The Best SNL Celebrity Host of All Time

Saturday Night Live, or SNL, first hit TV screens in 1975, making it among the most enduring shows in the history of the medium. Creator Lorne Michaels continues to run the show. Some of the original cast went on to become among America’s best-known and most successful comedians. These include John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase. The show continues to launch stars who make successful transitions to movies. The most successful of these was probably Eddie Murphy, who became a movie megastar.

The show also has been remarkably successful for NBC. It draws as many as 10 million viewers every episode. Estimates are that SNL brings in over $100 million in ad revenue per year.

To determine the best SNL host of all time, 24/7 Tempo reviewed audience ratings and other data for all episodes from the IMDb. SNL hosts were ranked based on an index composed of two elements: the average IMDb user rating for all episodes hosted by a guest and the total number of episodes hosted by that guest.

Guest hosts have been comedians, singers, politicians, future presidents, sports figures, actors and reality-show stars. When guest hosts click, it usually is because they are able to poke fun at themselves, are on the same page with the comedy troupe and enjoy the process of doing sketch comedy. The guest hosts also have to understand their role in a sketch and be willing to take chances, no matter how outrageous the skit is.

The best Saturday Night Live celebrity host of all time is Steve Martin. Here are the details:

  • Average episode rating: 7.7/10 (1,389 votes)
  • Appearances as host: 14 (Oct. 23, 1976, to Jan. 31, 2009)
  • Highest-rated episode: S3, Ep18 (with musical guest The Blues Brothers)

In determining the best SNL host of all time, the average user ratings were calculated using the number of user votes as a weight. While the average user rating for each host was given full weight in the index, the number of episodes hosted by each guest was given a half-weighting. IMDb ratings data was collected on December 29, 2021.

Click here to see all the best SNL celebrity hosts of all time.

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