Bill Hader explains why he turned down SNL appearance as iconic gay character Stefon
Bill Hader declined an opportunity to to return to Saturday Night Live as gay character Stefon because it didn’t feel like a “good thing to do now”.
Hader was a regular cast member on Saturday Night Live (SNL) for eight years and was known for his dead-on impressions as well as his iconic recurring characters. One of his most well-known roles was Stefon, a gay “city correspondent” on Weekend Update.
On the segment, Stefon often had outlandish descriptions for the clubs and events that he recommended tourists to visit when they came to New York City. He also had a flirty relationship with Weekend Update host Seth Meyers and often expressed his disappointment when Meyer’s mentioned his girlfriend.
Hader revealed in an interview with the Guardian that SNL bosses recently “floated” the idea that he could return to the show to play Stefon. But Hader shot down the suggestion given the political climate today.
“I was like, ‘I don’t think that’s really a good thing to do now’,” he said. “I mean, we had an openly racist, homophobic and misogynistic president, and half the country voted for him – twice!”
He continued: “So [those attitudes] are really prevalent.
“That was a big eye-opener for me, and it made me back up a bit and say, ‘Wait, maybe people see this character a different way’.
“Because I really love Stefon and it never occurred to me that he would be seen as a stereotype, and that really hurt.”
The Barry actor said he had no current plans to reappear on SNL as Stefon, but he hasn’t fully ruled out ever playing the character again in the future.
“The thought that anyone might think I was making fun of gay people really sucks,” Hader said. “So I’m not saying I’d never play those characters again, but not today.”
Bill Hader briefly revived the role back in 2018 when he appeared on the Weekend Update to offer up a host of St Patrick’s Day-themed activities. Hader returned to the show alongside the writer who helped create Stefon – John Mulaney. Mulaney spent years as a writer on SNL and co-created the character with Hader.
Stefon said people should visit a club which he described as an “haunted hospice” built in the “upside down world”. But he advised people to avoid the dancefloor on Wednesdays when the club lets a “dozen dachshunds and corgis” in for free for its “long and low night”.
“I don’t trust any dog whose stomach touches the ground,” Stefon added.
He later invited his lawyer and “conceptual piss artist” (Mulaney) onto the show in order to avoid any legal repercussions because he didn’t want to say a word that “may be insensitive”.