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Why David Alan Grier Turned Down ‘Saturday Night Live After’ ‘In Living Color’

·2-min read
Randy Holmes/Getty
Randy Holmes/Getty

Three decades after they appeared together on In Living Color, David Alan Grier is now playing Jamie Foxx’s father on their new Netflix sitcom Dad Stop Embarrassing Me!—despite just an 11-year age difference between the two comedy icons.

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On this episode of The Last Laugh podcast, Grier recalls his first impressions of Foxx when he joined that legendary sketch series in its third season and tells some outrageous stories about doing the Super Bowl halftime show, hosting Saturday Night Live twice before turning down a spot in the show’s cast and tackling the rape charges against his one-time mentor Bill Cosby on The Carmichael Show.

“I was never on the hip show, the cool show. Never,” Grier says. “When In Living Color came on, it hit so hard, so immediately, I mean, the reference point for all of us was a Black Saturday Night Live. When Eddie Murphy first blew up, there were rumors that Eddie wanted to do a Black Saturday Night Live. So In Living Color was actually that. I remember coming down in this green room we had downstairs and everybody was down there. The coolest, hippest, most famous people. So it was a real buzz, man. And after all those years of working, I was finally on this cool show, this hip show.”

Then, Grier reveals, “NBC came and they offered me a spot on SNL. This was after In Living Color. They said, will you join the cast? But for me, it was like, when you’re the host, you call all the shots. So I said, I can’t be in front of the cast and then six months later I’m behind the cast. Like, ‘Isn’t that the dude that was hosting like nine months ago?’ Also, after doing In Living Color, I wanted to do a different kind of show. So I didn’t do it, but I still go and see people on SNL and visit and Lorne [Michaels] and those guys are so gracious.”

“I remember after my first time hosting, Lorne called me in his office and he said, ‘David, I want you to think of SNL like your second home. It’s a lot like our relationship that we had with Steve Martin or Tom Hanks,’” he recalls. “Inside my brain’s exploding. And after that, I never heard from Lorne.”

Listen to the episode now and subscribe to ‘The Last Laugh’ on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Amazon Music, or wherever you get your podcasts and be the first to hear new episodes when they are released every Tuesday.

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