Seth Meyers's Big Gay Saturday Night

SNL funnyman Seth Meyers talks to Advocate.com about last week's episode of Saturday Night Live -- the gayest episode in the history of the show, by some accounts. With touches including Justin Timberlake as Beyoncé's backup dancer and Snagglepuss crashing Weekend Update, it caused some bloggers to take offense ... but Meyers says it's just the sort of stuff that stemmed from many discussions about Prop. 8.

BY Corey Scholibo

November 19 2008 1:00 AM ET

With all the
controversy surrounding same-sex marriage last week, gay
Americans tuned into Saturday Night Live to see
the political parody that would ensue. While we were
expecting one, maybe two mentions, we were surprised
to find a show that was almost entirely gay-themed.
Some people were amused, and some, particularly
several gay bloggers, accused SNL of hurting
the movement by creating one-dimensional or stereotypical
gay characters. We caught up with 35-year-old
SNL head writer Seth Meyers in the middle of
his read-through for this week's show, to ask him his
response to those claims and also to find out how created
the gayest episode of Saturday Night Live ever.

Advocate.com:I talked to Tina Fey recently, who credited you with
most of her impersonation of Sarah Palin as you wrote
the sketches. When you were writing those, were
you thinking specifically about the moments that
you were discussing gay rights or was it sort of,
everything about Palin is hilarious?
Seth Meyers: We sort of hit everything. As I
keep pointing out, everyone was paying so much attention to
her that you could sort of play with the minutiae.

Fey is really reluctant to admit that she or you
had anything to do with “taking Palin
down,” but I think the public feels that
you and she were very important in pointing out her
hypocrisies in way that pundits were unable to do.
It was funny, because the vice-presidential
debate, which was probably my favorite of the
sketches, we also hit on Biden and that one slips by.

That was a weird moment for gay people in America
when the candidate that they supported was forced into
the corner and came out against us in some ways.
Yeah, when it came down to a yes or no answer,
it was like very clearly no. [Laughs]

But I want to talk about last Saturday. Was it a
conscious effort on your part to write a very gay episode?
This is the honest truth: It really
wasn’t. That’s just not how our show
works. We’re not a top-down show where we have a
meeting on Monday and assign stuff. Everyone goes off
and writes their own thing. Certainly it was more than
I think anyone expected, but I think with what was in the
air and with Proposition 8, I think different people had
different ideas. Once that happens it just turns into
a meritocracy on the pieces.

So were there even more sketches about this subject
that didn’t make the show.
Not that many. For instance, Paul [Rudd] was a
fan of one of our last scenes, “The Mechanic
Bill,” and a couple of others. If you went piece by
piece, each one had a reason for why it was in, and the
reason would be boring.

Did you conceive the Snagglepuss sketch? That is the thing where you have a new cast
member, Bobby Moynihan, and one of the things he
auditioned with was Snagglepuss. I can tell you, as a
new cast member your radar is always up to find ways to get
the stuff you brought with you on the air. As it
turned out that was a pretty funny way to get it in.
Because bringing Snagglepuss on Weekend Update was
going to be a pretty tough sell unless there was some sort
of in.

OK, so everyone comes back from writing and you are
in a room, and I assume Paul Rudd is there and they are
pitching their ideas ...
The way it works is that there is a
read-through. There are about 45 pieces, and of those
we pick about 12, and of those 12, about seven or
eight went into the show.

Right, and so all of you come in the room to pitch
the sketches, and is there a moment where you are like, Look,a lot of us seem to be doing a lot of gay sketches?
To some degree. Not to minimize, it but we are
having the same issue this week with Thanksgiving.
[Laughs] When you have to do 22 of these shows
a year, sometimes you just do the biggest story or
whatever everyone is talking about. I will say that it
will be much harder with Thanksgiving because they
will all look the same, where as with last week there
were a lot of different looks.

Then you
have “The Kissing Family Scene,” not a
scene that anybody here considered to be about gay
rights or gay themes in general. That was written for
a previous episode earlier in the year, and that reached its
destination because it was heightening a nonsexual,
affectionate family. Against a backdrop of everything
else we were doing, I guess some people took it to be
about that.

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