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I had a lot of bad jobs but the one big internship I had is I interned for 'SNL' when I was 21 years old and that was the joke. You intern there and you think man, I'm going to be with the writers and the great comedians. Then you're getting everybody sandwiches and then the doors close and then all the great creatives are doing the work.
For my first show at 'SNL', I wrote a Bill Clinton sketch, and during our read-through, it wasn't getting any laughs. This weight of embarrassment came over me, and I felt like I was sweating from my spine out. But I realized, 'Okay, that happened, and I did not die.' You've got to experience failure to understand that you can survive it.
I went to Second City, where you learned to make the other actor look good so you looked good and National Lampoon, where you had to create everything out of nothing, and SNL, where you couldn't make any mistakes, and you learned what collaboration was.
From 1985 to 1994, I lived in Manhattan in a big old loft right off Times Square. I could walk to work, which was in a couple of Broadway theaters, to Howard Stern's studio, and to 30 Rock for 'Letterman' and 'SNL.' Even in New York, walking to work is homey and folksy, like living in a small town.
'SNL' is really hard to do when you're single and living alone. And then it's pretty tough when you're married, because you don't see your spouse.
A whole generation of people that didn't know me from 'SNL' recognize me from 'Weeds' now. People recognize me once in a while and appreciate the work. It gets a little embarrassing but it's good. If you work as an accountant, you don't have people coming up to you in the streets saying, 'Hey, great job on tax statements!'
My first year on 'SNL', I made $90,000 dollars. And I bought a red Corvette for $45,000 dollars. I'm thinking, 'I've got 45 grand left!' Taxes didn't even come into my equation. At the end of the first year of making 90 grand I was 25, 30 in the hole. We live in this baller, spend-money culture.
At 'SNL,' I wrote political stuff, but I never felt the show should have an axe to grind. But when I left in '95, I could let my own beliefs out.
You don't just decide to destroy a person by making up stuff, and no one at 'SNL' is writing to go after someone.
I got invited to the Playboy Mansion with the Lonely Island guys after their first season on 'SNL,' and I sat in the corner drinking coffee and talking to Akiva Schaffer about what aspect ratio he was going to shoot 'Hot Rod' in. Like, that's what we talk about.
I started 'SNL,' and I became the one who did impressions. I did that, but then I wanted to get an original character on, and that took a long time to get one on that stuck. And then I got Vinny Vedecci on - 'Oh great' - and then it took a couple more seasons to get Greg the Alien on. You have to have some patience.
I am a fan of 'SNL' and a big Jimmy Fallon fan, too.
A lot of the motivation for doing the 'Make 'Em Laugh' on SNL was because I had just finished shooting 'Inception,' where there were zero-gravity scenes and I got into really good shape and was training and did all these stunts. Coming off of that, that instilled me with the confidence to do 'Make 'Em Laugh.'
I think 'SNL' was such a unique thing because it was material you created and you're very comfortable with it, even though the setting was pressure-packed.
My advice, Be healthy, reach your own goals and don't be afraid to impersonate a SNL star.
I didn't audition for 'SNL.' I sent in a tape to 'SNL' the year before I started writing there, but I got the job there through doing stand-up on Fallon.
My first 'SNL' episode was with Michael Phelps and Lil Wayne. And if you go back and watch the monologue - it was supposed to feature Barack Obama, but we couldn't get him - it was with William Shatner. But if you watch it, Guy Fieri is sitting in the front row.
Well, basically, when you get SNL, everyone wants to take a meeting, just in case you end up being good.
When I was in high school I was a really huge 'SNL' fan. I remember the cast around the time I started watching it - Will Ferrell, Ana Gasteyer, Molly Shannon, Cheri O'Teri, Tracy Morgan. I did research to find out how people got on the show. Their bios always said they came from an improv team, so I started taking classes.
It's nice when I get offered small parts. But I really think that 'SNL' is what my skill set is best designed for.
I started watching 'SNL' when I was thirteen or so; those were the Molly Shannon/Ana Gasteyer/Cheri Oteri years.
I think the process of 'SNL' is still pretty formal. You make an audition tape, your agent sends it in, they watch people's tapes, and then they invite people to perform at a comedy club in Los Angeles or New York. But I don't know how much actual scouting they do online.
SNL is a home. You've got all of your brothers and sisters there, and it's a great time.
Even when I was at 'SNL,' I didn't do impersonations. I always wanted to be the kind of person who could do them - I always thought they were the coolest thing on the show - but I didn't have any experience.
Both conservatives and liberals watch 'Parks and Recreation,' and they each think the show is for them, which is really cool. 'SNL' was totally different. It was exciting because everyone was paying attention. Political humor works when people know what you're talking about.
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
John F. Kennedy
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