As so many Saturday Night Live cast members have come and gone over the show’s 39-year history, even more have the experience of being rejected by the show. If it ever happens to you, cheer up, because many SNL rejects have gone on to great things. Steve Carell didn’t pass the audition, while his wife did. Paul Reubens was so disappointed by the rejection that he came up with Pee Wee’s Playhouse. And how could Lorne Michaels overlook the talent in Jim Carrey? Hint: he didn’t.
Hollywood’s original $20 Million Man was rejected more than once by SNL. The first time was in 1980, when—citing burnout—Lorne Michaels asked to take a year off. He thought that the show would go on hiatus with him, but the network bumped associate producer Jean Doumanian into Michaels’ position to keep the show going. Her first order of business? Shake up the cast a bit. Carrey auditioned, but Doumanian hired Charlie Rocket instead. So he tried again, but again got a “no.” Michaels isn’t taking the blame for this oversight. In the book Live from New York, he says that “Jim Carrey never auditioned for me personally.”
To be honest, Doumanian had no choice but to shake the cast up, because the Not Ready for Prime Time Players all left when Michaels did. But that’s just one story of 32 SNL rejects who went on to make a name for themselves in movies and TV anyway that you can read at mental_floss.
(Image credit: Roypack)