Last month, Saturday Night Live hired everyone from the LA-based sketch group Good Neighbor onto the show except for member Nick Rutherford. Good Neighbor’s Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett were hired as featured players, while Dave McCary was brought on as a director, with all of them set to debut on tomorrow night’s season premiere. Rutherford, an actor/writer/standup, spoke about the situation publicly for the first time on the latest episode of DJ Douggpound’s podcast, The Poundcast.
Rutherford tells his side of the story, explaining that he and Beck Bennett auditioned for Lorne Michaels individually at a showcase in LA this summer. Kyle Mooney had been flown out to New York to audition the previous year. Rutherford, Bennett, and McCary took a drinks meeting with Michaels and some writers from the show at the Beverly Hills Hotel the night before the showcase. “It was a high-pressure situation,” says Rutherford. “But it went fine. It was a good meeting, and it was fun. We all got to know each other. We moved on from there, and the showcase was the next night.” Describing the meeting with Michaels, he adds, “It was a big group, so I don’t know if we fucked up or what. I mean, I clearly fucked up, but [Lorne] just kind of sat and nodded and lot and would be like ‘We don’t know what we’re gonna do as far as…’ He was very guarded. He would only release a little bit of information at a time and would talk very slowly.”
After the showcase, the other three members of the group were hired on, and Rutherford was not. He was asked to submit a writing packet. “Before I could even turn that packet in — it was half a week later — it was clear, ‘There’s no way they’re gonna hire you.’” He doesn’t mention a reason for being excluded during the interview, but he talks about being disappointed that SNL hiring the rest of Good Neighbor means the group’s Will Ferrell and Adam McKay-produced Comedy Central pilot, The Good Neighbor Show, won’t be moving forward.
When asked by Douggpound if the other Good Neighbor guys want to try to get him on the show in the future, Rutherford responds, “I mean, that’s all that’s ever talked about is like, ‘Oh, we gotta get you out here. We’re gonna get you out here.’ But, you know, I’ve been burned, man … We had dreams and plans, and they were set in place.” Douggpound also asked if he’d want to audition again for SNL next year, if asked. Rutherford’s reply: “You know what? I don’t know. It depends on a lot of things.”
“I’m not too worried,” explains Rutherford. “The hardest part about all of this is I will see people who know me and know what’s going on, and they [act] … like a sibling just died, but they don’t know what to say. It’s like, ‘It’s cool, man.’ They kind of skirt around [it]. They don’t even mention it.”
“This is not that dramatic,” he continues. “I mean, it was dramatic, but I don’t want people to listen to this and be like, ‘Oh man, I should send Nick some flowers.’” In an ironic twist, Rutherford mentions that, since being turned down by SNL, he’s been promoted to a producer at Fox ADHD, SNL’s new competition where he had previously been working as a writer.
Check out the full interview from The Poundcast here.