At the Academy of Television Arts & Science’s panel discussion, “An Evening with Saturday Night Live,” moderated by Jimmy Fallon, Lorne Michaels clarified the backstory on how he ended up casting Betty White to host the Mother’s Day edition of the show on May 8. He said he’d actually thought about casting White as early as February, when she was at an Academy event honoring Don Pardo, and “she was unbelievably funny and charming, a real strong presence. The Facebook campaign [to pressure Michaels into getting White to host] was just beginning, and then it started gaining momentum, and we were all aware of it. The audience cast it.” And then Michaels called White — as well as Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Ana Gasteyer, Rachel Dratch, Molly Shannon, and Maya Rudolph — and a Mother’s Day Special was born. (Jay-Z will be the musical guest.) But, honestly, why had it taken THIS long for White to get her first hosting gig on SNL? “I’m sure we offered Betty White the show in the seventies, eighties, and nineties, as well,” said Michaels, wearily. “And she’s 88 now, so, um, she’s ready.” See more from SNL cast members in our Party Lines slide show.BEGIN SLIDESHOW
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