Saturday Night Live (SNL) is a late-night sketch comedy and variety show created by Lorne Michaels. It premiered on NBC, a terrestrial television network, on October 11, 1975 under the title NBC's Saturday Night. The show usually satirizes contemporary American popular culture and politics. SNL features a two-tiered cast: the repertory members, also known as the "Not Ready for Prime-Time Players", and newer cast members, known as "Featured Players."
A typical episode of SNL will feature a single host, who delivers the opening monologue and performs in sketches with the cast. While the format also features a musical guest, and a number of episodes have featured celebrity cameos, the focus of the show is the guest host.
George Carlin was the first to host the show; Candice Bergen was the first woman to host the show a few weeks later and again hosted only six weeks after that. Guests that host five times (or more) are members of the Five-Timers Club that originated on December 8, 1990, when Tom Hanks became the seventh person to host their fifth episode. Occasionally, a host will also be the musical guest, such as first seen with Paul Simon on October 18, 1975, and most recently, Harry Styles on November 16, 2019.
Saturday Night Live has featured a wide array of hosts and musical guests. George Carlin served as the show's first host in October 1975; three episodes later, Candice Bergen became the first female host and the first to host more than once. Actor Alec Baldwin holds the record for most times hosting, having performed the duty on seventeen occasions since 1990; Baldwin took the record from actor Steve Martin who has hosted fifteen times since 1976.
Several former cast members have returned to take on hosting duties. Original cast member Chevy Chase has hosted the most times, eight in total. Tina Fey follows behind, having hosted six times, while Bill Murray and Will Ferrell have hosted five times. On December 11, 1982, Eddie Murphy became the only person to host while still a member of the cast, filling the role at the last minute when the scheduled host (his 48 Hours co-star Nick Nolte) became ill.
Musical guests can be solo acts or bands, who perform two to three musical numbers. Occasionally, the musical guest has also simultaneously served as the host. Paul Simon was the first example, hosting and performing on the second episode on October 18, 1975. As of December 16, 2017, Dave Grohl is the most frequent musical guest, performing on thirteen shows since 1992.
In 1982, at age 7, Drew Barrymore became the youngest person to host the show. Actress Betty White is the oldest person to host, having done so at 88 years of age on May 8, 2010. Concerned about White's age and possible fatigue, her episode had Tina Fey, Molly Shannon, Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch and Amy Poehler on standby to replace her; White went on to appear in every sketch. In 2000, singer Britney Spears became the youngest person to both host and simultaneously serve as the show's musical guest, at 18 years and 161 days old.
In addition to making cameo appearances, political figures have also hosted the show. Donald Trump, who hosted in 2004 (promoting the reality TV show The Apprentice) and again in 2015 as a presidential hopeful, is the only host who eventually became President of the United States. Al Gore hosted in 2002, the only former vice president to do so. Presidential candidates, either former, current, or future, have served as hosts: in addition to Trump and Gore, there was Ralph Nader (1977), Jesse Jackson and George McGovern (both 1984), Steve Forbes (1996), Rudy Giuliani (1997), John McCain (2002), and Al Sharpton (2003). Although not a host, Sarah Palin appeared on SNL in 2008 after weeks of Tina Fey doing impressions of her on the show. In more recent years, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have both appeared on the show during their presidential campaigns, in 2016 and 2020, respectively.
The Five-Timers Club is the group of performers who have hosted SNL at least five times.SNLs first on-air mention of the Club occurred on December 8, 1990 when Tom Hanks in his monologue, touched upon the fact that it was his fifth appearance as host:
Believe it or not, this is the fifth Saturday Night Live I have been lucky enough to host. Now, the first time you do the show, you can't believe you're here. You just can't believe it. Your head buzzes with excitement. The second time you do the show, it means you were funny enough to be asked back - and you're pushing a movie. The third time you do the show, the second time didn't go so well, and you have something to prove to yourself. The fourth time you do the show, you're just blatantly pushing a movie. But the fifth time you do the show is the most special time of all, because you get this [holds up a card] ...a membership card in the Five-Timers Club. Come with me... [walks off the stage] I'm gonna give you a chance to look in on one of the most exclusive clubs in the world.
After Hanks delivers his monologue, the show segued to a sketch featuring Hanks, Steve Martin, Elliott Gould, and Paul Simon in the richly appointed club. Martin and Gould were both five-time hosts; Simon had only hosted four episodes, but was accepted as a member due to his numerous appearances as a musical guest. The Five-Timers Club was mentioned to have a swimming pool with perfect 80 degree waters. The food that is served there is named after SNL performers. Then-Saturday Night Live writer Conan O'Brien portrayed Sean, the doorman of the club. Jon Lovitz appears as a club waiter. Ralph Nader appears as a former SNL host trying to get into the Five-Timers Club only for Lovitz to tell him and his group to leave.
The second time the Five-Timers Club was mentioned was when Danny DeVito was inducted in 1993. The club was mentioned again after the mark was reached by hosts John Goodman (1994), Alec Baldwin (1994), Christopher Walken (2001), Drew Barrymore (2007), Justin Timberlake (2013), Ben Affleck (2013), Scarlett Johansson (2017), Melissa McCarthy (2017), Dwayne Johnson (2017), and Jonah Hill (2018).
Justin Timberlake's monologue from March 9, 2013 featured the reappearance of the richly appointed club. The sketch features Paul Simon, Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Alec Baldwin, Tom Hanks, and Candice Bergen. There were portraits of John Goodman and Drew Barrymore in the Five-Timers Club's Hall of Portraits. The staff at the Five-Timers Club are former cast members, with Dan Aykroyd (1975-79) and Martin Short (1984-85) appearing as the club's bartender and waiter, respectively. Future cast member Mike O'Brien makes an appearance as the doorman who greets Timberlake. The entertainment at the Five-Timers Club involves making the current SNL performers fight each other to the death, with Bobby Moynihan shown fighting Taran Killam. When Melissa McCarthy hosted the show for the fifth time, Five-Timers Club member Steve Martin appeared in the goodnights to welcome her to the club. When Dwayne Johnson hosted the show for the fifth time, fellow five-timers Baldwin and Tom Hanks appeared in the monologue to welcome him to the club.
On November 3, 2018, the club is seen again as part of the monologue of actor/director Jonah Hill. He is taken there by Five-Timer Tina Fey (her first appearance in the lounge). Once in, he is greeted by Candice Bergen and Drew Barrymore. Seeing no men in the club, Hill wonders if it's "Ladies Night." He is told by Fey that the other men "are not allowed in right now" because of presumed harassment problems. Kenan Thompson, working as staff that night, brings Bergen a drink called a "Pete Davidson." Hill is surprised to see Thompson there wondering if he is occasionally allowed in, to which Thompson replies, "Yeah, man, this is my show. I let you in here sometimes," referencing Thompson's long tenure on the show. Eventually, Thompson brings Hill his jacket, which has been re-designed by the women in a more feminine cut.
Steve Martin was the fastest to join the Five-Timers club, hosting five times in only 546 days. Buck Henry is the only other member to join in less than four years, hosting five times in 671 days, although, in keeping with his persona on the show of being an undesirable or boring host, is said not to have been told about the club itself.
The following people are members of the Five-Timers Club.
|First appearance||Fifth appearance||Time to reach club||Most recent hosting appearance|
|Ben Affleck||5||February 19, 2000||May 18, 2013||13 years, 88 days||May 18, 2013|
|Alec Baldwin||17||April 21, 1990||December 10, 1994||4 years, 233 days||February 11, 2017|
|Drew Barrymore||6||November 20, 1982||February 3, 2007||24 years, 75 days||October 10, 2009|
|Candice Bergen||5||November 8, 1975||May 19, 1990||14 years, 192 days||May 19, 1990|
|Chevy Chase ||8||February 18, 1978||December 6, 1986||8 years, 291 days||February 15, 1997|
|Danny DeVito||6||May 15, 1982||January 9, 1993||10 years, 239 days||December 11, 1999|
|Will Ferrell||5||May 14, 2005||November 23, 2019||14 years, 193 days||November 23, 2019|
|Tina Fey||6||February 23, 2008||December 19, 2015||7 years, 299 days||May 19, 2018|
|John Goodman||13||December 2, 1989||May 7, 1994||4 years, 156 days||December 14, 2013|
|Elliott Gould||6||January 10, 1976||February 16, 1980||4 years, 37 days||November 15, 1980|
|Tom Hanks||10||December 14, 1985||December 8, 1990||4 years, 359 days||April 11, 2020|
|Buck Henry||10||January 17, 1976||November 19, 1977||1 year, 306 days||May 24, 1980|
|Jonah Hill||5||March 15, 2008||November 3, 2018||10 years, 233 days||November 3, 2018|
|Scarlett Johansson||6||January 14, 2006||March 11, 2017||11 years, 56 days||December 14, 2019|
|Dwayne Johnson||5||March 18, 2000||May 20, 2017||17 years, 63 days||May 20, 2017|
|Steve Martin||15||October 23, 1976||April 22, 1978||1 year, 181 days||January 31, 2009|
|Melissa McCarthy||5||October 1, 2011||May 13, 2017||5 years, 224 days||May 13, 2017|
|Bill Murray||5||March 7, 1981||February 20, 1999||17 years, 350 days||February 20, 1999|
|Paul Simon||4[a][b]||October 18, 1975||May 10, 1986||10 years, 204 days||December 19, 1987|
|Justin Timberlake||5[c]||October 11, 2003||March 9, 2013||9 years, 149 days||March 9, 2013|
|Christopher Walken||7||January 20, 1990||May 19, 2001||11 years, 119 days||April 5, 2008|
a Simon has only guest-hosted four times but has been included in both Five-Timers Club sketches. The show credits him as co-host of the 100th episode even though a host is not officially credited in the opening sequence. His fifth appearance on the show was as a musical guest.
b Out of his four appearances as host, Simon acted as both host and musical guest during one episode.
c Out of his five appearances as host, Timberlake acted as both host and musical guest during three episodes.
The Five-Timers Club has been referenced in other media since its creation in 1990:
Just a few weeks ago he did a rousing song-and-dance number during his opening monologue on Saturday Night Live, on which he has the distinction of being in the 'Five-Timers Club' of celebrities who have hosted the show five times or more. (He's hosted six.)