In the promotional churn for her new film with Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston let slip to Oprah that she’d once weighed taking a role on Saturday Night Live instead of the Friends pilot. Makes sense that she joined the Friends cast–she’s a Los Angeles actress through and through. But was the offer ever even made?
If we assume, given that Friends began in 1994, that Aniston was being cast for that season, she’d have joined an SNL cast including Mike Myers, Norm MacDonald, and (briefly) Janeane Garofalo. There were only three women on the cast at any time–Molly Shannon came in as Garofalo left, and Morwenna Banks and Ellen Cleghorne served time as well. Does Aniston fit in there? Per the oral history Live from New York, Kudrow tried out for the show in the early 1990s and was rejected–this never came up before now?
Aniston certainly landed on her feet, whatever the true story is–during Friends‘s blockbuster first season, New York ran its infamous “Saturday Night Dead” story. But by now, SNL is such a venerable brand, Lorne Michaels such a once-again-beloved figure, that even the name of the show lends a star a certain cachet. Why host the show when you can say you almost starred on it? NBC representatives were unavailable to comment on the story, but consider Aniston’s answer to the direct question of whether Lorne Michaels offered her a job:
Yeah. I was…you know, I had this show ‘Friends’ coming up, and I thought…yeah…They thought I was making a huge mistake.
Mm, direct! Aniston’s made us think she’s funnier and made us think her career has been a huge success, all while promoting an unfunny-looking comedy that likely won’t improve her career. She’s a genius of self-promotion, if not sketch comedy: no wonder she outlasted Morwenna Banks.
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