As of September of last year, Alec Baldwin has hosted SNL 16 times over an impressive 21-year span and helped create many of the show's most hilarious moments. But rather than discuss his amazing roster of sketches over the years, here's a look at Baldwin's SNL evolution from blazingly handsome young movie star to seasoned film, TV, and comedy veteran via seven of his sixteen opening monologues, from the earliest to most recent:
1. April 21, 1990
(with The B-52’s)
Baldwin made his first SNL appearance in April 1990 a month after the release of his breakout film The Hunt for Red October. For his first monologue, Baldwin says he asked the cast members for live television advice and was told to worry more about charm than jokes, so he greets the audience in different dramatic ways much like the “Lank Thompson’s ‘I’m a Handsome Actor’” sketch he appeared in with Mike Myers in the same episode.
Notable Sketches: Lank Thompson’s “I’m a Handsome Actor,” The Diner
2. February 13, 1993
(with Paul McCartney)
Baldwin returned again in 1993 following his highly acclaimed performance as Blake in 1992’s Glengarry Glen Ross. For his third SNL monologue, he schmoozes cast and crew members with cash, bribing them for “juicy close-ups” and on-demand camera cuts. Lorne Michaels makes a cameo alongside musical guest Paul McCartney.
Notable Sketches: The Gap, French Class
3. December 10, 1994
(with The Beastie Boys)
In 1994, Baldwin joined the Five Timers Club and used his monologue to address critical backlash from the Canteen Boy sketch with Adam Sandler, who joins the stage as the controversial scout. The two introduce their play “Out of the Tent & Proud: A Politically-Correct Version of Canteen Boy,” where Mr. Armstrong asks Canteen Boy for consent to touch his chest, Canteen Boy says no, and Mr. Armstrong respects that decision.
Notable Sketches: The Young and the Youthful, Japanese Game Show
4. December 12, 1998
(with Luciano Pavarotti/Vanessa Williams/Philadelphia Boys Choir & Chorale)
For his 8th visit, Baldwin hosted SNL’s 1998 Christmas episode and is given the Scrooge treatment when a seemingly wasted John Goodman appears as the Ghost of SNL Hosts Present to show him the true meaning of hosting SNL. Then he meets Jimmy Fallon, the Ghost of SNL Hosts Future, and we're treated to a hilarious SNL opening titles sequence for Fallon's hosting gig on December 12, 2011 — a prediction that was awesomely fulfilled last month. No word on the Don Pardo 9000 yet.
Notable Sketches: Delicious Dish, Bill Brasky
5. April 20, 2002
Baldwin hosted for his tenth time in 2002 and shared the stage with Darrell Hammond as Al Gore to recite ”Gore's Seven Steps of Acceptance.” This was Baldwin’s first appearance after splitting with his wife Kim Basinger in 2000 (the two cohosted SNL together in February 1994), and this monologue, with steps like “Get your hands on a mess of fine Tennessee whiskey,” “Grow a beard,” and “Shave the beard; try to grow another, more successful beard,” he found a way to make light of his very publicized divorce.
Notable Sketches: The Tony Bennett Show
6. May 15, 2010
(with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers)
Between April 2002 and May 2010, Baldwin not only hosted SNL another four times (2003, 2005, 2006, and 2009), but he also appeared in The Departed, The Aviator, and 2003's The Cooler, which earned him an Oscar nom for Best Supporting Actor. From 2006 onward he became best known for his role on 30 Rock as NBC executive Jack Donaghy, for which he’s won two Emmys, three Golden Globes, and four Screen Actors Guild Awards. This episode tied him with Steve Martin for most times as SNL host, and Martin makes a brief cameo via satellite. Seeing the show as an alma mater, Baldwin recites the "SNL Commencement Address."
Notable Sketches: Grady Wilson’s Intimate & International, Whistle If You Can, Snipers
7. September 24, 2011
Baldwin returned to host a year later and surpassed Steve Martin as the most frequent host in SNL history. Martin returned to appear, this time in person to test Baldwin for steroids. He brings a medical team to the stage as well as Seth Rogen, his resident expert on drug use. While Baldwin leaves to produce a urine sample, Martin asks Rogen if his appearance counts as another hosting gig, and when Baldwin returns, Martin tests it in a very unusual manner. Aside from a little Cialis, Baldwin comes up clean, and Martin officially passes the torch on to him.
Notable Sketches: All My Children Wrap Party, Who’s On Top?
Here’s to another sixteen episodes!
Megh Wright misses Harrisburg, lives in Brooklyn, and answers phones in Manhattan.