SNL: John Mulaney says he didn’t deserve to be a cast member

John Mulaney and Lorne Michaels (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for NRDC)
John Mulaney and Lorne Michaels (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for NRDC) /

John Mulaney agrees that he should not have been a Saturday Night Live cast member

Few Saturday Night Live writers are as recognizable as John Mulaney and even fewer have been asked back to host four times. But it’s indicative of the comedian’s incredible talent and the undeniable mark he left on the show during his time as a writer.

Mulaney hosted SNL last week in what was more proof that he is one of the show’s best hosts of his era and possibly all-time at this point. Between using his stand-up skills in the monologue to helping craft truly unique sketches, there aren’t too many people who can do what John Mulaney can do in Studio 8H.

If things had gone a different way, Mulaney would be returning as a former cast member and not just as a former writer. He tried out for the cast in 2008 at the same time as Ellie Kemper, Donald Glover, Nick Kroll, T.J. Miller, and Bobby Moynihan. Only Moynihan was picked for the cast but Mulaney earned himself a spot on the writing staff and the rest is history.

Mulaney’s four successful turns as host begs the question: did Lorne Michaels make a mistake by not putting him in the cast? Seth Meyers asked that question last night on Late Night and Mulaney had a very reasonable answer for why he did not deserve to be on the cast:

The way Mulaney sees it, he didn’t deserve a spot over anyone who was actually in the cast. He tells Meyers:

"The cast was Bill Hader, Will Forte, Jason Sudeikis…my competition. There were a lot of white brunettes and Fred [Armisen]. I could not do what Fred Armisen does. I could not do what Bill Hader does. I could not do what Andy Samber does. No one can do what Will Forte does. That cast was so good…I never once thought I should be in the cast."

Mulaney is certainly right that the cast between 2008 and 2011 featured some of the era’s best performers who have gone on to be major film and television stars. But of that group, only Mulaney has come back and hosted four times.

John Mulaney was impressive when he was on camera as a Saturday Night Live writer

John Mulaney isn’t the type to take credit for the success of cast members like Bill Hader, Will Forte, and Andy Samberg. But the writer was instrumental in getting those performers some of the best material to work with. Everyone knows the role Mulaney played in creating Stefon for Hader and that’s just one example of many.

Even as a writer, Mulaney found himself on camera from time to time. As he told Meyers on Late Night, he did think he could make it as a “Weekend Update” anchor but knew he couldn’t take it from Meyers. Instead, Mulaney would do desk pieces on “Update” in a preview of what was to come when he got even more air time on SNL.

Related Story. SNL's Heidi Gardner breaks down her Weekend Update characters. light

Do you think John Mulaney would have been a good addition to the cast? Share your thoughts in the comment section and keep checking Last Night On for more on Saturday Night Live.