Stephen Colbert Reveals He Once Auditioned for the Role of Screech in Saved by the Bell
The Late Show host said casting agents told him he was too "over the top"
The reveal came about after Reynolds recalled how he was told to dress “nice casual” during his own 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,” he said, adding that he looked like someone from “the crew of Saved by the Bell.”
“Oh! I auditioned for Saved by the Bell,” exclaimed Colbert, 55. “That was my first professional audition. 1986? They came to Chicago, I was a student at Northwestern University. And I don’t know, somebody had seen me do something, somebody had scouted me at the school.”
“I got called down to a casting agent on Michigan Avenue in Chicago,” he continued. “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, 43, was in disbelief.
“Dustin Diamond?! Who ended up getting the role of Screech?” he said.
“I auditioned for Screech! I’m not joking,” Colbert said with a laugh. “Let me tell you how big I was — imagine how that character ended up in broadcast. I did my audition and they said to me, ‘There’s a term you’re going to need to know about as a professional. 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.”
“Screech was not the My Left Foot role that you thought it would be,” Reynolds joked.
Saved by the Bell ran for four seasons on NBC from 1989 to 1993. The sitcom followed a group of high school friends, played by Diamond, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Mario Lopez, Tiffani Thiessen, Elizabeth Berkley and Lark Voorhies.