#30 Chevy Chase (8 times total)
Chevy Chase was one of the O.G.s—A Saturday Night Live original cast member, he left the show several years later to strike out on his own and the show brought in Bill Murray to fill Chevy’s spot. As beloved as Chevy Chase is to the American public, not everything is as it seems...
Unfortunately, it is well documented that he can be difficult to work with. As a matter of fact, it is now an epic part of SNL history that when Chevy came back to host the first time, he and Bill Murray got into a verbal altercation before they got into an actual physical fistfight.
#29 Charles Barkley (1993, 2010, 2012 & 2018)
Anytime the show brings on an athlete to host, it can be a hit-or-miss situation. Some athletes just don’t have the capacity or the timing to be successful in a comedy skit. And who can blame them? Acting is serious work, especially if you have no experience and have to throw a skit together in three days.
But then there’s Charles Barkley who falls somewhere above that line, stumbling over lines and seeming uncertain of what’s going on. He proves each time that he’s down for anything the cast throws at him, which is why the show keeps bringing him back to host. There's something to be said about endurance versus in-born talent!
#28 Robert DeNiro (2002, 2004, & 2010)
Robert DeNiro was probably the most requested host for more than 25 years, so the cast was super jazzed when they found out he was finally going to host for the first time in 2002. Overhyping a certain actor for such a long time certainly scrounged up unmanageable expectations he had no way of surpassing.
Apparently, some actors just aren’t cut out for live television because, for the first time in history, DeNiro’s performance fell flat. Throughout the evening the actor became more and more reliant on his cue cards until they couldn’t be ignored anymore. The poor guy probably cracked under the insurmountable pressure of not wanting to let anyone down.
#27 George Steinbrenner (1990)
Known as the disgraced owner of the New York Yankees, one wouldn’t expect him to be invited to host a world-renowned show such as Saturday Night Live. But thanks to the then-recent spoofs on the Seinfeld show in 1990, George Steinbrenner became a household name and a highly requested guest among viewers.
Therefore, SNL thought it would be a good idea to bring him on to host. However, most of his jokes and timing fell flat, proving that not just anyone can hang with the SNL crew no matter how popular someone is, even with Steinbrenner's limited acting experience. What else did people expect?
#26 January Jones (2009)
Even the best among celebrities aren’t cut out for sketch comedy, especially when it’s as quick as a turnover as Saturday Night Live! One day you’re brainstorming, the next day you’re seeing the script for the first time, then BAM, you’re on stage! You’d think January Jones would thrive in this environment given her award-winning repertoire, but we don’t blame her for cracking under the pressure.
Transitioning from the subdued drama acting required for Mad Men to the slapstick humor of a variety show probably isn’t as easy as it looks. She won an Emmy for her TV role as Betty Draper, not some goon. She handles herself well in Love Actually and Anger Management, but that didn’t stop Vulture critics from dubbing her SNL performance “stale” and “dull.”
#25 Nancy Kerrigan (1994)
Again, athletes aren’t always the best for comedic performances. That's not to be offensive, but it's just true. They spend way too much time on fitness routines and competing internationally to care about improv classes. However, Nancy Kerrigan became the most widely known athlete on the planet in 1994, so she had to be featured!
After she was attacked by Shane Stan -- her rival Tonya Harding’s then-boyfriend -- at the Winter Olympic trials, Kerrigan was invited to host that same year. Too bad the performance she gave wasn’t even close to good. Most of her jokes fell flat, showcasing that she had not one ounce of acting ability. It’s not always the best idea to cash in on the popularity factor!
#24 Steve Forbes (1996)
Because Saturday Night Live is a variety show that heavily relies on satire and impressionist comedy, inviting ultra-rich-and-powerful guests like Steve Forbes usually leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths. Not only does it fall contrary to SNL’s populist leanings (and the live Rage Against the Machine performance), these people tend to fail at acting before they even make it in front of the camera.
Forbes was a Presidential candidate at the time of filming; therefore, there were quite a few topics he had to stray away from in order to maintain his professional image. Consequently, the only material left for him to perform flopped harder than both of his political bids and awkward campaigns combined.
#23 Rudy Giuliani (1997)
In 1997, Rudy Giuliani was the acting mayor of New York City, and as such was a beloved and respected politician. He's even been endorsed as the city's best mayor ever. However, that also meant that he was limited on the types of skits he could take part in due to the demands of his office.
This made his performance stilted, stiff, and -- considering he had no acting talent to speak of -- terribly awkward. At least he was trying his best, right? It's merely not in his cards to be a comedian, actor, and highly respected politician. Hey, you can't have it all!
#22 MC Hammer (1991)
MC Hammer shot to stardom as a rapper in the early ‘90s for his hit songs “Can’t Touch This” and “2 Legit 2 Quit,” which landed him a slot on SNL as a host. Awesome! Well, not quite. People seriously overhyped his comedic potential before the episode aired, and they were massively let down.
You know what they say about high expectations! People will no doubt underperform. Because he was an instant celebrity, MC Hammer tried to keep up his “cool guy” persona throughout the episode, which came across as desperate and cheesy. It did help that his overall acting was underwhelming, to say the least.
#21 Lindsay Lohan (2012)
Lindsay Lohan had hosted several times before her last return in March of 2012, implying that she didn't do too shabby the first few times. She's obviously a talented actress, but her personal life bled over into her career. By then her career had begun to spiral, and she had been rumored to be abusing drugs and alcohol.
Due to her friendship with Tina Fey and Lorne Michaels -- who consider her a friend and colleague thanks to Lohan’s Mean Girls days --, they tried to do her a favor and have her host again. Much to their disappointment, it didn’t go well considering how she struggled to read her cue cards most of the night.
#20 Lance Armstrong (2005)
Lance Armstrong made bicycling cool again, between 1999 to 2005, when he entered and won seven consecutive Tour de France races. At the time, he appeared on Saturday Night Live, he hadn’t been fully charged with abusing steroids to win his races, but the scandal was definitely running rampant.
Although he was still (mostly) a beloved athlete when he hosted the show, his acting skills left something to be desired. From making light of his very serious cheating allegations to odd comments about his ex-fiancée Sheryl Crow, the combination of writing and his poor taste made the episode hard to watch.
#19 Donald Trump (2004, 2015)
Usually, when there is a host of a certain renown on the show, the cast can get away with poking fun at them by creating satirical skits that are all in good fun. Apparently, Donald Trump wanted nothing to do with that because both times he hosted, the cast stayed away from making fun of him.
Also, not only was he unwilling to poke fun at himself, but he was also unwilling or unable to be funny at all. There's no point in hosting SNL, a comedy show, if you have no desire to crack jokes. While he managed to avoid squirming while Darrel Hammond and Chris Parnell did impressions, he definitely wasn't the most memorable choice.
#18 Adrien Brody (2003)
After his Oscar win for Best Actor in 2002's The Pianist, Adrien Brody was flying high and nothing could bring him back down to earth -- except, of course, a really bad Jamaican accent. Complete with dreadlocks and a tasteless joke he made while introducing musical guest Sean Paul that the writers definitely did not approve, Brody's appearance was a disaster from the start.
Even though he plenty of evidence to believe he could do no wrong at the time, it turned out that skit comedy just wasn’t his forte. Not only was he an unpopular host in the viewers' eyes, but he wasn't renowned among the cast either. Apparently, he ruffled some feathers by offering up terrible skit ideas and scrutinizing the ideas of the writers.
#17 Steven Seagal (1991)
Steven Seagal became a household name after the release of several martial arts mega-hit films, including the likes of Above the Law and Hard to Kill. Of course, it was just a matter of time before he was invited to host Saturday Night Live. However, most of the cast members from that time describe Seagal as a jerk unable to understand any of the jokes with an off-putting amount of arrogance about him.
Tim Meadows revealed in the 2015 book Live From New York that "the biggest problem with Steven Seagal was that he would complain about jokes that he didn't get, so it was like — you can't explain something to somebody in German if they don't speak German. He just wasn't funny, and he was very critical of the cast and writing staff."
#16 Louise Lasser (1976)
Classic TV star Louise Lasser was expected to soar SNL to new heights during her mid-’70s feature but fans were surprised at her so-called spacey and languid performance, a hard shift from her comedic role as Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman’s leading lady. More than one early cast member remembers her uninspired role on the show, but it might not be entirely her fault.
For instance, her primary acting gig aired episodes five nights a week, which doesn’t exactly give actors much time to practice and experiment with new characters. Plus, she probably was so burnt out with comedy that she wanted to try out a new style on the show, but the audience obviously doesn’t vibe with half-done jobs.
#15 Paula Abdul (2005)
There aren’t many people that make Tina Fey’s blood boil, but Paula Abdul managed to scrape it onto her blacklist of people she’d never work with again. “You can’t mean the kindhearted pop star and American Idol judge, right?” you may be asking. Sadly, yes, we are talking about that Paula Abdul.
Take it from Fey herself. She dished out her thoughts to Playboy in 2007, saying, “ I remember thinking, 'She's a disaster! I gotta prop this lady up and get her on TV…’ It was an American Idol sketch, and she wanted to change parts so Amy Poehler had to play her,” adding an anecdote about bumping into her on a flight, "We both looked at each other like, 'Do I know that girl?' And then we both had the same recognition, and she was like, 'Uuuggh.' I saw it register on her face that she had had a terrible time with us."
#14 Deion Sanders (1995)
Deion Sanders AKA “Prime Time” and “Neon Deion” is known for his jam-packed athletic career, which includes professional football, baseball, coaching, and working as a sports analyst for multiple networks. You all know by now the track record (pun intended) of athletes on SNL, so stay tuned for Sanders’s disastrous Saturday special.
From Steven Seagal to Michael Phelps, Sanders fell somewhere in between. While we’ll talk about Phelps’ good intentions later on, we know that Seagal’s fatal flaw was hubris, taking himself too seriously for his own good. Sanders didn’t fall so far as Seagal in that regard, but he managed to weasel in two performances from his ‘95 rap album… Oh, yes, he had a rap album by the way. You can probably guess why you didn’t know that.
#13 Walter Matthau (1978)
Beloved The Odd Couple and Grumpy Old Men actor Walter Matthau didn’t do much to deserve getting on this list. No, we’re serious. He simply didn’t do much at all to help his SNL episode be successful. One minute he’s in The Sunshine Boys and The Bad News Bears, then the next, he’s getting slandered by SNL cast members for his poor work ethic.
During a 2018 interview, OG SNL cast member Jane Curtain told Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live, “He came in thinking that it was, 'Hey, come on, let's play.’ Not knowing that this show…was down to the minute, down to the second… [Matthau was] the worst.” Not exactly a raving review!
#12 Andrew Dice Clay (1990)
Andrew Dice Clay rose to fame as a comedian by telling raunchy nursery rhyme jokes and other shockingly offensive—yet hilarious—things. However, when he hosted Saturday Night Live, much like his role in the film Casual Sex, the “Dice Man” had nothing new to offer except for his “Dice Man” persona, which stopped being funny by the show’s second skit.
In fact, he was the first host to prompt a boycott from one of the cast members, Nora Dunn, who found the comedian to be offensive and misogynistic. She recalled the "traumatic" experience during a 2015 interview with Salon, saying, "My objection to Andrew Dice Clay was that his character was only about one thing: abusing women and laughing about abusing women. There was nothing else behind it. There was nothing else about it except to make him look harmless."
#11 Ronda Rousey (2016)
Why do athletes continually let us down time and time again? We’re really trying our best to be fair in our judgments here, but if the episode is bad, it’s just plain bad. Grace only goes so far, even for top athletes like wrestler and MMA fighter Ronda Rousey!
The episode’s failure didn’t land entirely on the host's shoulders because the cast barely got the opportunity to work with her during her hosting week due to an unexpected blizzard that hit New York. Thus, everyone involved was left with a “just get it done” attitude, which landed Rousey with bland roles she tried to make up for with over-the-top gestures and cringe facial expressions.
#10 Katy Perry (2011)
Katy Perry’s stint on SNL was definitely known for its terrible performances but was arguably even more notorious for the backlash that came after the episode aired. Sure, Perry had poor delivery on her lines and unmemorable characters, but did she really deserve so much hate to the point that her husband broke up with her over text?
That’s right, none other than Russell Brand texted to divorce Perry in December 2011 after just 14 months of dating, citing “irreconcilable differences.” While There were obviously more issues going on than Perry bombing on live TV, it certainly impacted their relationship. For instance, Perry told Vogue that a huge reason for their split was Brand’s jealousy. “I think a lot of times strong men do want an equal, but then they get that equal and they’re like, I can’t handle the ‘equalness’. He didn’t like the atmosphere of me being the boss on tour.”
#9 Elon Musk (2021)
The most recent celeb to host SNL is none other than multi-billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk. Unfortunately for him, he was set up for failure from the start. Before the episode even aired there were protests from viewers and cast members alike, with many claiming they refused to perform with him.
A source told Page Six that Lorne Michaels “won’t ever make [the actors] do anything they don’t want to do.” The reception wasn’t much better once the episode was released on May 8. Some defend it saying that Musk was by no means the worst host ever, but they weren’t impressed by the cryptocurrency references or cultural appropriation.
#8 Tom Green (2000)
Tom Green, an early MTV personality, was at the height of his popularity in November of 2000 when he hosted Saturday Night Live. However, he wasn’t a real comedian—a fact that the SNL’s showrunners failed to notice before they invited him onto the show. The Tom Green Show was all about pranking people, filming their reactions, and providing commentary on the prank. Not exactly what you'd consider "true comedy."
First, there was the fake wedding with Drew Barrymore during the monologue and then the disturbing skit where Will Ferrell pretended to be a baby bird regurgitating an unknown substance into Green’s mouth. To spare you the rest of the gory details, trust us when we say that it only got worse from there.
#7 Michael Phelps (2008)
How many times can we rag on the athletic hosts of SNL? At least once more, it seems! Like we mentioned before, athletes can be a hit or miss on Saturday Night Live. Some athletes like Michael Jordan and Peyton Manning have enough charisma to make up for their lack of acting talent while others just don’t.
If you haven't already guessed, Michael Phelps falls into the latter category. The whole show was a bomb, mainly due to the fact that Phelps struggled to read his cue cards all night without any emotion or timing. Needless to say, his award-winning reputation is chalked up to hard work and stoicism, not charm.
#6 Al Sharpton (2003)
Admittedly, the 2003 season wasn’t exactly Saturday Night Live’s finest, but that still doesn’t excuse the eager performance of then-Democratic Presidential Nominee Reverend Al Sharpton. Although his performance seemed to be over-the-top, at times it seemed as if he was torn between doing his job and being offended by the skits.
But, as we've seen before, sometimes politicians and comedy don’t mix very well despite the best of intentions. If anything, he should've stuck to hosting political talk shows like PoliticsNation and Keepin' It Real with Al Sharpton. It might have lightly prepared him for his hosting gig, but not enough to make the episode enjoyable.
#5 Frank Zappa (1978)
Frank Zappa was known as an American musician and satirist in the 1960s, '70s, and '80s. According to reports, he did nothing to work with the cast during rehearsals leading up to the live taping, and then during his monologue, he made the audience very aware that he really didn’t want to be there.
Although it’s unclear what happened backstage, it was apparently enough for several cast members to refuse to take part in the “goodnight” segment at the end of the show. Some people say his lifetime ban from SNL is due to his actions on set, but others claim that his anti-drug stance immediately put the cast members on edge and doomed the episode from the start.
#4 Martin Lawrence (1994)
Martin Lawrence was well-known for his erratic behavior far before he was invited to host Saturday Night Live in 1994. However, he surprised even Lorne Michaels when the night of the live taping actually occurred. Apparently, after a week of rehearsals, Lawrence went completely off-script in his opening monologue, making jokes about Lorena Bobbitt and women’s hygiene.
We say "apparently" because most of the monologue has been erased from existence. Even so, it got Lawrence banned from ever coming back to SNL. Reruns of the episode completely omit the opening scene because of the utter vulgarity and replaced the monologue with a humorous title card claiming, "It was a frank and lively presentation... that nearly cost us all our jobs."
#3 Milton Berle (1979)
The original cast of Saturday Night Live had grown up watching comedian Milton Berle perform during the golden age of television in the 1950s, so imagine their excitement when they found out that the television veteran would be joining them to perform. However, the cast was soon disappointed by Berle’s obvious disdain for each member of the cast.
Even worse, it is reported that Berle’s time as a host wrapped up in a screaming match with producer Lorne Michaels. Not exactly a good look, Berle! Michaels wrote about working with Berle in the book Live From New York, saying, "I knew we were heading for disaster from minute one... I have a great affection for old-time show business. But it had become corrupt. It wasn't what it had been. The show was trying to get away from that.. I was just not prepared for [Berle]."
#2 Paris Hilton (2005)
Paris Hilton was just another rich socialite living her life and making tabloid news part of her daily exploits, but that all changed in 2003 when a sex tape of Paris was leaked, and she was thrust into the world’s spotlight. Soon after she became a household name, Saturday Night Live invited her onto the show to host.
According to Tina Fey, it was a big mistake. She told Howard Stern in an interview that Hilton was “awful to work with" and "a piece of s***." Apparently, the socialite couldn’t be bothered to learn her lines, which is obvious to even the average viewer given that she looked dazed and confused the entire episode.
#1 Justin Bieber (2013)
When asked in 2018 who the worst guest or host they’d had on the show, both Bill Hader and Jay Pharoah responded that it had to be the Biebs. Apparently, not only was Justin Bieber the biggest star on the planet at the moment but he also had the ego to match. Nothing's worse than a star who openly acts like they're hot stuff.
According to the cast, he couldn’t be bothered to learn his lines and for in the way of rehearsals when he toted in an entourage of 20 guys to the set with him. If you look up "huge inconvenience" in the dictionary, we guarantee a picture of the pop star is plastered right beside it.