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Hader was a regular cast member on the sketch comedy programme from 2005 until his departure in 2013.
One of the most recognisable recurring characters Hader played during his tenure was that of nervous nightlife reviewer, Stefon.
Appearing most frequently in the “Weekend Update” segment, Stefon often responded to moments of shock or embarrassment by covering his mouth.
In a new interview, Hader explained that SNL had recently “floated” the prospect of a return to the show as Stefon to him, but he rejected it because of the political climate of recent years.
“I was like, ‘I don’t think that’s really a good thing to do now,’” he told The Guardian.
“I mean, we had an openly racist, homophobic and misogynistic president, and half the country voted for him – twice! So [those attitudes] are really prevalent.”
The Barry actor then stated that the context of US politics was a “big eye-opener” on how his portrayal of the character might strike some as offensive.
He continued: “It made me back up a bit and say, ‘Wait, maybe people see this character a different way.’ Because I really love Stefon and it never occurred to me that he would be seen as a stereotype, and that really hurt.”
Hader most recently appeared as Stefon in March 2018 for a guest appearance on the long-running programme. Though he has no immediate plans to revive the role, he hasn’t closed the door on playing Stefon again in the future.
“The thought that anyone might think I was making fun of gay people really sucks,” he explained. “So I’m not saying I’d never play [that character] again, but not today.”