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Recently, Saturday Night Live’s Lorne Michaels spoke out about the 4 people who auditioned for SNL that he really regrets not casting. Among these were a few celebrities who we have known have auditioned for the late night sketch series, including Jim Carrey (who auditioned more than once) and Lisa Kudrow. However, during the segment, Michaels also insisted he wished he had hired Steve Carell. Unfortunately, the Foxcatcher and The Office actor never actually auditioned for NBC’s late night series.
Carell actually spoke out about the story and his lack of auditions via Twitter on Thursday, noting it is not as if was averse to auditioning. Instead, he was never asked.
There was another person listed in Lorne’s random musings who also may not have officially tried out for SNL and his name is Stephen Colbert. In fact, according to an old Colbert Report interview between Colbert and SNL and former "Weekend Update" host Seth Meyers, Colbert’s path has never crossed with Lorne’s.
While it seems as if Lorne Michaels is either remembering incorrectly or was just wistfully thinking about people he would have liked to have hired, I actually think there is a third answer that is more likely. It seems as if Lorne Michaels was more clumsy with his explanation than anything else, as Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert were a part of Saturday Night Live.
The two comedians voiced Ace and Gary on “The Ambiguously Gay Duo,” a series of animated shorts that ran as part of TV Funhouse on Saturday Night Live. In addition, Carell’s longtime wife Nancy Carell, then Nancy Walls, was a cast member on the show. In short, Carell and Colbert were around the periphery of SNL for a long time, and if Michaels could do it over again, he likely would have asked them to go the extra mile and become actual cast members. At least that’s the most likely explanation since, by all accounts, the longtime showrunner is still sharp as a tack and probably remembers most of the huge celebrities he foolishly passed on.