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December 11th, 2002

The Worst SNL Guest Ever

I’m an off-and-on SNL fan… I’ve been on more often than off, but I can certainly acknowledge their bad episodes and frequently bad skits, even among their more clever sketches (ie. anything that doesn’t star Chris Kattan). This past weekend, though, was the worst appearance by a guest star—certainly in recent memory—and perhaps ever. Who was this world famous movie star?

Robert DeNiro.

Despite the talent that DeNiro has on the big screen, apparently he has a lot of trouble memorizing lines for sketch comedy. He was constantly staring just below the camera (presumably at cue cards) and flubbed his lines so frequently, it was getting embarassing to watch. His characters were mere cardboard cutouts of his own bigger-than-life personality. If it wasn’t for the amusing writing on “Bedtime Story” and Norah Jones’ surprisingly sublime performances, I wouldn’t hesitate to label this as the worst SNL in the last three years. Damn, DeNiro, even John McCain looked more comfortable and prepared than you…

What are your all time favorite “worst moments” on SNL?

Posted in Television, Movies, and Music

FROM: Greg
DATE: Wednesday December 11, 2002 -- 9:41:22 am
I saw DeNiro on "Inside the Actor's Studio". Compared to other guests I have seen (Robin Willaims, Harrison Ford, Kevin Costner, and others) DeNiro was bland, boring, and hesitant when answering questions. I guess his best work can only be done with the magic of a director and editor.

FROM: Paul
DATE: Wednesday December 11, 2002 -- 9:43:37 am
I must admit that I, too, watched SNL this past weekend. Jeani and I watch with the hope that some week, the show will suddenly be entertaining and funny. This week's was very, very bad.

DeNiro wasn't entertaining. Most of the sketches seemed to be written in the Man Show vibe, and all of them had the SNL mark: they went on way too long.

FROM: Greg C
DATE: Wednesday December 11, 2002 -- 1:49:26 pm
DeNiro may have been boring, may have been bad, but he was NOT the worst guest ever on SNL...

Louise Lasser was the worst guest, back in 1979. She was stoned the entire show and could barely remember her lines, so she ad-libbed most of them, and not very well.

They repeated this episode recently on E!. It was pretty sad.

Those E! reruns are great, a nice little piece of history there.

FROM: Greg C
DATE: Wednesday December 11, 2002 -- 1:58:36 pm
OOPS, I almost forgot my favorite SNL "worst moment"...

1980... things were bleak, the cast sucked, the writing sucked, and everyone thought it would be the end of the show. The biggest show on TV at the time was Dallas, right at the height of the "Who Shot JR" thing.

The host was Charlene Tilton, and the running gag for the entire show was that all the cast members had something against Charles Rocket. In the middle, Rocket gets shot, so it becomes "Who Shot Charles Rocket".

I forget who shot him, but at the end of the show, when the cast were mulling around onstage saying goodnight, the stage director motioned to Charlene Tilton to pad.

Charlene looked down to Charles Rocket, who was sitting in a wheelchair, and said, "So Charles, what was it like to be shot?"

Rocket responded with, I swear, "It's all fucked up."

Of course, he was talking about the entire 1980 season. Rocket was fired along with most of the cast, and the show became revitalized in 1981, when a small player by the name of Eddie Murphy got to step up.

If you can find it, you guys should read a book called Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live by Doug Hill & Jeff Weingrad. It's a WONDERFUL book that covers the entire history up until about 1985.

FROM: Robert [E-Mail]
DATE: Wednesday December 11, 2002 -- 5:56:09 pm
SNL was at it's best when it was just the National Lampoon stage cast with a different name.

Another great book of SNL history is MR MIKE by [damn, I can't remember the author's name]. It's a bio of Michael O'Donoghue, the show's first head writer (and NatLamp alum).

FROM: Matt
DATE: Thursday December 12, 2002 -- 12:36:57 am
I think he is very overhyped in terms of acting abilities etc. Sure he's done some good films, but for the past 20 years he's played the same character. I happened to watch a portion of the snl episode and turned it off because it just wasn't funny.

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday December 12, 2002 -- 9:13:40 am
Agreed, Matt. It's gotten to the point that, like Ebert and Roeper said last week, DeNiro is just playing DeNiro in his movies now.

FROM: Dave Walls
DATE: Saturday December 28, 2002 -- 12:31:53 pm
I think Al Gore was pretty bad, too..I mean, I didnt expect much from Al Gore, but good Lord...Political guests usually make pretty bad episodes (Although McCain wasn't half bad, but still...)

FROM: Frank Russel
DATE: Sunday February 16, 2003 -- 1:26:41 am
The worst host ever was George Foreman (12-94). I don't blame him as much as the writers. The skits were horrible. Did anybody else see it?

FROM: mike
DATE: Wednesday February 26, 2003 -- 2:12:23 pm
I thought the episode with steve forbes was pretty bad he seemed like a cardboard cut out and most of the skits werent that funny except for the unibomber opening skit.

FROM: Trish Conklin, co-host of Baltimore\'s \'Bad Clams\'
DATE: Friday April 11, 2003 -- 2:50:14 pm
Actually, though your description of the Charlene Tilton episode is mostly accurate, what Charles Rocket really says at the end is, "I don't know, it's the first time I've ever been shot in my life. I'd like to know who the fuck did it." Followed by gasps and childish giggles from the cast and guests (including a pre-fame Prince and Don King). The reactions are priceless. Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo, who had feared cancellaion for most of the season, sort of smile and look at each other as if, "Well, that's it." All in all, a classic episode, even if it is mostly for the wrong reasons.

BTW, we never find out, "Who shot CR?"

FROM: Robert Crocker
DATE: Thursday May 15, 2003 -- 2:10:56 pm
I saw on Comedy Central a re-run of SNL from April 97 and as a surprise guest "Bob" DeNiro accompanied by Joe Pesci crashed Jim Bruer's skit of "the Joe Pesci Show". DeNiro during the crash looked meek and unreponsive to Pesci's questions, it could have been alill-bit better Robbie!

FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Monday April 5, 2004 -- 9:18:57 am
I agree with Ryan, Donald Trump sucks as a SNL host. I don't think he can take all the responsibility for the bad show. In all but one sketch he was in, he played...Donald Trump. What a stretch. There were two Apprentice spoofs. Two? I cant ever remember having two of any kind of sketch in the same show. Two "Coffee Talk"'s? Two "Church Chat"'s? Doesn't make sense..

That said, Donald J needs to brush up on the skills a little bit. He looked like he was just there to make the little pouty face he does. Don't even get me started on Trump pretending to play the keyboard. Laaaaaame.

Whether or not this could have been helped, I dunno. Donald Trump is one of those guys like Robert Deniro who, no matter what character they could be playing, you'd look at him and go "That's Donald Trump!". I just wish some kind of effort would have been made to let Trump try being someone else. Even if it had crashed and burned, it still would have been an attempt.

That said, I did laugh at "Donald Trump's House of Wings". It was good to see him take a shot at his own pompous boastings. Calling a restaraunt that was made from an old Meineke shop "The most important thing I've ever done"? That was funny.

FROM: red foreman
DATE: Thursday August 19, 2004 -- 8:41:47 pm
yall r assholes i would like to see u fuckers get on snl yall fuckers cant even act soo shut ur ass bitches peace out

FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday August 19, 2004 -- 10:44:09 pm
That's funny, my agent says I'm a pretty good actor.

Plus, I can spell beeeeeeeeyatch! One word: punctuation.

FROM: Luis
DATE: Sunday September 11, 2005 -- 10:36:30 am
There are really not a lot good things to be said about "Bob" DeNiero's performance on TV on the last few years. The man has been acting ever since my father was firering up nukcle babies back in his college room. OK, he sucked on SNL, but he have to give him credits for all the other great films he has provided us. by the way the worst cast os SNL was when Anthony michael hall, Robert Donnei JR, Damond Wayans, and Randy Quain. gash tehy all sucked together..

FROM: Sammy Reed
DATE: Tuesday September 13, 2005 -- 1:05:56 am
I'm surprised no one mentioned Ashlee here yet.

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday September 13, 2005 -- 9:39:39 am
She was only the musical guest, though, not the main guest. (Right?)

FROM: Sammy Reed
DATE: Tuesday September 13, 2005 -- 12:32:27 pm
I wasn't thinking about what kind of guest she was. I just gave a "worst guest". I wouldn't know who the worst host was, although there were some of those that had me wondering how they got to be there.

FROM: duff
DATE: Tuesday January 24, 2006 -- 4:33:21 am
Lately, the guests have been the only reason to watch. Eva Longoria's episode looked almost like it might save the show (with the help of cast newcomer Bill Hader): "Vincent Price's Halloween Special" is sure to be a classic skit. Otherwise, the cast has become so off-cue that it is no longer relevant to wonder who the worst guest is. I hope that changes ...

DATE: Sunday June 18, 2006 -- 2:23:57 pm
A lot of good bad hosts there. Many people have pointed out that political figures make bad hosts. I actually think McCain and Gore did a good job. Gore did a sketch where he was Willy Wonka's older brother that was kind of great. It was well-written, at least. If you dig deep, you may recall that Ralph Nader was a host in the Seventies before he was a political force of any kind at all... just a Consumer Crusader. And his performance was terrible.

I can't forget the Angelica Huston/Billy Martin debacle either. And then there are entire years where the Hosts try their best in horribly written sketches and your heart goes out to them, but it's just awful. I've found that asking someone what the best year of SNL was gives a pretty reliable indication of when their Junior year in college was... they'd moved out of the dorms to a run-down house near campus with three friends, somebody made waffles every morning, every saturday they fired up the bong...

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