‘Well, let me tell you about SNL’: Mark Hamill dishes on being denied as a ‘Saturday Night Live’ host for decades
Mark Hamill has never hosted Saturday Night Live. Can you believe that? I certainly can’t, and when I first looked at Esquire’s latest interview of the Hollywood Icon, I thought there had to have been a mistake. Detailing his career and upcoming comedy — The Machine (Bert Kreisher’s big-budget laugh fest), Esquire sat down with Hamill to talk about his extraordinary life.
When asked about SNL, Hamill didn’t hold back. And why should he? After all, he’s Mark Hamill.
“Well, let me tell you about SNL, Carrie (Fisher) did it back in the day with the original cast. I was over the moon because it was my favorite show, Carrie was great on it, and it made me really want to do it. But it’s not one of those things where your agent calls and says, ‘Hey, book my client.’ They pretty much pick who they want and you go from there. I was asked to host Fridays, which was ABC’s answer to SNL. And I think—I’m not sure, again, I’m just speculating—but I have a feeling that that might have been a factor in not being thought favorably of by Lorne Michaels.”
The genius behind SNL, Michaels has been behind comedy’s gut-busting zeitgeist since 1975 — and shows no signs of stopping. Still, I find it hard to believe that Lorne Michaels could hold such a grudge. Mark Hamill is one of the nicest dudes in Hollywood, and to deny him a chance to stretch his comedic muscles doesn’t make much sense.
As an icon, Hamill has lent his comedic talents to plenty of projects over the years through characters like Skips (Regular Show), Ted (Brigsby Bear), Jim the Vampire (What We Do in the Shadows), and Fire Lord Ozai (Avatar: The Last Airbender), so it stands to reason that our guy Mark could handle SNL. Okay, so that last one wasn’t all that funny, but I can’t tell you how cool it is that Mark frikken’ Hamill played Fire Lord Ozai.
Still, Hamill has at least been on SNL in the past. During the Will Ferrell days, Mark appeared in an off-kilter sketch about folks selling Star Wars memorabilia — only to put Mark Hamill up for sale, proving once and for all he has what it takes to helm an episode of high-octane television.
“It’s one of those things where if they asked me, you’d have to do it. You accept the challenge. But the fact that they don’t ask me is fine, because I’m perfectly happy to be in the audience and not have the pressure of being on live television like that.”
So what if he’s 71 years old, I say let the man host SNL. Mark Hamill’s performance on the sketch show would be an instant classic, and help reinvigorate the franchise in a way only a Jedi could.