Saturday Night Live has been around for nearly 40 years now; its viewers are loyal and its casts are unforgettable. But it’s not just the stellar group of comedians keeping this show alive, it’s also the guest hosts. The first episode aired in 1975 and was hosted by comedian George Carlin, and the anticipation of seeing who the guest host is each week is something treasured among audiences everywhere. Moreover, it is considered an honor to be chosen for the job. Which means that to be chosen multiple times is an even bigger HONOR. Enter the “Five-Timers club”.
The term was created for a sketch during Tom Hanks’s fifth episode as host and has since been used to define those who have been lucky enough to be repeat hosts, 5 times or more. Let’s take a look at those lucky enough to enter (or remain in) this exclusive club over the last decade.
9. Ben Affleck
Since 2000, Ben has hosted SNL exactly five times, with his most recent appearance on May 18, 2013. It was the season finale, and Ben did a great job with it. He was even humble enough to let the cast make jabs at his awkward Oscar acceptance speech that year. The Oscar theme continued with a sketch inspired by his film Argo, in which Affleck is essentially made fun of for making a film full of historical inaccuracies, “lies and falsehoods”.
8. Paul Simon
Paul is considered to be a part of the five-timers, although he has only technically hosted 4 times. His fifth appearance was as a musical guest, but nonetheless, he has participated in both Five-Timers sketches. He last hosted on May 14 2011. In this long SNL career, Paul has brought some great laughs to the table, including the singing turkey sketch and welcoming Justin Timberlake to the Five-Timers club last year. On a more heartfelt note, he also gave a stellar performance after 9/11, singing “The Boxer” to the firemen and police officers on stage who had witnessed the falling of the twin towers just weeks earlier.
7. Justin Timberlake
Justin Timberlake recently entered the five-timers club when he hosted on December 21st, 2013. The Christmas special was a major hit, and it was great to see real-life buddies Justin and Jimmy Fallon sharing the stage for a few sketches. Honoring his staple sketch characters, Veganville, Homelessville and Omeletville, the singer stole the show with Wrappinville. Dressed as a tube of wrapping paper, he was eventually joined by Jimmy in a shiny gift bag costume. The two then squared off in the “Celebrity Family Feud” sketch. The episode was too much to resist, even Madonna stopped by for a cameo.
6. Drew Barrymore
Drew has the honor of being the most popular female SNL host. In fact, the only other woman in the five-timers club is Candice Bergman, whose last appearance was in 1990. Drew first hosted in 1982, the year of her breakout role in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial at only 7 years old. To date, she has hosted 6 times, with her most recent appearance being October 10th, in 2009. She has done sketches impersonating a number of stars such as Abigail Breslin, Sharon Osbourne, Courtney Love and many more.
5. Christopher Walken
Coming in at lucky number 7 (times, that is) is Christopher Walken. His seventh appearance was on April 5, 2008. His most popular role is probably from the recurring sketch, “The Continental”. Walken stars as The Continental, a self-proclaimed ladies-man who is anything but suave. His social ineptness always gets the audience cracking up, and Walken has even expressed interest in making a Continental movie. The sketch is based on a 1950s series starring Renzo Cesana which has been mocked by many other comedy shows over the years.
Tom has been a host for SNL 8 times between 1985 and 2006. Impressively, he reached the five-times mark five years from his first appearance. It was on that episode that the sketch “Five-Timers club” came to life, coining the term and starting a whole new era of SNL. The sketch opened with a monologue given by Tom. He said, “the first time you do the show, you can’t believe you’re here. You just can’t believe it. Your head buzzes with excitement. The second time you do the show, it means you were funny enough to be asked back – and you’re pushing a movie. The third time you do the show, the second time didn’t go so well, and you have something to prove to yourself. The fourth time you do the show, you’re just blatantly pushing a movie. But the fifth time you do the show is the most special time of all, because you get this.. [ holds up a card ] ..a membership card in the Five-Timers Club.” The acclaimed actor made Xfinity’s list for Best SNL hosts for his willingness to mock his own movies and jump right into his skits.
3. John Goodman
John has hosted SNL 13 times. His first appearance was in 1989, and his most recent was on December 14 2009. His beloved characters on the show include Mighty Mack Blues and Ted. He is also praised for his impressions of classic celebrities such as Elvis Presley, Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro. Although his last episode was not SNL‘s finest, he certainly made a splash with “Last Call”, a skit in which Kate McKinnon licked a whipped cream beard off of John’s face. It is now one of his most memorable moments.
2. Steve Martin
Funny man Steve Martin has not surprisingly been a return host for SNL, with a total of 15 episodes. His most recent appearance was on January 31, 2009. He also holds the record for fastest time to reach the fifth appearance, at 1 year and 181 days. His classic King Tut character song and dance will not be soon forgotten.
1. Alec Baldwin
Five-Timers club record holder, Alec baldwin, has been a guest-host a whopping 16 times over a span of 21 years. His last appearance was on September 24, 2011 and despite his extreme popularity as a host, it is likely to have been the last time. Earlier this year, the actor announced publicly that he intends to remove himself from the public eye and focus on only acting. Apparently, this extends to any and all guest appearance work. While he admits it may not be forever, he certainly feels it is the right move for the forsee-able future. Without a doubt, he will be most missed by SNL fans, and probably even the cast themselves. With so many appearances under his belt, it almost feels as though he is part of the gang.