One of the many highlights from last night’s SNL 40th anniversary special was the moment when new cast members Pete Davidson and Leslie Jones took to the stage, introducing a montage of audition tapes from the past 40 years. Not only did the footage include new and former cast members, but we also got a peek at the audition tapes of a few stars who surprisingly didn’t make the cut, like Jim Carrey and Kevin Hart.

If you’re a fan of SNL, you’ve undoubtedly heard or read about the intimidating audition process that each prospective cast member must endure, which includes giving it their best in front of SNL executive producer Lorne Michaels, who is not easily impressed. It takes a brave, confident soul to hit the Studio 8H stage with their material to try and win over Michaels, and last night we got a rare peek behind the scenes to see what the audition process was like for some of our favorite stars.

Among the audition highlights: a charming Gilda Radner, John Belushi, Andy Samberg’s exhausted Reagan-era jogger, Amy Poehler, Phil Hartman, Andy Kaufman (hard to tell if he was taking it seriously, of course) and Darrell Hammond delivering some of his notable impression work. There’s also some great footage of Tracy Morgan, who is sadly still recovering from his accident last summer and was sorely missed during last night’s celebration.

Then there was audition footage from a handful of SNL hopefuls who didn’t make the cut: Zach Galifianakis, Jim Carrey (who went on to star in another sketch series, In Living Color), Kevin Hart and Stephen Colbert — all of whom went on to have major careers regardless. And while it’s easy to question Lorne Michaels’ judgment when he passed on these guys, we have to wonder if they were ultimately better having been passed over for the job.

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