the midst of a suicide attempt on the roof. Carrey went on to audition and did a post–nuclear war Elvis Presley impression. While Lorne Michaels himself wasn’t present, someone claimed that they didn’t think he would like it. Ultimately, Carrey didn’t make the cast.



Geena Davis

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In 1984, SNL was looking for one more female cast member to join Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Mary Gross for the season. They met with Davis, but the encounter was described by Harry Shearer in Live From New York as “quite awkward and uncomfortable for everyone involved.” Ultimately the spot was given to Pamela Stephenson, but Davis did go on to win an Oscar for The Accidental Tourist a few years later.



Steve Carell

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Yup, the man behind the iconic Michael Scott from The Office auditioned for SNL. Lorne Michaels told the Hollywood Reporter that some people who auditioned, like Carell, were brilliant performers, but he knew that “on some level it wasn’t going to work.” While Carell himself didn’t make the cut, his wife, Nancy Walls, was a cast member for the show’s 21st season.



Jennifer Coolidge

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Coolidge auditioned for SNL in 1995 with some heavy hitters — namely, Will Ferrell, Cheri Oteri, and Chris Kattan. Ultimately, Ferrell and Oteri were cast on the show, and six months later, Kattan was offered a spot. Coolidge never made it into the cast but told Los Angeles Magazine that she saw it as more of a blessing than a curse.



Stephen Colbert

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While scouting for talent at Second City, SNL coproducer Robert Smigel saw Colbert perform as an understudy for none other than Steve Carell. Colbert’s performance impressed Smigel, so he auditioned for the show and got a callback alongside Tracy Morgan. Ultimately, though, he didn’t make the cast.

—Evelina Zaragoza Medina


Lisa Kudrow

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Kudrow auditioned for Season 16 of SNL, for which there was only one spot available. Lorne Michaels went to the Groundlings in LA to watch her, Julia Sweeney, and Kathy Griffin audition, but ultimately the offer went to Sweeney. While Kudrow admitted that she was pretty crushed by the rejection, just a few years later she went on to get the role of Phoebe on Friends, and the rest is history.

—Angelica Martinez


Adam Devine

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During one of his comedy shows, Devine revealed that he’d auditioned for SNL but didn’t make the cast. Instead, he went on to star in Workaholics.



Donald Glover

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Glover auditioned for SNL not just once, but twice, which he teasingly mentioned in his monologue when he hosted the show in 2018. He auditioned to play Barack Obama in 2008, but ultimately, Fred Armisen took on the presidential impression.

—Angelica Martinez


Jordan Peele

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Along with Glover, Peele was another contender to play Barack Obama in 2008. He was actually offered a spot on the show but had to turn it down because the producers for Mad TV wouldn’t let him out of his contract. While he didn’t get to live his dream of being on SNL, the whole ordeal made him realize that he wanted to be a producer so he could call the shots.

—Evelina Zaragoza Medina


John Mulaney

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Mulaney auditioned to be a performer on SNL, but ultimately he was turned down. He wasn’t caught off guard by the rejection, though. Mulaney felt that stand-up was more his speed and the cast was already “flush with male white brunettes” without him. In the end, he was offered a writing position and went on to be a writer and producer for the show for five years.



Nick Kroll

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Kroll auditioned for the show during a suuuuuuuper-competitive season. John Mulaney, Jordan Peele, and Ellie Kemper gave the show a go that season as well, but ultimately none of them made the cast. However, Kroll did go on to play Ruxin on The League and start his own sketch-comedy show, The Kroll Show.



And Jennifer Aniston

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The actual story behind whether Aniston was rejected from SNL or turned the show down is a little unclear, but here’s what we know. According to the Live From New York book, Aniston auditioned for the show but ultimately didn’t make the cast. However, according to Adam Sandler, Aniston had actually been offered a spot on the show but turned it down for Friends. Either way, Aniston claims that being a cast member wasn’t for her, since she didn’t think she’d enjoy working in the “boys’ club” environment of SNL at the time.

—Angelica Martinez

Did we miss any of your favorite celebrities who auditioned for SNL and almost made it on the air? Let us know in the comments below!

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