Stephen Colbert reveals he auditioned for Screech role in 'Saved by the Bell'

/ Source: TODAY

Stephen Colbert as Screech?

"The Late Show" host revealed that he once auditioned to play the nerdy "Saved by the Bell" character — and he bombed it big-time!

Colbert, 55, shared the wacky tidbit during a virtual interview with guest Ryan Reynolds on Wednesday. "That was my first professional audition, 1986," he recalled. "They came to Chicago. I was a student at Northwestern University."

The late-night funnyman explained that he was invited to audition for the role — which would eventually go to actor Dustin Diamond — after someone involved with the show saw him perform at school.

"And let me tell you how big I was," he said, laughing. "Imagine how that character ended up in broadcast? I did my audition and they said to me, 'Um, 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. Don't do that anymore.'"

Dustin Diamond, left, beat out Stephen Colbert for the role of Screech Powers on "Saved by the Bell."NBC, Getty Images

The hit teen sitcom aired from 1989 to 1993 on NBC. When Colbert finally tuned in to watch the show, he was apparently miffed that Diamond's take on the character was pretty zany, too.

"I saw the subtle interplay of status dynamics that Dustin Diamond brought to that part," he said sarcastically.

Reynolds, 43, responded by joking, "Screech was not a nuanced role. It was not the 'My Left Foot' role you thought it would be."

Of course, fans of "Saved by the Bell" know the show is returning in a reboot with original stars Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Mario Lopez and Elizabeth Berkley. The updated series — which will be on the new NBCUniversal streaming platform, Peacock — will also star "Champions" alum Josie Totah.

Watch Colbert talk about his audition in the video above!