With the announcement on Tuesday Sept. 20 that Miles Teller and Kendrick Lamar will be the host and musical guest, respectively, of Saturday Night Live’s Season 48 opening episode on Oct 1, we decided to take a look a back to see who got those plum bookings on the first episodes of every previous season of the show.
Viewers often make an extra effort to check out the first episode of a season. As a result, producers go all out to open the season with a strong episode. For SNL, that means booking a hot host and musical guest.
Legendary comedian George Carlin was host of the first episode on Oct. 11, 1975. There were two musical guests that night, Billy Preston and Janis Ian, both of whom had had big recent hits on the Billboard Hot 100.
Kanye West has been the musical guest on three season-openers, more than anyone else. Keith Richards, John Mayer and The Weeknd also deserve a mention. Richards was musical guest on a season-opener once on his own and once with The Rolling Stones. Mayer was the musical guest on a season opener once and played guitar behind another season opener, Frank Ocean. The Weeknd was the musical guest on a season-opener once and was a duet partner for another season-opener, Ariana Grande.
The Stones and Miley Cyrus are the only performers who were both host and musical guest on a season-opener.
If you’re ready to go back in time, here are the hosts and musical guests on the first episode of every SNL season. Unless otherwise specified, all dates mentioned were in the same year as the year that the season premiere aired.