‘Saturday Night Live’: Tom Hanks Revealed His Secret to Being the Best Host

Saturday Night Live welcomed actor Tom Hanks to the show on several occasions in different roles. Hosting the comedy sketch show is intimidating for many folks, but he ultimately settled right into the hectic environment. Hanks once explained his secret to what makes the very best Saturday Night Live host, and it’s something that he put a lot of work into over the course of his time on the show.

Tom Hanks hosted ‘Saturday Night Live’ 10 times

'Saturday Night Live' host Tom Hanks holding up 9 fingers, wearing a navy blue suit and a black collared shirt on the stage.
Tom Hanks | Will Heath/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Hanks hosted his first Saturday Night Live at 29 years old, but it would be far from his last time. The actor returned to host the show another nine times, bringing his total to 10 hosting gigs as of his appearance in 2020. As a result, he’s a part of the Five-Timers Club, which contains those who hosted the show at least five times. Saturday Night Live audiences and his peers love to see the legendary actor take the stage, as he has a delivery that is so unique to him.

The actor clearly has a love for the show, as he returned to do more than host. Hanks returned to the sketch show in cameo appearances nine times between 2001 and 2021. His characters include Girl Watcher, Jeff Morrow, Paul, Uri Shulenson, and David S. Pumpkins. Additionally, some of the cast members imitated Hanks on the show.

Tom Hanks said the ‘Saturday Night Live’ monologue is what makes or breaks a great host

According to James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales’ Live From New York, Hanks’ “The Five-Timers Club” is one of his favorite Saturday Night Live sketches. He finally felt comfortable hosting the show because he discovered the “secret” of what makes the best person for the part. Hanks explained that the most important thing is to “concern yourself only with the monologue.”

“Because if you have a good monologue, everybody thinks the entire show was great,” Hanks said. “If you have a poor monologue, it means you have to go and win back the favor of the people who are watching at home. So by the fifth time, I was like pushing for something slam dunk. We must have a magnificent monologue. And I think Lorne said, ‘Well, why don’t we do something like, you get to join a select club?’ And that was that.”

Hanks further told Miller and Shales that he felt like he was joining a group of legends and had a great time filming the sketch.

He had a ‘blast’ returning to the show

Hanks also acknowledged to Miller and Shales that he became more comfortable on Saturday Night Live as he made more appearances. The more hosting gigs he did, the more of a “blast” he had taking part in the sketch comedy show.

“It’s a one-week performance camp where everybody’s operating from a sense of just incredible amounts of glee and manic energy as well as vast amounts of fear and flop sweat,” Hanks said. “That’s Saturday Night Live, and there is absolutely nothing else like it.”

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