‘Saturday Night Live’: Bob Odenkirk Revealed How They Pick Hosts – Who’s the ‘Most Burned’ ‘SNL’ Host?

Saturday Night Live writer Bob Odenkirk is famous for more than his writing abilities, but also his tremendous acting ability. The comedian showed an outstanding ability to switch between humor and drama with mastery as Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad and its spinoff, Better Call Saul. Odenkirk once revealed how Saturday Night Live hosts are selected. Additionally, he noted who was the “most burned” potential host of them all.

Bob Odenkirk worked at ‘Saturday Night Live’ for 4 years

'Saturday Night Live' Bob Odenkirk wearing a tuxedo in front of 'SNL' step and repeat. He's pointing his finger out while his other hand is in his pocket.
Bob Odenkirk | Lars Niki/Corbis via Getty Images

Odenkirk first got his start on Saturday Night Live as a writer in 1987. He worked there for four years until 1991. Odenkirk worked alongside the likes of Robert Smigel and Conan O’Brien, as he worked on a variety of sketches for the show. He also starred in some small roles on the show, particularly well-known for a 1990 parody commercial of Bad Idea Jeans. In his final year, he would work with Adam Sandler, David Spade, Chris Rock, and Chris Farley.

Saturday Night Live ultimately wasn’t right for Odenkirk, who left to pursue performing instead. Since the show, his career expanded. He gained the most popularity from Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. However, he also made a presence in feature films. Odenkirk took his acting abilities to Nebraska, The Post, Little Women, and Nobody.

Bob Odenkirk revealed ‘Saturday Night Live’ host selection process

According to James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales’ Live From New York: An Uncensored History Of Saturday Night Live, Odenkirk talked about the host selection. There are always big names hosting the show, but how do they narrow down who to bring onto the show? Odenkirk once revealed that it’s all a process that repeats from one guest host to the next.

“They have a pool of names of potential hosts,” Odenkirk said. “They have a few that are anchored down for one reason or another—they have a movie coming out or whatever—and famous enough. But then, outside of that, for a normal show, two weeks ahead of time they’ve got a pool of names, two or three people, and they ask these people to host the show.”

Odenkirk continued: “And these people say yes or no, or maybe these people all want to host the show, and they’re tentatively scheduled for that week. And then, as the week gets closer, Lorne [Michaels] picks one of them.”

John Candy was the ‘most burned’ host

But, what happens to the other two potential hosts? Odenkirk explained that Saturday Night Live “burns” the other two. As a result, the final stage ultimately cuts a lot of potential hosts out of the running. Odenkirk recalled the potential Saturday Night Live host who was “burned” the most out of any other contender.

“And what happens then is the other two people get burned,” Odenkirk said. “Supposedly John Candy was like the most-burned potential host, in that he would never host the show, because he’d been asked to do it so many times and then told ‘no thanks’ at the last minute by the staff—which is all Lorne.”

Candy is most recognized for his appearances in comedy films such as Spaceballs, Stripes, and Splash. Additionally, he made a dramatic turn in JFK. He would ultimately appear on Saturday Night Live twice, but only host once.

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