It’s assumed if you’re frequently funny — or even if you’re not — you’ll eventually host SNL. And yet there’s one deeply funny person who’s never once emceed the show: Owen Wilson. Turns out there’s a reason for that: Entertainment Weekly noticed that, on a recent episode of Hiking with Kevin, Kevin Nealon’s YouTube series, Wilson said he doesn’t really do live stuff.
“I get really nervous with public speaking,” Wilson told Nealon, himself an SNL alum. “I’ve never done any of those commencement addresses or Saturday Night Live just because I get too nervous.”
In fact, you’ve probably rarely seen Wilson at public events that require dress-up. “I feel like it always gives me a bit of panic of, oh, are you going to have the right tie?” he said. “Where is the cumberbund and cuff links? It just seems a little nerve-wracking.”
Indeed, being comfortable in front of a camera and in front of live audiences aren’t the same thing, and remember: there’s a relatively small number of movie stars who are also big time Broadway stars. To ask Wilson to be amazing at both just seems greedy.
Wilson also talked about his first Hollywood role — a small one in the dark Jim Carrey vehicle The Cable Guy from 1996. Wilson had just made a big splash in Bottle Rocket, the feature debut of Wes Anderson, but The Cable Guy’s director, Wilson’s future frequent screen partner Ben Stiller, had to be strong-armed into giving him the gig — a one-scene bit in which he goes on a date with Matthew Broderick’s character’s longed-for ex, played by Leslie Mann.
“He didn’t even want to cast me,” Wilson said. “It was actually Judd [Apatow] who was like, you gotta cast that guy.” But obviously it all worked out in the end.