NCIS: New Orleans' Scott Bakula Recalls That Time He Bombed An SNL Audition With The Worst Joke

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Saturday Night Live has been a television institution for 46 seasons now, so it's pretty easy to imagine that tons of hopefuls have auditioned for the sketch comedy series over its dozens (upon dozens) of years on the air. Of course, many of those hopefuls didn't quite make the cut, but did go on to have successful careers without appearing on the show. It turns out that one such person who tried out was current NCIS: New Orleans star Scott Bakula, and he recalled the time he bombed his SNL audition with the worst joke.

While those of us who know Scott Bakula as Dwayne Pride on NCIS: New Orleans might have a hard time seeing the actor as one of the players on Saturday Night Live, it's easy to see why anyone who had the opportunity would audition for the show. Unfortunately, when Bakula got his shot, he didn't do as well as, I'm sure, he'd hoped, and ended up bombing with the worst joke. Listen to him explain what happened during his appearance on Arsenio Hall's revamped talk show during its 2013-2014 season, which was posted recently by The Saturday Night Project:

Ooof. This sounds, well, just terrible, right? As Scott Bakula admitted, his experience of auditioning for SNL went so badly that it was something he didn't even speak about publicly, which sounds like what a lot of us would have done, had we so completely bombed an important moment like this. Like he said, though, he's not even a comedian, and also may not have had much experience as an improv or sketch performer, so he was likely already fighting an uphill battle by trying out for the show when what they do weekly wasn't really a part of his skill set, anyway.

So, I think we all need to admire Scott Bakula's determination to try a difficult thing and step out of his comfort zone. And, you know, once we've done that we can cringe along with him at how truly terrible his audition idea was. To be completely honest, I am shocked that anyone in Arsenio Hall's audience even laughed. It would seem that there were other people who knew to what Bakula was referring in that audition when he said he sang a play on the song, "They Call the Wind Maria," because I can totally admit that I did not.

The song was written for and performed in a 1951 Broadway musical, Paint Your Wagon, which had a 1969 film version starring Clint Eastwood. At any rate, the song was very popular, and at least a part of Bakula's audition focused on him singing the song and just calling the wind "the wind." I do wonder why he had to tie himself to the doorknob, though. Was he also miming the fact that it was so windy he needed to be tied to something to stay on the ground while singing? That sounds...even worse, doesn't it?

Obviously, Scott Bakula didn't get the gig on SNL, but that's OK. If he had, we may not have gotten the Dr. Sam Beckett in Quantum Leap we all deserved, or the Captain Jonathan Archer we needed in Star Trek: Enterprise. Who knows? Maybe bombing his SNL audition was the actual thing which, somehow, led to those other amazing opportunities for Scott Bakula, and that's a very good thing.

NCIS: New Orleans will end with its current season, but you can watch Scott Bakula solve crimes until the Season 7 finale on CBS, Sunday, May 23, at 10 p.m. EST.

Adrienne Jones
Senior Content Creator

Yennefer's apprentice, Gilmore Girl; will Vulcan nerve pinch pretty much anyone if prompted with cheese...Yes, even Jamie Fraser.