Ask anyone to pick their favorite Saturday Night Live actor, you’ll get a slew of answers. But ask any SNL actor past or present to name the worst host of all time, they’ll likely pick Steven Seagal.
As a matter of etiquette, SNL cast members, writers, and hosts generally don’t talk smack about each other. But over the years, an increasing number of former SNL staff are dumping on Steven Seagal’s appearance as host in April 1991.
Those who pan Seagal’s disastrous hosting stint — arguably at the peak of his fame — include David Spader, Bob Odenkirk, and Rob Schneider.
Schneider said he met with a writer who was lined up to pen Under Siege 2 and who Seagal made wait for him for 45 minutes in his trailer.
“Finally, Steven Seagal emerges from one of the other anterooms in the mobile home,” Schneider remarked. “He said, ‘I just read the greatest script I’ve ever read in my life.’ The writer goes, ‘Really? Who wrote it?’ [Seagal replied] ‘I did.’”
Steven Seagal on ‘SNL’: More Nightmare Stories
Next, Odenkirk also opened up to Stern in February of this year about working with Seagal during his time as SNL host.
“I was there when he hosted SNL — one of the most famous nightmare-like ‘can’t reshow that show ever’ [episodes],” Odenkirk said.
Odenkirk said Steven Seagal took issue in particular with a Hans and Franz sketch.
“ ‘If I do this sketch — if I do it,’ ” Odenkirk recalled him saying. “ ‘I have to beat them up.’ “
“It’s the most ludicrous scenario,” Odenkirk said. “ ‘Don’t worry, no one will actually think … anyone beat anyone up here.’ That was his attitude the whole week. He kept saying, ‘I’ve never seen your show. I don’t know what you do here.’ Like, really? You’ve never seen Saturday Night Live? Where do you live?’ ”
Odenkirk then recalled how awful the show became when Steven Seagal got his way during the week he hosted.
“He wrote a scene … it was the last scene in the show … it’s like one of his movies, but they tried to do it live,” Odenkirk said. “They got some stuntmen to come in … it’s insane … he’s beating them up and throwing them around the room, and it goes on for eight minutes. And then, at the very end, he turns to the camera and says, ‘This is what happens when you pollute the planet.’ And the audience is just mystified.
Bob Odenkirk on Steven Seagal
Finally, David Spade said in June 2021 that he deduced why Seagal didn’t mesh well with the show.
“He was friendly enough to me,” Spade reflected, before adding that Steven Seagal didn’t trust the SNL writers enough.
“A lot of people think we’re there to make fun of them,” Spade recalled. “If we’re getting you to host, we all want it to work. And if you make fun of yourself — this is where it gets tricky — it will benefit you, we promise you. … He was too cool, he had his image. … He wouldn’t do kung-fu fighting. … ”