Without any doubt, Alec Baldwin is one of the greatest hosts in the history of Saturday Night Live. He’s actually helmed the show a whopping 16 times, more than anyone else. “There’s hardly any live TV anymore,” he says. “And few chances to do some of SNL‘s more nutty material. It’s fun. It’s the most fun.”
It all began back in October of 1990 when Baldwin was promoting The Hunt for Red October. He was 32 at the time, and best known for Beetlejuice, Working Girl and for being an exceptionally good looking man, something they played up in the skit Handsome Actor. Mike Myers plays a Troy McClure-type figure named Lank Thompson who teaches men how to play handsome, just like other early 1990s figures Robert Wagner, Patrick Duffy and David Hasselhoff. Be sure to be on the lookout for a very young Conan O’Brien at the very end.
It was a strong episode, but nobody could have predicted Baldwin was kicking off an incredible hosting run that would eventually surpass SNL legend Steve Martin. They always make a big deal about the “Five Times Club,” but Martin and Baldwin are in the super elite “15 Times or More Club.” John Goodman is one away from joining them, and nobody else is even close.
Baldwin says the vibe in the writers room has changed a bit over the years. “Everything is so much more immediate, so transient, in media now,” he says. “The writers have to make sure that if something breaks in the news on Friday, they have a place for it, even if it’s a monologue or Weekend Update. It’s pretty much always been that way, but now more so.”