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Robert Downey Jr. has lived a well-rounded life.

Robert Downey Jr. Recalls Actor Who Got Him 'SNL' Audition

Gettyimages | The Chosunilbo JNS
By Emily Reily

After all the blockbuster movies Robert Downey Jr. has been in, how many of us remember that he was on "Saturday Night Live" for one season?

He was part of the show during Season 11, which was from 1985 to 1986. Among his castmates were Joan Cusack, John Lovitz, Nora Dunn, Anthony Michael Hall and Dennis Miller.

According to Cheatsheet, one of Downey's friends got him an audition for the show -- and he compared his efforts to director Jon Favreau, who, much later in Downey's career, advocated for him to be Tony Stark in Iron Man.

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Downey hasn't forgotten his SNL days.
Instagram / Robert Downey Jr.

Downey reminisced about his time on the legendary skit show last July while on "Off Camera with Sam Jones," saying the whole experience was a step up for him, adding that just being there was an accomplishment.

“In the 90-minutes moment, you get such validation not because you’re the standout guy. But you get a lot of cred just for being able to even be able to participate in that level of real time stress and excitement.”

Downey living it up with Mickey Mouse.
Twitter / Robert Downey Jr.

He told Jones that the experience of live TV was like none other; it was certainly nothing like he'd ever lived through before.

“For me, being young and kind of whatever, I was like, 'this is just a blast.' You’re in a cave man outfit and you’re running to go from this set to that set and change into a spaceman outfit and you like, bump into David Bowie… and you just go like, 'coolest Saturday night ever'!”

Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo are good buds.
Twitter / Robert Downey Jr.

But he also learned that being in cutting-edge comedy like that wouldn't be his real claim to fame.

“I learned so much in that year about what I wasn’t. I was not somebody who was going to come up with a catchphrase. I was not somebody who was going to do impressions. I was somebody who was very ill-suited for rapid-fire sketch comedy.

I was not of that ilk of the Groundlings. I’ve never been part of any improv group so I was kind of like, wow, this seems really hard, like a lot of work."


Still, it sounds like he realized just how lucky he was to be there.

"But I would still say to this day that there’s not a more exciting 90 minutes you can have whether you are any good or not. It’s just amazing.”

Clearly his brief stint on "SNL" was just one stepping stone into a larger world -- he eventually landed roles in several movies, among them Less Than Zero, Soapdish, Tropic Thunder, and the TV show "Ally McBeal."

Later, of course, he joined the Marvel Comic Universe as Iron Man, and the rest is history.

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