Andy Samberg was living the dream of many young comedy writers when he nabbed an audition for “Saturday Night Live,” but the work doesn’t stop once you get in front of series creator Lorne Michaels. Samberg was already nervous to try out for SNL, but his anxiety mounted when producers threw a last-minute twist at the comedian just days before his callback.
Samberg’s first audition was thoroughly prepared, although some bits were better than others. “It was more for me the audition was less about concrete bits that I was just nailing and more about sort of the vibe,” he confessed on The Howard Stern Show. One piece of the audition that scared him was impressions. Everyone who auditions for “Saturday Night Live” is required to do some impressions, regardless of whether it’s one of their strengths as a comedian.
“I had to come up with some,” Samberg explained. “I did Alan Rickman in ‘Die Hard’ [… and] Jimmy Fallon at a funeral.” It’s hilarious to imagine the SNL alum trying to navigate such a somber occasion because “he’s so happy,” Samberg pointed out. The Fallon impression was a tribute to the late-night host, as Fallon was the one who landed him the audition. Samberg had written for Fallon when he hosted the MTV Movie Awards. Luckily, his homage to Jimmy paid off, and Samberg scored a callback.
“They told me they want you to come back again the network just wants to see you a second time,” he recalled. “But you can pretty much just do the same stuff, you’ll be fine.” The comedian was excited to get a chance to perfect his material. “Maybe I’ll even do it a little better,” he thought. Unfortunately, he was in for a surprise.
Samberg Only Had Two Days To Prepare New Material
Just days before his follow-up audition, Samberg got a piece of information that saved him from making a fatal error and prepared him for the high-stakes writing of SNL. “The day before [the callback], or two days before it, I got tipped off, like, ‘Hey, don’t do all the same stuff,” the comedian said. “And I was like, oh s***, I have to write a whole new audition in two days […] I don’t know who told me to do the same stuff, but that was bad advice.”
The bad tip might have come from a careless producer, but Samberg thinks that there might have been a hidden agenda behind the flawed intel. “In the back of my mind I feel like maybe they do that to see if you can respond under pressure,” he explained. “The show is written in a day or two.”
Samberg can’t quite remember who gave him the right advice with just a few days to spare — “maybe one of the producers we knew from The [MTV] Movie Awards,” he offered — but they totally saved his audition. If the “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” star’s theory is correct, though, then this producer wasn’t actually helping Samberg out, but simply doing their job.
Samberg Made Michaels Laugh With An Eleventh Hour Idea
Just a few days before his SNL callback, Samberg had to come up with completely new material. One joke that he thought up just hours before getting to 30 Rock was an unexpected hit with the series creator.
“The thing that I came up with, that never existed before, that is the dumbest s*** ever but apparently is what clinched me the show according to Lorne [Michaels], is I was in New York and I had just gone to a flea market and bought these tiny like old seventies jogging shorts. And I was d***ing around with my friend Liz and doing a bit with her, wearing the shorts, and being a, like, out-of-breath jogger from the ’80s. And like all I would do is say I was out of breath, ‘Oh god I’m so out of breath. Gorbachev’s really making things hard, huh?’ It was just all he said was, like, s****y ’80s references. Then I threw that into the audition.”
It might not be the best bit on paper, but Samberg’s “vibe” was so powerful that he was able to charm his way onto “Saturday Night Live.” Samberg isn’t proud of the jogger joke today, but it got a laugh out of Michaels, and that’s all that matters. “That one I just came up with like the night before,” the comedian admitted.
When Michaels was cracking up at the jogger bit, did he know that Samberg was forced to come up with an entirely new audition with just a few days’ notice? Or did he assume that Samberg had been practicing the joke for weeks, and loved it anyway? Either way, he picked the comedian that would define a new generation’s sense of humor.
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/Film – Andy Samberg’s Saturday Night Live Audition Prepared Him For The Pressure Of The Show
Author: Shae Sennett
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March 12, 2023