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Robert Downey, Jr.

Robert Downey Jr. Looks Back On His Time on 'Saturday Night Live'

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By Nicholas Vrchoticky

Since most of us know him as Iron Man in the MCU, it can be difficult to see picture Robert Downey, Jr. on the set of Saturday Night Live.

In both Sherlock Holmes and Iron Man, we see Downey, Jr.'s wit come through in his acting, and we all have a few hearty chuckles, so we know he's funny. But, is he Saturday Night Live funny? Apparently, Saturday Night Live thought so, or he probably wouldn't have acted on the LoL-worthy sketch comedy show during season 11.

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Lorne Michaels rebuilds SNL season 11 cast

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How exactly did Robert Downey, Jr. get his a job on SNL when his previous career was full of feature films? The answer: Lorne Michaels.

SNL creator and producer Lorne Michaels had left the show for five years. When he returned in season 11, he was ready to put up a new cast. He brought some new names to the scene — Dennis Miller, Jon Lovitz, Damon Wayan, Nora Dunn — and some more established ones as well, like Joan Cusack and Downey, Jr.

Downey never wrote anything that aired

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During his time on SNL, Downey took place in the writers' room like all of the other members of the troop, but he never had anything air. In an interview with Jimmy Fallon, Downey talks about the one sketch that almost made it to air:

“The only thing I wrote that almost close to air was this ridiculous sketch called ‘Suitcase Boy’ where I came out with a suitcase zipped around my neck and said a bunch of nonsequiturs,” he tells Fallon, "It was so not funny except to me and my weirdo friends. I was literally sweating mortar shells.”

He couldn't live up to the old kings


When Downey, Jr. and Anthony Michael Hall started on the show together, they were given the offices that had previously belonged to a couple of kings of comedy, better known as the Blues Brothers: John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd.

With big shoes to fill, Downey and Hall decided to ask for random demands, like bunk beds with NFL sheets, as a way to seem like they should be taken seriously. Unfortunately, that was the opposite of what you want in the comedy business.

They got the bunk beds, but under the assumption that the young stars would produce some breath-taking work.

Downey comes in last

Robert Downey, Jr.
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With all of his demands and a pretty full acting history under his belt, Iron Man was unable to deliver. In a Rolling Stone ranking of all SNL cast members up to 2015, Downey came in dead last. Which explains why he didn't come back for season 12.

If there's one thing that Downey has (besides a hefty bank account and a prolific filmography), it's a good sense of humor. On Fallen, he was able to joke about his time on SNL, saying:

"They also said I was the worst cast member but, come on, there’s a lot of competition for that."

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