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The 10 Best Saturday Night Live hosts, ranked

Since 1975, Saturday Night Live has been an institution on NBC, and it’s closing in fast on 1,000 episodes, which should be reached before the show celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2025. Hosting the show has become a rite of passage for up-and-coming stars and established actors and actresses. But only the best guest hosts have had the chance to return for multiple appearances. There’s even a Five-Timers Club for SNL hosting veterans, although only five guest hosts have had the gig 10 times or more.

Since Peacock allows fans to revisit the previous seasons of SNL, we’ve decided to look back at the 10 best Saturday Night Live hosts, ranked from worst to first. It’s an elite group of performers, including one who earned her place on the list on the strength of the most recent episode.

10. Alec Baldwin

Alec Baldwin hosting Saturday Night Live.

Alec Baldwin is the current SNL record holder with 17 appearances as the show’s host. In more recent seasons, Baldwin had 45 recurring guest appearances parodying Donald Trump both during his Presidency and afterward.

Baldwin’s impression of Trump did not sit well with the former President, which actually made Baldwin seem even funnier.

9. Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johannson hosting Saturday Night Live.

Scarlett Johansson doesn’t get enough credit for how funny she is, which may be because she tends to favor dramatic and action films on the big screen. But through her six times as host of Saturday Night Live, Johansson has proven she has the comedic chops to do more comedy roles.

Johansson is also literally a member of the SNL family since she’s married to current Weekend Update host Colin Jost. So it’s a safe bet that she’ll be back on the show at some point.

8. Robin Williams

Robin Williams Monologue: Stand Up - Saturday Night Live

The late Robin Williams only appeared as host three times on Saturday Night Live. But as one of the most gifted comedians of his generation, Williams made it special every time he took the stage. It’s unfortunate that Williams didn’t have more opportunities on this particular show. But we’ll treasure the appearances that he did make.

7. Emma Stone

Emma Stone hosting Saturday Night Live.

In a recent episode of SNL, Poor Things star Emma Stone joined the Five-Timers club. And if her performance is any indication, she’ll be back several times in the next few years. Stone has a knack for the hosting gig, and a willingness to go with some of the show’s most daring skits. For example, Stone appeared in last weekend’s Fully Naked in New York skit, which is already well on its way to going viral.

Fully Naked in New York - SNL

6. Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore Monologue: Audience Questions - Saturday Night Live

How many people can say they hosted SNL when they were just 7 years old? Only Drew Barrymore, who pulled off that feat in 1982 after her star-making turn in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Seventeen years later, Barrymore returned to host the show as an adult, which she did for a total of six times.

These days, Barrymore is a daytime TV talk show host, so she may not be back on SNL again. But her accomplishments on the show remain unmatched.

5. Chevy Chase

Chevy Chase hosts Saturday Night Live.

Chevy Chase was one of the original Not Ready For Primetime Players in Saturday Day Night‘s first season in 1975 and the original host of Weekend Update. That alone would have made him one of SNL‘s all-time greats. But after leaving the show, he also went on to host SNL nine times.

The other reason why Chase is famous, or infamous, among the former cast members is that he was banned from the show in 1997.  This was reportedly due to Chase’s backstage conduct with the then-current cast of SNL. Chase has returned for some cameo appearances since, but he hasn’t hosted an episode in 26 years.

4. John Goodman

John Goodman Monologue - Saturday Night Live

John Goodman hasn’t hosted Saturday Night Live in a decade, but with 13 appearances as host under his belt, he’s one of the all-time greats. During the ’90s, Goodman had at least one hosting appearance in every year except 1991.

He does a great job in the role that we don’t know why he hasn’t returned in so long. Goodman did make two cameo appearances on SNL in 2018, so hopefully, the door remains open for him to host again.

3. Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks as David S. Pumpkins on Saturday Night Live.

Ten-time SNL host A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood‘s Tom Hanks has been dropping by 30 Rockefeller Plaza’s studio 8H since 1985. He’s also one of the few guest hosts with a breakout character. In 2016, Hanks appeared as David S. Pumpkins, the so-called Santa Claus of Halloween, accompanied by his dancing skeletons, played by Bobby Moynihan and Mikey Day.

When David S. Pumpkins went viral, it led to Hanks revisiting the character both on SNL and in his own animated TV special.

2. Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy hosting Saturday Night Live.

In the history of Saturday Night Live, Eddie Murphy has only hosted three times. But he’s also arguably the biggest movie star that the show has ever produced. From 1980 to 1984, Murphy was synonymous with SNL and easily the most popular cast member. He also has the distinction of being the first performer to host the show while he was still a cast member because the scheduled host, Nick Nolte, was ill.

All three of Murphy’s hosting appearances happened in December, but there was a 35-year gap between his second hosting stint in 1984 and his return to the show in 2019.

1. Steve Martin

Steve Martin hosting Saturday Night Live.

Only Murders in the Building‘s Steve Martin has been guest-hosting Saturday Night Live for longer than most people have been alive. Martin made his first appearance as host in the second season of SNL. He went on to host or co-host the show 15 additional times, most recently in December 2022. Alec Baldwin may have the record with 17 stints as host. Martin is only one appearance behind Baldwin, and he could ultimately claim the record for himself.

Martin is also an uncommonly gifted comedian who has guest-starred on SNL an additional 19 times when he wasn’t hosting. That’s more screen time than some SNL cast members get! Martin is simply the best guest that SNL has ever had, and that’s why he’s been coming back to the show since 1976.

Watch Saturday Night Live on Peacock.

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Blair Marnell
Blair Marnell has been an entertainment journalist for over 15 years. His bylines have appeared in Wizard Magazine, Geek…
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