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Stephen Colbert Admits He Auditioned To Play "Screech" In 'Saved By The Bell'!

Stephen Colbert Reveals He Once Auditioned For The Role of Screech In Saved By The Bell
April 3, 2020 - 20:40 / Hayley Paskevich

While interviewing Ryan Reynolds on The Late Show, host Stephen Colbert shared he'd auditioned for Saved by the Bell! Find out why he didn't get to play "Screech"!

Stephen Colbert has revealed that he once auditioned for a popular sitcom! As People reports, on Wednesday's episode of The Late Show, Colbert had a virtual interview with Ryan Reynolds. The topic of the show came up in conversation after Reynolds shared that he was told to dress "nice casual" for his first audition. 

"I didn’t know what that meant, but I know that I did show up wearing a thin leather tie that had piano keys on it," said Reynolds. Then he quipped that his outfit choice made him look like someone who was part of "the crew of Saved by the Bell". That's when Colbert shared that he had actually auditioned for Saved by the Bell, which happened to have been his first professional audition!

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Stephen Colbert onstage during The Rise of Skywalker panel at the Star Wars Celebration on April 12, 2019.

Colbert was scouted at university for Saved by the Bell audition

Colbert went on to talk about his audition for Saved by the Bell, including how it came about. "They came to Chicago, I was a student at Northwestern University," he said. And I don’t know, somebody had seen me do something, somebody had scouted me at the school". He said that from there he'd been called down to see a casting agent on Michigan Avenue, where he walked in to audition for the role of "Screech".

"I walk in, they hand me the thing and I was auditioning for the part of — was the character’s name Screech? Was it Screech?" Reynolds was shocked by finding out that Colbert had been in contention for the role at one point. "Dustin Diamond?! Who ended up getting the role of Screech?" he questioned out loud. "I auditioned for Screech! I’m not joking," Colbert told him.

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Colbert says that his "Screech" was considered too "over the top"

Colbert then revealed the reason that the casting directors passed on him for the part was because he played it in a far more exaggerated way than what they wanted! As he told Reynolds, his rendition of "Screech" could be characterized by a key term he was told having an understanding of would serve him well in his career going forward.

"I did my audition and they said to me, ‘There’s a term you’re going to need to know about as a professional," Colbert shared. "It’s called over the top. You just went over the top.’ And then I saw the subtle interplay of status dynamics Dustin Diamond brought to that part". Following Colbert's confession, Reynolds jokingly said to him that "Screech was not the My Left Foot role that you thought it would be". 

Saved by the Bell ran for four seasons on NBC from 1989 to 1993. The series will be getting a reboot featuring some of the show's original stars on NBCUniversal's upcoming streaming app, Peacock, which launches in May.

Watch Stephen Colbert talk about his Saved by the Bell audition on The Late Show here!