The Quick Report

These 10 Stars Were Absolutely Terrified to Host SNL

We’re used to seeing a different movie or TV star on Saturday Night Live every week. But while it’s all smiles and giggles onscreen, the gig is incredibly intimidating to even the most experienced performers. Check out these 10 stars of music, TV, and films who were absolutely terrified to host SNL — and how they got through it.

10. Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish on SNL

Billie Eilish hosted SNL’s 2021 holiday episode. She told Howard Stern, “I cried every single day of the week. No joke at all.” She said she didn’t “feel qualified” to perform with the show’s cast. She “actually did throw up” and said “on the plane coming here [and] had crazy sh*ts when I got here like you would not believe.”

9. Sydney Sweeney

Sydney Sweeney on SNL

The twice Emmy-nominated actress said when she hosted SNL in March 2024, “It was so scary my mouth dried up. I am having panic attacks thinking of it.” She added, “I think it’s important to do things that scare you, and the whole SNL experience was challenging and terrifying. I was so scared, but I had so much fun.”

8. James McAvoy

James McAvoy on SNL

James McAvoy has appeared in some pretty horrifying movies, and yet excels in those roles. You think not much scares him. But when he was asked if he was scared to host SNL in 2019, James told Access Hollywood, “Terrified. I might need to go to the bathroom right now.” It probably didn’t help that he came out wearing a kilt.

7. Octavia Spencer

Octavia Spencer on SNL

Thrice-nominated and two-time Oscar-winning actress was frightened to host SNL. Octavia won Oscars for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for The Shape of Water and The Help. On the red carpet of the Academy Awards, she spoke about her upcoming SNL hosting gig, saying, “I’m terrified and I’m excited. I have severe stage fright.”

6. Kristen Stewart

Kristen Stewart on SNL

In an interview with Jimmy Fallon in 2017, Kristen Stewart reportedly said she’d avoided accepting the SNL hosting gig for years. “For six years, I’ve just been being a total wuss about it and then I finally was like, at some point, you just have to bite the bullet, you know? And just fail. It will make you stronger, man.”

5. Lindsay Lohan

Lindsey Lohan on SNL with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler

In 2022, during an interview with Vogue, Lindsay Lohan reminisced about the first time she hosted SNL in 2004. “It’s always so nerve-wracking before you go to do SNL and walk out the first time. And then it becomes more comfortable after, but this time I was really nervous.” She hosted three more times since then, most recently in 2012.

4. Austin Butler

Austin Butler on SNL

Austin Butler shot to fame with his role as The King in 2022’s Elvis, but also starred with Christopher Walken and Timothée Chalamet in Dune: Part Two. Butler admits, “I was so scared” about hosting SNL. He asked the two actors for advice. “And Christopher Walken just said, ‘Just read the cue cards.'”


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3. Courteney Cox

Courtney Cox and Adam Sandler on SNL

Courteney Cox reflected on hosting the show in 1995. She told Howard Stern in 2021, “I was not confident enough to do that show. I mean, now I’d love to do it. I was too young.” She said when she got invited, “I thought, ‘Oh my god, this is huge.’ But I was not experienced enough to do that show.”

2. Timothée Chalamet

Timothee Chalamet on SNL

Nerves struck Timothée Chalamet the second time he hosted SNL in 2023. Backstage, he happened to notice a quote left by Woody Harrelson, who had written “I’m terrified right now.” Chalamet said, “I read that right before, and I was like, ‘Aww man, that makes me feel good. Alright, I’m not the only one that’s scared sh*tless right now.'”

1. Betty White

Betty White on SNL

Considering all the roles — and even live performances — Betty White has done over the years, it’s hard to imagine her feeling skittish about hosting SNL. She got the 2010 gig after being “drafted” through a viral Facebook campaign started by a fan. During the 2018 PBS special for her 80th birthday, Betty revealed she suffered from stage fright before hosting.

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