Will Forte dropped by Reddit on Friday for an AMA to promote his new film Nebraska, and he answered plenty of interesting questions about SNL, the MacGruber sequel, Tim and Eric, Clone High, and more. Here are some of Forte’s best responses from the thread, from the names of the Jon Bovi guys to his advice for aspiring comedic writers.
On his SNL audition:
I did Tim Calhoun, a speed reader, a prison guard that yelled at people and another thing I used to do at the Groundlings Theater (perhaps my favorite sketch I’ve ever done) called the Gold Man – I’m one of those Gold Men on the streets that moves when people put money in their bowl – I get my money stolen and then sing a sweet song about the hard life of a Gold Man that ends in the reveal that I suck cock for my facepaint. From there on out, most of the rest of the song is about cock and facepaint – in fact, those are the only two words I use for the final two minutes of the song – I must have sang the word cock like 200 times by the end of it. As I walked out of the audition, Lorne thanked me for coming and I shook his hand and said “Sorry for all the cocks.” The next day, I found out I got the job. I guess it was the perfect amount of cocks!
Eric Slovin from the comedy team Slovin and Allen came up with the Falconer idea. I had nothing and he said that he was gonna say five words and we were gonna write a sketch about one of them. And then he said: “dental hygienist… construction worker… falconer… tennis player… chef.” and we all agreed that a Falconer was the way to go and the three of us went to work coming up with the idea. It was very late at night – or morning – like 5:00am when we started it. Thanks so much for liking it!
I don’t even remember how we came up with that stuff. It just kinda happened. We originally tried to write a sketch using “model t cars, jars of beer, toddlers and spaceships” in existing songs like Kenny Loggins’ Danger Zone but it would have been too expensive to produce so we just made up original songs. And Jonah Hill was really good about championing the sketch after the table read. Thanks for liking that one – it’s one of my favorites I ever got to do at SNL.
The hardest probably was when Bill Hader and I did a sketch with Josh Brolin called Fartface. It bombed so hard so it was tough to mentally stay in it. But we plowed through it!
I think that’s my favorite sketch I ever got to do at SNL. That was one I wrote with John Lutz (the guy that played Lutz on 30 Rock). He came into my office with that crazy song (“Casino Royale”) and I told him about an idea I had from years before in which a coach used a weird song to motivate his team and we went from there. The funny thing is that we wrote the whole thing just thinking that I would play the song and listen to it the whole time. But right as we were about to turn the sketch in, Lutz said “Why don’t you dance while the song is playing or something.” I can’t believe we almost didn’t think of that because that’s the whole sketch! Thanks again for liking it!
That’s one I used to do when I was at the Groundlings (a sketch/improv comedy theater in LA). I used to go on forever with the letters – sometimes like double the SNL version of the sketch. I was really nervous because it was the last sketch of the night before Neil Young played and I was scared that he wouldn’t have enough time to do his song so I did it a little shorter than I normally would have. In hindsight, I should have just kept saying letters until they hauled me off the stage. But it was so fun to get to do that one at SNL – that’s one that’s really close to my heart!
I think I would have to say Jon Bovi was my favorite. So fun to do that with Sudsy. And I don’t think we ever got to say this, but our character’s names were Dick Thickness and Girth Evans. Now you know!
In the writing process but Jorma, John Solomon and I are all so damn busy, it’s been hard to get together. It is a priority though and we will write it soon!
Tim and Eric get you there very quickly – they create such a fun environment in which to go crazy. As for Fortin with Will, I was really concerned about the kids, so I spent a great deal of time in between takes becoming friends with them and letting them know that what I was about to do was all just make believe – those kids are so awesome in that – they really make that sketch!
As for Abe and Joan, I hope one day we’ll get another crack at Clone High so we can answer these unresolved questions. I loved that show and thought it ended too soon!
Advice: do what YOU think is funny at every step of the way. A lot of times, people try to talk you into doing stuff that makes you compromise your comedy. Do not EVER let that happen. Believe in yourself to the hilt!