Frequent collaborators Adam Sandler and Steve Buscemi talked about the legacy of Saturday Night Live and what the sketch comedy show has meant to them on the eve of the broadcast of the series' 40th anniversary special.
UPI asked the actors about their work on the iconic program at a New York press conference for their latest film The Cobbler Saturday. Sandler was a longtime SNL cast member before he became a huge movie star, while Boardwalk Empire Golden Globe Award-winner Buscemi is a two-time SNL guest host.
"I guess it affected all of us as kids. It was the thing you talked about. What was funny on the show. What the kids on the playground were just doing -- The Bees and Mr. Bill. Everything about the show rocked. Because your parents... it was just cool enough that your parents weren't sure if you should be watching it and it made you more excited to get in there and then you had to stay up late for it, so that was a big deal," recalled Sandler, 48. "Over the years, it's there. It's there for you. It's comforting. It's exciting every time. You know it's happening live and it's an amazing thing -- 40 years worth of meaning something where everybody talks about if a show [episode] was good or bad. Even if a show falls flat, it's still exciting to see and know that it is happening live... It's pretty awesome."
"I got to host twice and I still can't believe that I hosted at all," confessed Buscemi, 57. "It was one of the most amazing, scary and fun experiences. But before I got to host, I was lucky because Adam and I had done the movie Airheads, and I was invited to do a sketch. First sketch I was ever in, it was John Travolta hosting, and they did a Welcome Back Kotter episode as directed by Quentin Tarantino. I got to come in at the very end on the heels of Lenny and Squiggy because Michael McKean was on the show. I remember in rehearsal, I came in and I had one line and I blew it. I blew the line. I came in late. I blew the line. [David] Spade gave me shit for it. I was like: 'I can't believe it. How am I going to do this? I can't [mess up] if I'm hosting. How am I going to host, if I blew that one line?' Everybody around you, they carry you through and it's incredible."
Even Cobbler co-star Ellen Barkin chimed in with her own SNL memories.
"I had known them since they arrived," the 60-year-old actress said of the now-legendary comedians who appeared on the Manhattan-taped show during its early days.
"I was their waitress. That's correct. ... The year before [the show started.] They were here for a year rehearsing. It was called The Locale," Barkin said of the Greenwich Village bar where she worked. "Yep, we all hung out. ... I have the first-year shirt in my house."
"Wow. ... With Aykroyd and Belushi? That's amazing," Sandler told her.
"Tomorrow night, we're going to this [40th anniversary] thing and I am so excited," Buscemi said moments later.
"Yeah, to be in the room with everybody, it's going to be neat," Sandler added. "And the best part will be Ellen bringing us all drinks. ... We're bringing that back."
The Saturday Night Live 40th anniversary special is to air Sunday night on NBC. It is expected to feature appearances by scores of former cast members, including Eddie Murphy, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Kristen Wiig, Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray, as well as favorite guest hosts such as
Alec Baldwin and Christopher Walken.
The Cobbler is set for limited theatrical relase and will be available via video-on-demand platforms next month. Buscemi and Sandler previously collaborated on the films Billy Madison, The Wedding Singer, Big Daddy, Mr. Deeds, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, and Hotel Transylvania.