Every Saturday night, households around the country tune into Saturday Night Live for laughs and good vibes. And with 49 seasons under its belt, it's hard to deny the two things that people routinely tune in for: the hilarious comedy sketches and to see their favorite celebrities get on the Studio 8H stage as that week's hosts.
Over the years, we've seen many famous faces grace our TV screens, from Timothée Chalamet to NFL star Travis Kelce after he won the 2023 Super Bowl. What's more, we've seen the hosts debut characters that suddenly recur months later, like Pedro Pascal playing the protective mom. But as more and more celebrities hit our screens every week, some fans may be wondering how SNL is able to get the stars to host in the first place. Even more so, they might be wondering if they even get paid at all to be a part of the show.
While the answer may not be too obvious, we do have one major SNL player that gave insight into the subject.
Do SNL Hosts Get Paid?
While Good Housekeeping didn't receive a comment from NBC about whether SNL hosts get paid per episode, one former host shared a surprise detail on the subject. According to The Sun, five-time host Justin Timberlake hinted to Entertainment Tonight that he received $5,000 to be the face of that week's episode.
"This was my third time to host and obviously I've done some appearances here and there when I'm in town," he explained at the time. "I really do adore the cast and the writers and everyone there. And it's … you know … it's a great opportunity for an entertainer like myself to... it's the best minimum… It's the best five grand you can make on television. It's awesome."
Additionally, SNL's creator Lorne Michaels also clued people into how much hosts made back when the show started in October 1975. Per Looper, the show used to hold a contest called "Anyone Can Host," giving viewers the chance to be a part of SNL in a unique way at the time.
"The lucky winner will be flown to New York, put up at the swank Essex House Hotel, and get to meet and work with the Not Ready for Prime Time Players," he said at the time. "And you'll be paid the same $3,000 we pay any other host — or even the Beatles, if only they'd show up." Today, that would equal around $17,000.
As far as the permanent SNL cast members' salaries go, the amount varies. According to The Independent, cast members like Pete Davidson have made $15,000 per episode, while those like Kate McKinnon and Cecily Strong reportedly earned $25,000 every week.
But as many celebrity hosts know, being on SNL is a true feather in your cap, and therefore, priceless.
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