Phil Hartman’s Audition For Saturday Night Live

Thanks to the wonders of Facebook and the Intertubes, this evening I discovered the audition tape that the late, great Phil Hartman did for Saturday Night Live:

Along with Robin Williams, this was another great comedic genius silenced far too soon.

And while others will disagree, this will always be my favorite Phil Hartman SNL skit:

FILED UNDER: Entertainment, Humor, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. bill says:

    nice doug!

  2. Neil Hudelson says:

    I do disagree that is his best (although it’s definitely in the top 5). I’ll always love his Ronald Reagan sketch the best. It perfectly captures how both sides felt about Reagan–that he was a bumbling idiot, or a foreign policy mastermind, controlling the world like a puppeteer.

  3. sam says:

    I suspect that most folks don’t know that before Hartman was a famous comedian, he was a fine graphic artist who designed many covers for albums (when such covers were understood as art). He designed the cover for Steely Dan’s album Aja, which I’ve seen referred to as the gold standard for cover art. You can see some his stuff here. He dropped the last N from his name when he changed careers.

  4. Pinky says:

    My favorite characters of his weren’t on SNL: Bill McNeil from NewsRadio, and Lionel Hutz & Troy McClure from The Simpsons.

    I remember when he passed away, Jay Leno did a little tribute to him with clips from his various appearances on The Tonight Show. In one of the clips, he was dressed as a skunk and smoking a cigar with a poop-eating grin on his face. It got a laugh from the audience. I thought that was a great tribute to a comedian, that he could get a laugh from a 2-second visual gag during a memorial segment.

  5. al-Ameda says:

    Phil Hartman was the best, period.
    He was an immense talent, right up there with Bill Murray, John Belushi, and Eddie Murphy.