Early last week our cast was told that representatives from Saturday Night Live would be coming to our show this Wednesday (last night). This, of course, is cause for excitement and anxiety, but then more so when we found out yesterday that Lorne Michaels, the man himself, would be part of that group. Now, this is going to sound like I’m playing it really cool, but a) if you’ve been reading this blog at all, you know it is virtually impossible for me to play anything cool and b) no, I’m serious; I really wasn’t that nervous. I think the reasons for this are multi-fold. First, unlike when they come to watch an improv show, there is much less left to chance in the mainstage show. Sure – timing can vary, my voice can quiver adorably as I struggle though a couple of songs, but generally, you know what you’re going to go out there and do. Second, I had no hand in writing this show, so in a way I felt like I was there to hold the show together for the benefit of those who created it. Who knows what SNL is looking for – performers, writers, both – but certainly knowing that someone created the material they’re performing is important and beneficial. Finally, and probably most importantly, I just got here. That’s not to say I wouldn’t want to be hired by SNL or whomever, but if the worst thing that happens to me is that I have to stay in Chicago and write my first mainstage show, I’m doing ok.
So Lorne & the gang were there last night; we were all guilty of peeking out from the curtains to see them. They didn’t stay for the improv set, which disappointed me a little at first, but it was probably a blessing for us. I think we were all a little giddy and ready to blow off some steam, and we had a really good set. It would have been nice for him to have seen it, but had he been there, it probably wouldn’t have been as good.
I have a theory about an interesting phenomenon that occured last night. After the show, several audience members mentioned Lorne Michaels being there, asked us if we knew, if we were nervous, etc. They all seemed very excited about it. I had noticed that the crowd last night was very responsive and appreciative, and I wondered if it was because they knew SNL was there. If somehow they had, consciously or not, allied themselves with us and decided to help us out. I’d like to think that’s the case.
I’ll close with this. My fellow cast member Maribeth put it very nicely last night: it’s wonderful to be at a point in your career where the producer of Saturday Night Live is coming you watch just you and five other people perform for two hours. I’ll take it.