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Actors Who Somehow Never Hosted Saturday Night Live

"Saturday Night Live" first emerged in the 1970s as the premiere sketch comedy show featuring the infamous 'Not Ready for Prime Time Players' like Bill Murray, John Belushi, Garrett Morris, and Gilda Radner. It's been the spawning ground for some of Hollywood's best comic talent, and over the years produced the likes of Eddie Murphy, Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Kristin Wiig, and so many more.

Each week though, the series also brings on a bigger star to host its cast of lesser-known comedians, often a major TV actor or Hollywood legend. More often than not, these hosts are there to help promote a new project, and over the years, the SNL stage has been home to greats like Bruce Willis, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Ian McKellan. But despite nearly a thousand episodes in its run, there are some stars who've somehow escaped hosting duties. 

We're not sure why these A-list stars have never taken the stage. Maybe they never got the call from creator and producer Lorne Michaels, maybe they turned it down for any number of reasons. But whatever the case, our list of actors who've never hosted SNL has some surprising names. Read on to find out who they are.

Chris Evans

It's tempting to wonder why "Saturday Night Live" hasn't asked actor Chris Evans to host, especially with his role as Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, whose films have amassed billions of dollars. But the truth is, while Evans may be best known as Marvel's Sentinel of Liberty, it's certainly not the only role that could have earned him the hosting job on the sketch comedy show like it did co-stars Jeremy Renner, Chris Hemsworth, and Scarlett Johansson (who's hosted four times since becoming the Black Widow).

But Evans also should have had a chance in the 2000s, when he starred in a different comic book role, as Johnny Storm — AKA The Human Torch — in a pair of "Fantastic Four" films. Leading roles in Disney's "Lightyear" and "The Gray Man" should have also been enough to get him a shot. Of course, if his role as the villain in Rian Johnson's "Knives Out" didn't earn him a spot, we're not sure what will, and we're left waiting to see when or if he'll ever get the call. With a rumored return in the MCU (per the Express) though, he may yet get one more chance to headline the show.

Tom Cruise

There may not be anyone reading this who hasn't loved at least one film from Tom Cruise, whose career has spanned parts of five decades. He has gone through ups and downs, and even a few minor controversies, but Cruise remains as big a draw to the box office as anyone in Hollywood to this day. His return to the role as Pete Mitchell in "Top Gun: Maverick" gave him his first billion-dollar blockbuster, while his part as Ethan Hunt in the "Mission: Impossible" franchise makes him one of cinema's best-ever super-spies. 

And yet, from when he was a rising star in the '80s with hits like "Risky Business" and "Cocktail," through award-winning dramas like "Jerry Maguire," to franchise fare in the 2000s like "Jack Reacher," Cruise has still; never hosted "Saturday Night Live." Perhaps it has something to do with just how busy he is, or maybe it's because he's not really the improv type, or because he wants to protect his carefully manicured image, we're not sure. At the end of the day, any theory as to why Cruise has never stood on the "SNL" stage is merely speculation, but at this point, it's fair to wonder if he'll ever host the show.

Sandra Bullock

Sandra Bullock became a star in the '90s thanks to big action movies and thrillers like "Speed" and "The Net," before veering into blockbuster rom-coms in the 2000s including "Miss Congeniality" and "The Proposal." Bullock has never really gone away either and is always appearing in some big movie every now and then. This includes an Oscar win for her leading role in the 2009 sports drama, "The Blind Side," the box office smash "The Heat" with Melissa McCarthy in 2013, and her own franchise spin-off, "Ocean's 8," alongside fellow non-host Julia Roberts.

But in spite of being one of Hollywood's most likable starlets, Bullock has continued to be snubbed for "SNL" hosting duties to this day. We may never know why she hasn't gotten the gig though, as she's never addressed it, so perhaps it's her own choosing. Plus, with something of a career resurgence lately, with streaming flicks like horror-thriller "Bird Box" and "The Unforgivable," plus action comedies like "The Lost City" with Channing Tatum, her career is far from over, so perhaps there's a chance yet that she'll get the call.

Will Smith

In the '90s, Will Smith was the star of a hit sitcom — "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" — after transitioning from an early rap career and went on to appear in blockbuster sci-fi action movies like "Men in Black" and "Independence Day." He nabbed his first Oscar nomination for his 2001 biopic "Ali," and took home the trophy in 2022 for "King Richard." But despite his reputation as a Hollywood icon with impressive range and a comic ability that made him perfect for weekend hilarity, he's never hosted "Saturday Night Live."

During his run as the star of "The Fresh Prince" "Saturday Night Live" was in the middle of a renaissance, led by stars like Mike Myers, Chris Farley, and Chris Rock, and it would have been the perfect time for Smith to host as an up-and-coming TV star. In 1996, he could have been called in to host with Mariah Carey as a musical guest when both were atop the charts in their respective industries, yet he never did. Now we may have to wait quite a while if we want to see Smith on the SNL stage, because following his 2022 Oscar scandal, his ten-year ban from the ceremony may make the show's producers nervous about him appearing live on-stage.

Christian Bale

Christian Bale is one of the most highly-respected actors. The Welsh star originally came to American shores in his youth, starring as a teen in "Empire of the Sun." Since he hit it big in the 2000s with hits like "American Psycho" and "The Dark Knight" trilogy, Bale has become famous for his unmatched dedication to the art of acting. 

But despite being one of Hollywood's biggest names, Bale never took the trip to New York to host "Saturday Night Live." Often playing dark, brooding characters, some might wonder if he just isn't a fit for the sillier style of SNL, but if there's a reason Bale has shied away, it might be his penchant for method acting. "I see actors who can just be themselves and then switch and give these really incredible performances, and then switch back to being themselves," he told the Guardian in 2018. "I find I start laughing because I'm too aware that it's still me. So I try to get as distant as possible. Otherwise, I can't do it."

Considering SNL would likely require him to play a half dozen or so different characters in his hour-and-a-half performance, it's possible the show just isn't something he would find comfortable.

Leonardo DiCaprio

Coming up in the 1980s as a child star, many fans might still remember Leonardo DiCaprio as the directionless teen Luke in "Growing Pains." He showed off his big screen chops in 1993 in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" and as an angsty teen in "The Basketball Diaries" two years later, before becoming a bonafide teen heartthrob in the late '90s. That status was thanks to "Romeo + Juliet" with Claire Danes, but more famously his star-making turn opposite Kate Winslet as Jack Dawson in "Titanic." 

Since then, DiCaprio has become an influential global star, appearing in films from Hollywood's biggest directors including Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and Quentin Tarantino. But while he got his long-awaited Academy Award for his role in "The Revenant," he still has never hosted an episode of "Saturday Night Live." He's not completely averse to the show though, as his lone cameo appearance can attest: in a 2014 episode, with his "Wolf of Wall Street" co-star Jonah Hill hosting, DiCaprio surprised audiences by barging in on the monologue and re-enacting a famous moment from "Titanic," with Hill standing in for Winslet.

Julia Roberts

When it comes to iconic women in Hollywood, there are few bigger than Julia Roberts. She came to most people's attention in the late 1980s with a string of back-to-back-to-back hits, the 1988 comedy "Mystic Pizza," 1989's tearjerker "Steel Magnolias" and the 1990 rom-com "Pretty Woman." 

Alas, while SNL brought on the likes of Bruce Willis, Melanie Griffith, and Rob Lowe in those years, Roberts was nowhere to be found but the big screen. She led the 1991 thriller, "Sleeping with the Enemy," played Tinkerbell in Steven Spielberg's "Hook," and later won her lone Academy Award for her performance in "Erin Brockovich." But despite hit after hit, Roberts avoided "SNL."

Unlike most on this list, we know why Roberts has been a no-show. "I grew up watching 'Saturday Night Live' in the '70s, early '80s ... it always intimidated me how funny and clever that show is," she told Extra TV's Mario Lopez in 2017. "So when I was asked to do it, long, long ago, I always said no because I was just too afraid ... too afraid to blow it." But Roberts hasn't closed the door to hosting entirely: "I haven't gotten a call from Lorne Michaels [lately] so we'll see if that ever happens."

Mark Wahlberg

When Mark Wahlberg first got famous, he wasn't an actor, and he wasn't even known as Mark Wahlberg. For legions of his fans, he was "Marky Mark," the crazy, sexy, cool frontman of the hip-hop group, Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. If that doesn't ring a bell, well, you obviously didn't grow up in the early '90s, when they had a number one Billboard chart-topping single, "Good Vibrations." 

Not long after though, Wahlberg would turn to acting where he'd break out in "Boogie Nights" as adult film star Dirk Diggler. Today of course, Wahlberg is a major action hero, known for leading roles in "Transformers: Age of Extinction," "Uncharted," and the buddy comedy, "The Other Guys." But despite being around for more than 30 years, Wahlberg has never hosted "Saturday Night Live" (though he did pop up in for a memorable cameo).

But Wahlberg's absence from SNL is doubly curious because he could have had a chance to appear as either host, musical guest, or both when he had success with "Good Vibrations." There's still time, of course, as Wahlberg has plenty of good A-list years left, and he's got a great sense of humor — as well as a friendship with "SNL" vet Will Ferrell – so maybe he's just waiting for the right time to strike.

Morgan Freeman

There may be no more beloved actor in Hollywood than Morgan Freeman, whose voice may be one of the most distinctive in cinema. Oddly enough, his career didn't get moving until he was well into his '30s, with a regular role on the children's television show, "The Electric Company," in the 1970s. He finally found big screen stardom in the late 1980s though, with Oscar-nominated performances in "Street Smart" and "Driving Miss Daisy," before his roles in Clint Eastwood's "Unforgiven" and Frank Darabont's "The Shawshank Redemption" made him a bonafide superstar.

We won't go over all of his biggest hits since, but you no doubt know many of them, from "Seven" to "The Dark Knight" trilogy. Somehow though, he's never found the time to step onto the stage at 30 Rockefeller Center to host "Saturday Night Live." And it's not as if he's any stranger to comedy, having starred in laughers like "Bruce Almighty" and "The Big Bounce." What may have been stopping him from joining the 'Not Ready for Prime Time Players' though might be his busy schedule, as he's appeared in more than 80 films since 1990 (pert IMDb). 

That said, he did find time to drop by the show: In 2010, Freeman took part in an installment of the recurring Keenan Thompson sketch "What's Up with That?" alongside Ernest Borgnine and host Bryan Cranston.

Laura Dern

Laura Dern has lived many lives in Hollywood, starting in the 1980s with big screen classics like "Mask." It was during that decade that she came to the attention of writer and director David Lynch, who cast her in his 1986 psycho-drama "Blue Velvet," and would make her one of his favorite casting choices. He'd bring her back for roles in "Wild at Heart," "Inland Empire," and the 2017 revival of "Twin Peaks." But while Dern has seemingly preferred smaller dramas throughout her career, she might be best known to wider audiences as Ellie Sattler, the adventurous dinosaur archeologist in "Jurassic Park," a part she'd reprise in two of its sequels.

She's been no stranger to TV either, where in addition to "Twin Peaks: The Return" she starred in "Big Little Lies," alongside the likes of Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon, and she'd net an Emmy for her efforts. But somehow, despite all her success on screens big and small, an appearance on "Saturday Night Live" has so far eluded her. In fact, while her "Jurassic Park" co-star Jeff Goldblum was picked to host in 1993, Dern was left on the outside looking in.

Keanu Reeves

Who doesn't love Keanu Reeves? If there's someone with an axe to grind with the star, we haven't met them, as he's been long known as one of the nicest guys in Hollywood. But while he hasn't always been a megastar, he's gone through at least three distinct periods in his career where he was among the biggest names in the game, periods when he'd have been the perfect choice to host "Saturday Night Live." 

The first was in the late '80s and early '90s when he was a hot young star, having led the sci-fi comedy "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" and its sequel, before busting out as an action hero in films like "Point Break" and "Speed." The next would have been around the turn of the millennium when he became Neo in "The Matrix" and its three sequels, which were some of the biggest movies on the planet at the time. Of course, Reeves has been the titular assassin in no less than four "John Wick" flicks, yet despite his stardom, he's never been handed the hosting role for the sketch show.

Perhaps he's not one for unrehearsed antics, or maybe he's just not the live comedy type. Whatever the case may be, Reeves is the kind of guy who you can't hold a grudge against, so if it's his choice to stay away, we salute him.

Denzel Washington

Though he arrived on the scene in the early '80s, Denzel Washington reached renown thanks to his Oscar-nominated performance in 1988's "Cry Freedom" before winning one two years later in the Civil War epic, "Glory." From there it was step-by-step to A-list status, from Spike Lee's "Malcolm X" to the hard-hitting drama "Philadelphia" and beyond. 

From mystery thriller to sci-fi action, Washington has done it all. But what he's never done is host "Saturday Night Live." The truth is though, outside of a few early films that mixed in some light laughs, Washington rarely ventured into comedy, something he noted ahead of the release of his 2013 film "2 Guns," an action comedy co-starring fellow "SNL" no-show Mark Wahlberg.

"I was looking to do something to have more fun, so when I read the script and heard Mark was involved I was like, 'Oh I could be safe because Mark is not just funny, he has a warmth and heart about him,'" Washington said according to Reuters. "It was a chance to do that and to have fun." Well if you're looking for fun, Mr. Washington, might we suggest ringing up Lorne Michaels?

Susan Sarandon

Not only has Susan Sarandon been nominated for a best actress Oscar five times — winning for "Dead Man Walking" — she's appeared in some of the best films in nearly every genre, from musicals like "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" to sports comedy "Bull Durham" to buddy movie "Thelma and Louise" to the Disney live-action fantasy "Enchanted."

But she's also been sorely overlooked for "Saturday Night Live" throughout her career. She was a prime candidate to host even when the show was in its early years, with her role in "Rocky Horror" coming the same year as the first season of SNL. She could have hosted in 1987 when she led a coven of witches in "The Witches Eastwick," or in 1994 when she starred in a pair of hits, "The Client" and "Little Women." She did however pop up in a pre-recorded Andy Samberg digital short in 2013, playing Samberg's mother in the sexually-charged "Motherlover" alongside Justin Timberlake and Patricia Clarkson.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

At this point, we've seen the likes of Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts, and Denzel Washington have never taken center stage on "Saturday Night Live," and we're starting to see a pattern. It seems that perhaps the show just fails to attract the biggest names in Hollywood; stars who are either too busy or in demand to make the time. Because when we do see them, it's often in the form of a special cameo that brings the house down at an unexpected moment.

In fact, that's the only time way that strongman-turned-actor Arnold Schwarzenegger ever appeared on the show. Twice, in 1988 and in 1991, Schwarzenegger popped up not as a host but instead taking part in installments of the recurring sketch "Hanz and Franz," which saw cast members Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon playing goofy bodybuilders in homage to the Austrian-born star. But never once in his long career, from when he emerged as "Conan" to his role as "The Terminator" to his time as the Governor of California to today, did the big man play host.