SNL 40: The Audition Tapes

Two of Saturday Night Live’s newest cast members, Pete Davidson and Leslie Jones, introduced a segment on the process of becoming a cast member. SNL 40’s audition tapes included the original Not-Ready-For-Primetime-Players trying out to be part of that very first season including Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi and Gilda Radner.

The audition tapes revealed early versions of some future SNL cast members’ characters that would go on to make it on the show and become audience favorites like Kenan Thompson’s Al Sharpton, Dana Carvey’s Church Lady, Chris Kattan’s Mr. Peepers, Fred Armisen’s bandleader Fericito, Vanessa Bayer’s Miley Cyrus, Ana Gasteyer’s Martha Stewart and Will Ferrell’s Harry Caray. The wigs and make up on these characters all got a little more sophisticated in their final products.

There was also a look at the now famous people who didn’t pass the audition and their try-outs, including Jim Carrey, Stephen Colbert, Zach Galifianakis, Kevin Hart and Andy Kaufman who didn’t make it into the original cast, but did appear on the very first Saturday Night Live.

Plus, check out the short shorts that Andy Samberg wore while auditioning. He was obviously fearless.


Watch more late night tv comedy clips.