Ryan Reynolds Was Shocked To Learn Which ‘Saved By The Bell’ Character Stephen Colbert Auditioned For

In an alternate, inarguably worse timeline, there is no The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, no The Colbert Report, no “Prince Charles Scandal,” no Chuck Noblet. There is only Stephen Colbert, Saved by the Bell star. During Wednesday’s at-home taping of The Late Show, Colbert confessed to guest Ryan Reynolds that he auditioned for the ironically (?) adored high school-set sitcom that aired on NBC from 1989-1993. He’s not exactly a Zack Morris type, though, and it’s hard to imagine Colbert as the muscular Slater, either. That must mean, yup, Colbert as Screech. Like I said, the darkest timeline.

“My first professional audition, 1986, they came to Chicago,” Colbert told Reynolds. “I was a student at Northwestern University, and someone had seen me do something. Somebody had scouted me at school. I got called down to a casting agent on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. I walk in and they hand me the [script]. I was auditioning for the part of…was the character’s name Screech? I auditioned for Screech. No, I’m not joking.”

Colbert continued:

“I’m not making this up. Imagine how that character ended up in broadcast. I did my audition and they said to me, ‘There’s a term you’re going to need to know about as a professional. It’s called over-the-top. You just went over-the-top. Don’t do that anymore.’ I saw the subtle, I saw the subtle interplay of status dynamics that Dustin Diamond brought to that part.”

Just think, that could have been Colbert as “Alumnus Guy #1” in American Pie Presents: The Book of Love and releasing his own (fake) sex tape, Screeched – Saved by the Smell. I bet he would still trade it all — the Emmys, the Peabodys, the best-selling book — to have appeared in a single episode of Saved by the Bell: The College Years.

Watch the confession, er, clip below.