Betty White Declined To Host SNL Three Times Before Accepting In 2010, Thanks To A Facebook Petition

You can thank Facebook for getting Betty White to host SNL.

In 2010, the social media outlet had a petition for the late actress to host the weekly show but little did the public know, Lorne Michaels had been asking the iconic and beloved actress for decades.

Michaels recalled in a 2010 interview with EW how he asked White to host several times between the ’70s and ’90s. “After three rejections, I stopped asking,” he said. 

White’s longtime agent and close friend Jeff Witjas was the one who finally pushed White to say yes in 2010, once he got the answer he had been waiting for, Lorne invited alumnae Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Molly Shannon, Rachel Dratch, Ana Gasteyer and Maya Rudolph for the Mother’s Day Eve show. 

“It was one of the most incredible experiences — it truly, truly was,” Witjas shared with the outlet following White’s Dec. 31, 2021, death. “Betty didn’t really want to go to New York to do it, but I said to her, ‘You have to do it.’ I mean, how could she not? And she trusted me.”

Recalling the endless hours, “I got tired watching her,” Witjas admitted — she was “an absolute pro,” he added.

RELATED: 25 Photos of Betty White to Celebrate Her Legendary Life

“It was hilarious watching her in rehearsals go from one clothing change to another, because you have to do it within minutes, you can’t take your time,” he said. “But she loved it. She got into it, she embraced it, and they were great to her.”

JAY-Z, who was the musical guest that evening, even dedicated his performance of “Young Forever” to White, who was 88 years old at the time.

“We thought, this is an interesting mix,” Michaels recalled to EW of the host and musical guest pairing. But “JAY-Z was excited about the idea of working with Betty — further proof that her influence is pervasive and enormous,” he added. 

Former SNL writer and cast member Seth Meyers wrote in a recent tweet remembering the famed actress as “the only SNL host I ever saw get a standing ovation at the after-party. A party at which she ordered a vodka and a hotdog and stayed til the bitter end.”

Witjas corroborated that account. 

RELATED: Betty White’s Former Co-Star Allegedly Reveals Her Last Word

“She stayed for a good long time because she really enjoyed her experience,” he shared with the outlet. “We were up til maybe two, three o’clock that morning. It’s a memory Betty and I would talk about a lot after.”

There was one memory that stood out to Witjas from the week, which was “a moment in her dressing room on Thursday night, after a long rehearsal, and still more rehearsal to go.”

“Betty looked at me in a way I’ve never seen her look at me — just a look that said, ‘Never again.’ She didn’t explain it, but I kind of thought I knew what she meant. I said, ‘Okay,’ and a minute after that, she went back to Betty White and never discussed it again. And she went on for the rest of the rehearsals and the rest of the week and had a fabulous time.” 

“It was one of the greatest weeks that Betty had, and that I had with her,” Witjas continued. “You couldn’t really top what she did. When we were flying home on that Sunday on the plane together, she said to me, ‘Thank you. It was fabulous.’ And as a friend and an agent, that was the best thing she could have said.”

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