Rob Lowe Credits Taking a Risk on ‘SNL’ for His Longevity: ‘I Had People in My Life Telling Me Not to Host’

The “9-1-1: Lone Star” actor has done the show three times, and the job indeed held potential peril

rob lowe wayne's world reunion
Rob Lowe at a "Wayne's World" reunion in 2013 (Getty Images)

Rob Lowe’s starring role in the Fox series “9-1-1: Lone Star” stands as only the latest capstone in a Hollywood career full of them. And he credits taking a risk on hosting NBC’s “SNL” for his career longevity. He certainly has had a good run — more than 100 TV and film credits over a span of 43 years to date.

In an interview published Friday by ET Online, Lowe credited that career streak to a force of will that led him to take risks that paid off. One of those risks was the hosting job on “Saturday Night Live,” a gig he said several people close to him advised him not to take.

“If you want to do it a long time, be prepared to be brave and say yes to things that maybe other people in your life are going to be worried about,” Lowe, 58, advised to up-and-coming actors and other TV and film artists. “I mean, I had people in my life telling me not to host ‘Saturday Night Live.’ I know today it seems like everybody does it, but there was a time when people were like, ‘I don’t know. They could make fun [of you].’”

Lowe said that intuitive skills and a persevering spirit were also key.

“Know that there are going to be ups and downs and talent will prevail,” Lowe added. “It really does. If you’ve got it, then you can survive the down periods of your career. Every career, it doesn’t matter. It’ll cycle around and keep cycling around and just keep cycling around and you just got to have your staying power.” 

Lowe first took the “SNL” leap in March 1990. During that experience, he befriended legendary cast member Mike Myers. Their relationship led Lowe to a starring role in the hit 1992 comedy “Wayne’s World,” as villainous TV producer Benjamin Oliver, and later, smaller roles in three “Austin Powers” films.

“I love that I’m still so close to Mike Myers,” Lowe told ET Online. “But never in a million years thinking it would lead to ‘Wayne’s World’ and then to ‘Austin Powers.’ You just never know where life is gonna take you.” 

Lowe hosted “SNL” two more times, in April 1997 and October 2000. And the job, indeed, didn’t come without risk.

In the 2000 appearance, Lowe was signing off per tradition, surrounded on stage by the familiar smiling faces of the “Saturday Night Live” cast, musical guest Eminem and political activist Ralph Nader, who had made a guest appearance in the episode. Actor Brendan Fraser was also there, standing just behind Lowe. Fraser had made a brief, nonspeaking cameo in the episode, and perhaps perturbed he wasn’t used for more, began repeatedly yelling “Bedazzled” — the name of Fraser’s next film that would open in theaters a month later — as Lowe was taking the show off air.

“I’ve spent many years trying to figure out what was going on with Brendan that night,” Lowe said last year on his “Literally!” podcast. “And the nearest I can come to is that he was somehow promised a walk-on during the show, and the show ran long, and he just was like, ‘F— it, I’m gonna go up and yell ‘Bedazzled’ behind Rob Lowe’s head.”

The “SNL” experience had also led to confusion at a critical juncture years earlier, Lowe said in the ET Online interview.

“I remember I was getting married and we kept it a secret, we kept it out of the media. We were able to have a nice, sweet low-key wedding and Lorne Michaels called me to say I had to go to a preproduction meeting of ‘Wayne’s World,’” Lowe said of the TV and film producer and “SNL” creator. “He says, ‘You need to be there. The studio needs to talk to you.’ And I said, ‘Lorne, I’m getting married in 20 minutes’ and he said, ‘Well, maybe you can come by for dessert.’ That was my, I’ll never forget that.”