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Top 10 Best Saturday Night Live Hosts

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Quinn Hough
On the “Saturday Night Live” stage, these celebrities seem right at home. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Best Hosts of Saturday Night Live. For this list, we’re focusing on celebrities that have never been official members of the “Saturday Night Live” cast. So that means favorites like Will Ferrell and Norm Macdonald don’t fit our criteria, since they hosted after leaving the show.
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On the “Saturday Night Live” stage, these celebrities seem right at home. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Best Hosts of Saturday Night Live.

For this list, we’re focusing on celebrities that have never been official members of the “Saturday Night Live” cast. So that means favorites like Will Ferrell and Norm Macdonald don’t fit our criteria, since they hosted after leaving the show.


#10: Melissa McCarthy




Early in her career, this actress performed with famous Los Angeles sketch group The Groundlings. So obviously, Melissa McCarthy has the necessary improv chops to hang with “Saturday Night Live”’s best. She’s played Sean Spicer to perfection with her sensational physical comedy, and the portrayal even led to a Primetime Emmy Award. Meanwhile, her original characters showcase her comedic versatility and ability to go with the flow. Melissa is loud but charming, which makes her a dynamic, unforgettable host; one that “SNL” continues to call on for special appearances.





#9: Buck Henry



In contrast to Melissa McCarthy’s in-your-face style of comedy, this old-school icon takes a more subtle approach. Back in the late 70s, Buck Henry’s dry humor was so captivating that he was asked to host the season finale four years in a row. Considering “SNL”’s gallery of wacky characters, Henry is the perfect “straight man” for sketches about social outcasts. Some of his finest moments will creep you out in that hilariously awkward kind of way, while others display Buck’s raw comedic talent. Either way, he’s guaranteed to make you laugh.





#8: Candice Bergen




This model turned actress is known for her extensive film and television work. What you may not realize, however, is that Candice Bergen is the daughter of comedian Edgar Bergen, and she clearly shares his penchant for humor. Bergen set a high bar for ALL hosts on “SNL,” and she was also the first woman to host. In sketches, Candice plays it cool and is able to match some of the series’ most accomplished cast members beat for beat. Over the years, she’s often returned, making her not just a memorable guest host, but one of the series’ most influential and relatable hosts.





#7: Drew Barrymore




Speaking of relatable performers, this American actress has been in the public eye since childhood. Oh, and Drew Barrymore also comes from a Hollywood family. She makes it look easy on stage, and she’s an old pro, too, as she actually hosted in 1982 at only seven years old. While Drew can hold her own with original characters, it’s the celebrity impressions that stand out most. She may be America’s sweetheart, but she will kill you with her kind demeanor and her extraordinary knack for comedic timing.





#6: Tom Hanks




Everybody loves this American icon, so much so that he acknowledged himself as America’s father during a 2016 monologue. Long before Tom Hanks became an Oscar winner, he was a comedic veteran of the “SNL” stage. Like Drew Barrymore, he’s got a gift for astute celebrity impressions, but he’s also capable of stepping away from the script for bizarre, zany characters. Remember, this is “Bosom Buddies’” Buffy Wilson that we’re talking about. He puts the audience at ease, only to flip the script with his vast range of comedic quirks.





#5: John Goodman




Back in 1980, this extraordinary character failed to make the “Saturday Night Live” cut. But John Goodman nonetheless became a series legend. With his larger than life nature, he can play overbearing and aggressive characters, and he’s also got the personality to channel his feminine side, too. Remember Linda Tripp? And while Goodman’s not afraid of going over-the-top he can pull things back he needs to, always playing off his fellow “SNL” performers. If Tom Hanks is America’s Dad, then John Goodman is America’s hilarious uncle.





#4: Justin Timberlake




Some performers just have that special X factor, and this superstar is one of those blessed individuals. Justin Timberlake obviously brings some hip appeal to the “SNL” stage, but he keeps people tuned in with his magnetic personality and triple threat skill set. He always seems one step ahead during sketches, leaving viewers curious if he’ll stay on script or improvise. Plus, Justin also seems to be having the time of his life, resulting in several hilarious moments that keep “Saturday Night Live” in the headlines.





#3: Christopher Walken




If Justin Timberlake makes the audience comfortable, then this man does the exact opposite. Still, Christopher Walken brings a strange sense of effortless cool to “Saturday Night Live” with his intellectual comedy and subdued technique. Like John Goodman, Walken excels during bizarre scenarios, whether he’s asking for more cowbell, or breaking the fourth wall as “The Continental.” Plus, his unorthodox manner of speech always keeps the cast members on their toes, as they wonder which way Walken will go. He’s a true original that brings out the best in other performers.





#2: Alec Baldwin




Younger “Saturday Night Live” fans surely recognize this actor for his exaggerated Donald Trump impression. But Alec Baldwin is no one-trick pony, as he’s one of the most versatile celebrities to ever host... and he’s hosted more times than anybody else as of 2017. Alec’s run began in 1990, as he mixed celebrity impressions with oddball characters to complement the likes of oddball comics such as Chris Farley and Adam Sandler. He’s a true professional; someone that raises the bar by staying on point with each and every sketch. And of course, he isn’t afraid of doing political impersonations.





Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.



Richard Pryor





Zach Galifianakis





Betty White





#1: Steve Martin




This comedy icon has been with “Saturday Night Live” since the beginning. In fact, some people may actually believe that Steve Martin is an original cast member. In the early days, he helped put “SNL” on the map with his improv comedy and purely original characters, all the while creating pop culture moments before going viral was even a thing. With his extraordinary ability to simply entertain, Steve makes “SNL” must-watch TV whenever he hosts. He is a comedic genius and clearly enjoys seeing people chuckle at the silliest of things.
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