Derek Jeter joins a new club this week when he becomes one of only a handful of superstar athletes who have hosted "Saturday Night Live."
The Yankees shortstop, who has won four World Series rings in his seven-season career, will go on the short list of pro-athletes, including Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretzky who have hosted the long-running sketch-comedy series.
But Jeter - who was born 27 years ago when "SNL" started - arrives during one of the show's most troubled seasons.
Longtime fans complain it has lost its funny bone, and even its own cast members have begun to joke on the air about its supposedly humorless sketches.
Jeter, though, wasn't among those in on the joke yesterday when he was asked if he thought the show wasn't as good as it used to be.
"Of course I think it's funny. I think everyone who watches 'Saturday Night Live' thinks its funny. If I didn't think it was a funny show then I wouldn't watch it and I wouldn't want to be a part of it," he said.
"This is a dream for a lot of people, I think, to be the host of 'Saturday Night Live' and I consider it a great honor.
"I was a little scared and a little nervous [at first]," he admitted. "I'm still a little scared and a little nervous, but it's something I'm looking forward to and I'm sure I'll always remember it."
Other Yankee royalty who have been hosts over the years include manager Billy Martin and The Boss, George Steinbrenner.
The Yankees' combustible owner appeared on the show back in 1990, and this week "SNL" officials gave Jeter some tapes of Jordan and Steinbrenner to try to help the young Yankee get a feel for the kind of acting he's going to be responsible for on Saturday night.
But Jeter would rather use the tapes to make fun of Steinbrenner, who is paying his multi-million-dollar salary. "I'm gonna go through those tapes and see if I can tease The Boss a little bit about what he did and try to outperform him on 'Saturday Night Live,"' Jeter joked.
The first pro-athlete to host "SNL" was NBA great Bill Russell, who appeared in 1976. Since then, "SNL" boss Lorne Michaels has developed an affinity for asking pro-athletes to appear.
"Athletes are a big part of the show's history, and I think they're used to getting in front of large groups of people and not knowing how its going to turn out," Michaels said.
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