March 25, 2015 9:20 AM EDT

Aspiring comedians with Saturday Night Live dreams, heed the advice of Kevin Hart: don’t impersonate somebody nobody really knows. That’s what the Get Hard and The Wedding Ringer star told Conan O’Brien about his failed audition, where he tried to impress head SNL honcho Lorne Michaels with an impression of athlete-turned-NBA-commentator Avery Johnson.

“He didn’t say he didn’t know who that was, but I could definitely tell he didn’t know,” Hart says of Michaels’ reaction. “I know you can’t believe it because of my success now, but if you had seen this tape, you would understand why I didn’t get it.”

Write to Nolan Feeney at nolan.feeney@time.com.

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