Why Kevin Hart Was Not Hired By Saturday Night Live

At some point in the future, I think that botched Saturday Night Live auditions will be used as global currency, given how many stories have come out over the years. We recently got to hear about how terrible Will Ferrell’s audition went, and now his Get Hard co-star Kevin Hart has opened up about how a terrible impression kept him out of the SNL annals. Just in case you thought it was because he didn’t make enough over-exaggerated facial expressions.

Hart continued his late night promotional campaign with a stop by Conan, where host Conan O’Brien expressed disbelief that the mega-star could ever have been passed over by the long-running sketch series. And that’s when Hart proved just how important an audition’s subject matter can be.

First of all, I know when you say you can’t believe it, of course, because of my success now, but if you had seen this tape, you would understand why I didn’t get it. I did an impression of Avery Johnson. I did an impression of a person that nobody knew.

Sports fans, particularly those invested in the NBA, will know the name Avery Johnson, as he was a player on multiple teams over a 16-year career, most notably with the Dallas Mavericks and the San Antonio Spurs, and he later went on to coach the Mavericks and the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets. But regardless of how familiar he might be on the court, he definitely doesn’t have much of a place at a comedy audition, and here’s how Hart said it went.

I remember Lorne Michaels looking at me, and he was like, ‘Mmhmm. Okay.’ He didn’t say he didn’t know who that was, but I could tell he definitely didn’t know. And I just said, ‘I’ma pass the ball to David Robinson.’ That was it.

For the record, here’s Hart’s “Lorne Michaels” face, which is more of a success than his audition.


Though it obviously didn’t bode well for him, I love the fact that Hart only threw out one line for it, rather than hooking the impression to a comedic scenario. Granted, it was a pretty good impression, even years later on Conan, but I’m hard-pressed to think of ANY job that he could have gotten with that single line. Thankfully, Hart did make his way to the SNL stage as a host on two occasions, in 2013 and 2015.

Check out the whole Conan bit in the video below.

If you want to hear what Avery Johnson actually sounds like, head here to see one of the more uncomfortable press conference moments ever. In the meantime, you can find Get Hard in theaters this weekend.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.