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Regis Philbin took his final bow Friday on ABC’s Live! With Regis and Kelly, leaving Kelly Ripa without a co-host. Jerry Seinfeld is filling in next week, THR reported earlier this month, and Neil Patrick Harris will take the reigns for the following week. But a permanent replacement has yet to be announced.
Instead, the morning show plans to try out potential co-headliners for Ripa over the coming months, just as Philbin did in 2000 after his co-host Kathie Lee Gifford left the show.
So SNL took the opportunity to audition a few of their own hopefuls.
“Fortunately we have a lot of great options for new co-hosts, so we’re gonna have you sit with them and see if you have any chemistry,” Ripa’s producer in the SNL skit says.
First, Ripa (Nasim Pedrad) welcomed repeat Golden Globes host Ricky Gervais (Jason Sudeikis). “It’s always been my dream to replace an 80-year-old man,” Gervais jokes.
Up next was “out of work basketball commentator” Charles Barkley (Keenan Thompson), but the 9 a.m. start was too early for him. Then came former late night talk show host George Lopez (Fred Armisen) and NPR’s Garrison Keillor (Bill Hader). It seemed like the entire cast would be showcasing their impersonation skills in this sketch.
Soon came Rosie O’Donnell (cast as Bobby Moynihan), The New Girl’s Zooey Deschanel (Abby Elliot), and Ashton Kutcher (Taran Killam). “Now that I’ve stopped tweeting, I have 16 extra hours a day!” Kutcher exclaims.” So what’s the deal with this job? I wanna get hired!” “Ashton, it’s a long process,” Ripa explains. “Okay, I’m bored!” Kutcher says before walking off.
Jay Pharoah was up next, with another of his spot-on impersonations: Denzel Washington. Then Jason Segel’s Antonio Banderas showed up. “Regis is in heaven with the angels,” Banderas says. “No Regis isn’t dead,” Ripa explains. “Then we are committing adultery!” Banderas exclaims. “No, Regis is retiring from the show, and the hosts don’t have sex,” Ripa clarifies. “Oh. Then I must go and find sex elsewhere,” Banderas says. “Goodbye my flower.”
Ultimately, Ripa decides that the best decision for the show is to return to their roots: with the return of Kathie Lee Gifford (expertly played by Kristen Wiig).
As Gifford rolls around the stage on a scooter, the show ends wit the tagline: “Kathie Lee and Kelly – it’s what America wants.”