23 Celebs That Didn’t Make the Cast of SNL

Many successful people got their start on the set of Saturday Night Live. However, with only a limited number of cast members from season to season, many would-be celebrities auditioned for the show but didn’t make the cut.

Catching their big breaks elsewhere, these stars who tried out for SNL gained plenty of fame in their own right. From TV show hosts and sitcom legends to Oscar-winning stars, here are some of the most famous people who didn’t make the cast of SNL.

Jim Carrey


Who would have thought that the almighty Jim Carrey was unsuccessful in the 1980 and 1985 SNL auditions? He might have been hurt back but not now. He is one man that the producer of the Saturday Night Live show, Lorne Michaels regrets not hiring. 

Today Jim Carrey is one of the most successful actors in Hollywood with roles in popular movies like How Grinch Stole Christmas, Dumb and Dumber, The Mask, and Bruce Almighty. He eventually got to host the show three times in 1996,2011 and 2014 and even made an appearance in the 46th season of the show as Joe Biden, the then-2020 presidential candidate, and winner. 

Kevin Hart


Kevin Hart didn’t look too hurt when he hosted the SNL show in 2013 and talked about his failed SNL audition in the early  2000s. After all, he is now a successful comic actor and his comedy shows are always sold out. 

He is famous for his hilarious roles in movies like Ride Along, Think Like a Man, Act Like a Lady, The Man from Toronto, and Jumanji: The Next Level. 

Cameron Diaz


Before this blonde bombshell became the celebrated actress she is today,  she auditioned for SNL in the1980s but didn’t get the job. Well, she has starred in several movies including Charlie’s Angels, Shrek, There’s Something About Mary, and Annie. She was one of the highest-paid Hollywood actresses over 40 in 2013. 

Steve Carell


It was definitely awkward when Steve Carrell didn’t get the SNL job in 1995,  but his wife Nancy Carrell did.

 Thank God he ended up becoming a popular actor with loads of amazing roles in movies and tv shows like 40-Year-Old Virgin, Minions: The Rise of Gru, Crazy, Stupid, Love, and The Office. 

Jennifer Coolidge


The American Pie actress auditioned in  1995 for the show but didn’t get the job. Fortunately for her, she landed a role in the series American Pie which shot her to international fame. She has gone on to star in different successful movies and TV shows including American Pie, The Secret Life of an American Teenager, Like a Boss, and A Cinderella Story. 

John Goodman


The actor got rejected when he auditioned for the SNL show in 1980. It’s safe to say he has had his fill of the show after hosting it thirteen times. He is famous for his role in Roseanne, Hangover Part |||,  Atomic Blonde, and Beyond the Sea.

Lisa Kudrow


Lisa Kudrow would have made an amazing cast member of the SNL show if she had gotten the job when she auditioned in 1990. Things got better for her when she landed a role in the sitcom Friends which catapulted her to stardom and the rest is history. 

 She garnered several awards for her amazing performances including a Primetime Emmy Award, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and a Golden Globe nomination. She has starred in different movies and tv shows including The Boss Baby, Friends, The Comeback, Friends: The Reunion, and many others. 

Nicole Byer


The comedian and actress auditioned for the SNL show in 2013 but lost the part to Sasheer Zamata, another amazing actress and comedian. Even though she didn’t get the job, she has gotten recognition for her work as an actress, comedian, and tv show host. She is the current show host for Nailed It and Wipeout. 

David Cross


David Cross is known for his comedy shows that never fail to leave the audience with belly-wrecking laughs. Yet this famous stand-up comedian was passed over during the 1992 auditions for the SNL show. 

He has since starred in numerous successful shows and movies including Mr. Show and Arrested Development and has enjoyed massive success and recognition from them. 

Tiffany Haddish 


Tiffany Haddish also wanted a role in the  SNL show in 2013. Even though she didn’t get cast, she is a successful comedian and actress and has been amusing us in different movies and tv shows including Girls Trip, Nobody’s Fool, The Angry Birds Movie 2, and Like a Boss. 

 She eventually got to host the show in 2017 and received a Primetime Emmy Award for it.  

Kel Mitchell


The Kenan & Kel actor auditioned for the show in 2003 along with his co-star Kenan Thompson. While Kel was unsuccessful, Kenan got the job. But it didn’t stop Kel from becoming a well-known standup comedian and actor. He is famous for being one-half of the titular characters in Kenan & Kel, andhis roles in Nickelodeon’s comedy series All That and Game Shakers. 

Kathy Najimy


Kathy Najimy is among the list of unsuccessful celebrities who tried out for a role in the famous SNL show. 

She auditioned in 1984 but didn’t get the job. She went on star in several popular movies and shows including Hocus Pocus 2, Rat Race, and  WALL-E.

Donald Glover


According to Donald Glover, not making the SNL cast didn’t hurt so much as he was already a successful NBC sitcom  writer when he auditioned. There is no denying that Donald Glover is a successful writer, actor, musician, and producer in his right with numerous accolades to his name. 

He is a recipient of two Primetime Emmy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards and five Grammy awards, BET Hip-Hop Awards, and loads of  others.  He even got to host the show in 2018. 

Geena Davis


The award-winning actor and producer tried out for the show in 1984 but was unlucky. She later hosted the show in 1989 and has enjoyed a highly successful acting career, with an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award to her credit. She starred in movies like Thelma & Louise, Beetlejuice, and The Fly. 

Cassandra Peterson


The “Mistress of the Dark ” actress unsuccessfully auditioned for the show twice, in 1980 and 1981. She is best known for her horror hostess character Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. A role she reprised in Elvira: Mistress of the Dark and Elvira’s Haunted Hills. 

Kumail Nanjiani


Although Kumail Nanjiani didn’t get the SNL job, the setback didn’t stop him from getting roles in Silicon Valley, Big Sick ,Stuber, and finally, a Marvel superhero role in Eternals.

Rachel Bloom


This actress was among the celebrities that auditioned for a role in the SNL show and were unsuccessful. 

Today, she is known for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend a famous comedy series she co-wrote and starred in. She received numerous awards for her contribution to the series including a Primetime Emmy Award, Golden Globe Award, TCA Award, and Critics’ Choice Award. She also starred in films including The Angry Birds Movie 2, Trolls World Tour, and Most Likely to Murder. 

Zach Galifianakis


The Hangover actor auditioned for SNL in 1999 but didn’t get the job. Thankfully, it did not deter the actor who went on to become an A-list comic actor in Hollywood and even hosted the show three times, in 2010, 2011, and 2013. He is known for his role in movies like Hangover, Keeping Up With The Jones, Masterminds, and  Hangover Part ||

Mindy Kaling


The Office actress, writer, and director auditioned to join the SNL show but was offered to write for the show instead, an offer she turned down. 

She is famous for her role in the sitcom The Office, her voiceover work in Despicable Me, Inside Out, and Wreck Ralph, and her roles in several comedy films. 

Jordan Peele


Despite not making the SNL cast, Jordan Peele has made a name for himself as an actor, comedian and director. His directorial movies Get Out, Us, and Nope are Box Office hits. 


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