9 Celebrities Who Showed They’re Super Funny by Hosting ‘Saturday Night Live’

Chance the Rapper

When our favorite comedians take the Saturday Night Live stage, we expect them to nail it. But we don’t generally have the same confidence in all SNL guest hosts. 

Politicians, athletes, dramatic actors, singers – they all have something to prove when they agree to host. Some hosts blatantly read the cue cards, while others stumble their way through. Yet some really surprise the audience. Do you think any of these surprisingly humorous hosts join the ranks of the funniest SNL hosts of all time? 

1. Jimmy Breslin

Jimmy Breslin

Date: May 17, 1986

Jimmy Breslin was an influential journalist who won a Pulitzer Prize for his newspaper column that celebrated the working-class New York citizen. 

Even though he was a serious journalist, he seemed comfortable on SNL from the get-go. During his opening monologue, his slightly offset tie set the mood, as did his personal anecdote about growing up going to a Catholic school in Queens. He also realized he probably wasn’t the show’s typical draw: “Look at me now, at my age – going to spend the next 90 minutes groveling in the dust trying to get some rat 19-year-olds to like me.” 

2. Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning

Date: March 24, 2007

Peyton Manning was just coming off his Super Bowl XLI win with the Indianapolis Colts when he hosted SNL in 2007. At the time, his public persona was less goofy than it is today. 

So when he showed he had some funny chops, people ate it up. This was most seen in his “United Way” sketch, which starts with him mentoring young children. However, it quickly takes a turn as Manning begins berating them – ordering one to wait in a port-a-potty as punishment for not catching the ball.

3. Kristen Stewart

Kristen Stewart

Date: February 4, 2017

Kristen Stewart had received plenty of flack for playing the melodramatic, seemingly one-tone Bella in the Twilight series. She was known for her serious roles up to this point, so people didn’t know what to expect when she hosted SNL

She quickly revealed another side of herself by accidentally dropping the f-word in her opening monologue. 

Her best sketch of the night was a digital short in which Vanessa Bayer is making Totino’s pizza rolls for her husband and his football friends. However, when Stewart walks in, they engage in a steamy romance – in the kitchen a few feet behind the football watch party. 

Stewart was so well-received that she was invited to host again in 2019.

4. Chadwick Boseman

Chadwick Boseman

Date: April 7, 2018

In 2018, Black Panther, released two months earlier, had become a global phenomenon. Chadwick Boseman was known as an endearing action star, but how would he do in a live comedic platform? 

He did just fine. One of his most beloved sketches was titled “Black Jeopardy,” in which he reprises his role as the noble T’Challa from the Marvel Cinematic Universe… and has very different answers from his co-contestants, although he catches on as the game continues. This sketch has over 31 million views to date on YouTube. 

To honor Boseman following his death in 2020, SNL re-aired the 2018 episode he hosted

5. Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish

Date: December 11, 2021

People weren’t sure what to expect from first-time host Billie Eilish (also the musical guest) during her hosting debut, when she was 19. With no acting background, how would the award-winning singer do?

She won over everyone as she repeatedly broke character, notably in the “Hotel Ad” sketch with Kate McKinnon, where they each play bland hotel workers. Eilish tells a guest: “You wanted yogurt? Wake up at 4, b*tch.” Her giggles only added to her charm, and the funny sketch has been watched by over 5 million people on YouTube to date. She also played a twerking nurse and a mean Christmas card.

6. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson

Date: March 18, 2000

As of 2022, Dwayne Johnson has hosted SNL five times. But back in 2000, he wasn’t known as “Dwayne Johnson” – he was “The Rock,” in the height of his wrestling career. At the time, the world didn’t know about his acting chops.

Although Johnson’s first hosting gig was more wrestling-centric than later shows, he still proved he could be fun. For example, in his opening monologue, The Rock, who says he’s “not used to working with such small people,” has some of his fellow WWE wrestlers come cheer him on (and give a heartwarming good luck message).

7. Sterling K. Brown

Sterling K. Brown

Date: March 10, 2018

Brown, a celebrated actor, is mostly known for his serious roles, like in This Is Us. So people were interested to see how this dramatic actor would fare on SNL

Brown ended up in one of the funniest SNL live sketches in recent years, titled “Family Dinner.” While meeting his girlfriend’s (Melissa Villaseñor) parents (Aidy Bryant, Beck Bennett), Brown is downright offended when they say Coco is the best animated movie they’ve ever seen. The actor passionately defends Shrek as the best animated movie ever made.

8. Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder

Date: May 7, 1983

Viewers were curious how SNL would handle Stevie Wonder’s hosting gig because when Ray Charles hosted in the ’70s, the episode had been rife with blind jokes (some of them not in great taste). 

The creators seemed to have learned their lesson. In one sketch, Wonder plays a horrible Stevie Wonder impersonator unable to impress an agent played by Eddie Murphy. In another, Murphy plays a hairstylist who is beyond himself with excitement getting to braid Wonder’s hair. 

9. Chance the Rapper

Chance the Rapper

Date: November 18, 2017 

Chance the Rapper wowed the audience at how masterfully he hosted his episode, leading many to call him the best host of the 2017 season. He did such a great job that he was invited back to host in 2019 (it was another highly acclaimed show). 

In his original hosting stint, Chance brought out his musical prowess as well as his acting chops. In one of the live sketches, Chance plays a teenager from a rough neighborhood who attends a food drive at Bruce Wayne’s mansion. When told that Bruce knows Batman, Chance asks if Bruce could tell Batman to “take it easy” on his friends – then goes into regaling the extreme measures Batman uses on crooks: “[Batman] broke my friend’s jaw in two places – and all he did was steal a TV. That’s excessive!”