Phil Hartman’s SNL audition

Watching Phil Hartman’s audition tape for Saturday Night Live is such a bittersweet experience. Mostly sweet. To know that you don’t have to be a kid to get your big break in show business — Hartman was 38 when he joined the cast of SNL. To see the precision, vision and versatility in his audition — even though it’s hack now to do Jack Nicholson, Hartman still found a way a generation ago to make his takes seem unique and fresh, even when you watch them now. To see his friend, Jon Lovitz, lend a hand — Lovitz joined SNL in 1985, Hartman in 1986 — and gain a deeper appreciation for Lovitz stepping in at NewsRadio after Hartman got killed by his wife in 1998. Watch Hartman make the most of his SNL moment:

Related: A YouTube tribute to Phil Hartman’s voice work on The Simpsons.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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8 thoughts on “Phil Hartman’s SNL audition

  1. This is great. I was too young to see him originally on SNL but I loved Newsradio as a kid and definitely dig all the characters I’ve seen him play on snl reruns. I love seeing huge stars before they got famous.

  2. oh, i do miss his work. to me, he was the biggest talent on snl at the time. his humor was subtle, and his impressions right on. rest in peace.

  3. That was freakin great. What talent. Oh man, he married the wrong woman. On SNL, when Phil was shown at the intro, the woman with the swinging huge earring is her. She wanted her face in the shot, and finally swung her head back to look at Phil. I wish them both to RIP. Life itself is a tragedy

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