Saturday, October 08, 2011

Ben Stiller's SNL history

Here are the currently announced hosts on SNL...

Ben Stiller's original cast member photo:

Episode 705; Season 37, Episode 3 (37.3)
   October 8, 2011
   Host: Ben Stiller
   Musical Guest: Foster the People

Episode 706; Season 37, Episode 4 (37.4)
   October 15, 2011
   Host: Anna Faris
   Musical Guest: Drake

TBD (37.TBD)
   December 17, 2011
   Host: Jimmy Fallon
   Musical Guest: Michael Bubl√©

So in honor of Ben Stiller hosting tonight, here is his SNL history...

Ben Stiller: This marks the second time Ben Stiller has hosted. He was first on the show as a guest video cameo (as Tom Cruise in "The Hustler of Money") in 1987, followed it up with a brief stint on the show as a featured player in the 88-89 season (best known for his Eddie Munster).

He left the show a little miffed, probably because he found it hard to get his ideas on air (in the 88-89 season, he was competing against established stars and Emmy nominees like Jon Lovitz, Dana Carvey, Phil Hartman, favorites like Kevin Nealon, Dennis Miller, Al Franken, and future Emmy nominee and star Mike Meyers. It was probably highly competitive and not the best time to get your shtick on the air.

He next tried to start his own show to showcase all the ideas he had, which was the Ben Stiller Show (with Andy Dick, Bob Odenkirk, and future SNL alumni Janeane Garofalo). It only lasted one season, but it won Ben an Emmy and set him up for films. (His Emmy was for writing, and was shared with folks who include Judd Apatow, Bob Odenkirk, and David Cross.)

Ben returned to SNL (forgiving any frustrations, as SNL was a completely different show with different folks running it) about 10 years later to host when Will Ferrell was on (10/4/98). Ben likely was impressed by how funny Will and the current cast was. Ben famously played Tom Cruise again, this time on Celebrity Jeopardy while Jimmy Fallon pulled out his awesome Adam Sandler impression (Sandler was a friend of Stiller's and Judd's, and in Funny People there's a clip of Sandler making crank calls with Stiller and Judd while they were making The Ben Stiller Show).

Stiller must have enjoyed Will Ferrell, because he appeared with him again two years later (2/5/2000) in an Adam McKay short film, The Heat is On (wow; you should see that).

Stiller was set to come back to SNL the following season. However, after 9/11, Stiller and SNL (Marci Klein has spoken of this) disagreed whether or not SNL should go on so soon after the event. Stiller canceled his hosting gig (probably reasoning that it wasn't respectful), but the show producers thought it was the perfect time to be entertained and to "help people" in taht way. So Klein told Stiller off for that, and it was probably a bad experience for Stiller. He didn't return for another 9 years or so (interestingly not until Marci stepped down from Producer to be a Consulting Producer) until guest appearing with his friend Robert Deniro last season on 12/4/10 in two hilarious bits.

So his experience must have been favorable, because he agreed to host this season.

Check out this video with the best of Ben Stiller on SNL:

We're glad to see Stiller back, and we expect it to be a fantastic episode this week! We hope he'll do an SNL Digital Short with Andy Samberg and continue his digital short legacy (since Stiller gave two great contributions already; 1987's Hustler of Money and 2000's Heat is On).

So the heat is on for Stiller's digital short! Watch SNL tonight!


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