Saturday Night Live is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and is now prepping for a star-studded special broadcast on Sunday, Feb. 15. To mark the occasion, The Hollywood Reporter sat down with Lorne Michaels, a.k.a the man who built the SNL empire.
Michaels reflects on four decades of sketches (ones that killed and ones that bombed), hosts, musical guests and other memories of the show. But one of the most interesting parts of the interview comes when he’s asked about potential cast members he overlooked — and then later kicked himself for rejecting.
Michaels first mentions Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert, who auditioned before both of their careers exploded, thanks to The Daily Show.
“There were lots of people who you’d see how brilliant they were,” Michaels said, “but you knew on some level that it wasn’t going to work.” He then mentions Lisa Kudrow, who “gave a brilliant audition, but it was at the time when it was Jan Hooks and Nora [Dunn].”
Finally, Michaels also mentions that Jim Carrey once auditioned — but he wasn’t present for that one. Someone who was there simply assumed Michaels wouldn’t like him.
“They were probably wrong, but it doesn’t matter,” Michaels said. “Or maybe they were right — who knows? No one gets it all right.”