‘Ted Lasso’ Star Jason Sudeikis Recalls the Time Chris Rock Hijacked His ‘Saturday Night Live’ Audition

Jason Sudeikis has been getting a ton of attention lately thanks to the return of his critically acclaimed Apple TV+ series Ted Lasso, but the celebrity’s career spans way further. Early on, he made a name for himself with entertaining improv and sketch comedy sets. 

Working on Saturday Night Live was one of his first big breaks, and his success there set the tone for much of his career. 

Unfortunately, when Sudeikis first auditioned for the iconic sketch comedy show, legendary comedian Chris Rock stole all of his thunder. 

A bunch of high profile comedians were at Jason Sudeikis’ ‘SNL’ audition

Jason Sudeikis attends the 88th Annual Academy Awards
Jason Sudeikis attends the 88th Annual Academy Awards | Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Sudeikis recalled his audition for Saturday Night Live during a recent interview with Jimmy Fallon, noting that there were a bunch of successful comedians there. 

“I did sketch and improv … So, it was going up there by yourself,” he said. “And I’m standing there on the sides and I drank — I remember I was drinking a Diet Coke and rum, just to steady my nerves. … And then all of a sudden, Jeff Ross comes walking in.”

Thinking all of the comedians were in attendance to watch the auditions, Sudeikis understandably began to feel a lot of pressure. 

“And I was like, ‘Oh wow, that’s Jeff Ross.’ And then behind him, in comes walking Chris Rock. … So I’m like, ‘Oh, ok, they’re probably coming to see the new talent, the new breed, what have you. … Lorne’s there, and Tina Fey. Steve Higgins was there, and Mike Shoemaker.”

Chris Rock hijacked Jason Sudeikis’ SNL audition

Unfortunately, Sudeikis quickly found out that Rock wasn’t there to watch his set.

“So you have this tribunal that are in the back, and I figured Chris was just going to join them. Then the person ends, and Chris is standing right next to me. … About to go up, I’d just sucked down my rum and Diet Coke,” he said. “And Chris looks up at me, and he’s goes, ‘Oh, hey man.’ I go, ‘Hey.’ He goes, ‘Was this your big shot?’ I go, ‘Uh, kinda.’ He goes, ‘Sorry.’”

Immediately after their interaction, an announcer welcomed Chris Rock to the stage, and the crowd erupted in excitement. 

“The place goes bonkers. Like, legit bonkers. … So he went up, luckily he only did like 15 minutes. They were preparing jokes for the MTV Video Music Awards.”

Chris Rock gave him a bit of advice before he left

Despite the fact that he essentially stole the show from Sudeikis, Rock decided to impart a bit of wisdom on the up-and-coming comedian. 

“And so he comes down, and then he walks by me and he goes, ‘Hey man. Good luck.’ I go, ‘Thank you, I appreciate it.’ And he goes, ‘They love original thought.’ That was his one little sentence of advice,” he said.

Understandably, when it was Sudeikis’ turn to get up on stage he didn’t feel quite prepared. 

“I was like, ‘I have none. I have no thoughts right now,’” he recalled. “And so, then the guy is like, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, Jason Suda-kiss.’ And said my name wrong.”

Season two of Ted Lasso is now playing on Apple TV+. 

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