by Jessie Roberts
Phil Hartman auditions for Saturday Night Live:
Excerpts from a lively oral history of SNL auditions:
JIMMY FALLON: In makeup, they go, “Hey, Jimmy, some advice: Lorne Michaels doesn’t laugh when you audition. So don’t let that throw you.” Then the audio guy, he goes, “Hey, little advice — Lorne doesn’t like to laugh.” I’m like, “O.K.” Then Marci [Klein, a longtime “SNL” producer] comes out: “Jimmy, they’re ready for you. But hey, a little advice for you. If Lorne doesn’t laugh, be cool.” I’m like, what is this guy’s problem? He’s doing a comedy show. Why does he not like to laugh?
CHERI OTERI: I felt good because I heard Lorne laugh a little bit. I saw him out of the corner of my eye, laughing his very subtle, subtle laughter. Almost regal laughter.
RACHEL DRATCH: I didn’t get it that year [of her first audition]. They hired Horatio [Sanz], Jimmy [Fallon] and Chris Parnell, and they said: “We’re not taking any women this year. But maybe next year.” I was at peace with it.
SETH MEYERS: They flew me all the way back to New York to meet with Lorne. I realized later that he was doing a final personality vet. He said, “Do you think you can live in New York?” And I thought, “Does anyone blow it at this stage?” Does anybody get this far in the process, and then is like, “It’s definitely New York? Well, if you guys can’t be flexible on that, I’m not sure if I can be flexible on that.”
WILL FERRELL: [Mr. Michaels] never really has a moment where he says, “So, welcome to the show.” He phrases it, “So, we’re bringing you to New York.” And I thought, God, another audition? And he goes, “Cheri’s going to be there, too.” And that’s when it hit me: Oh, my God. I got the gig. But I didn’t have a celebratory moment with him. Then I got self-conscious, like it came across that I didn’t care about getting the job. So I stood up real quick, and I’m like: “Well, gosh, thank you. I just want to shake your hand.” And he said, “Do whatever you have to do.”
A collection of audition tapes viewable online is here.