Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Via Mark Evanier's invaluable blog News From Me, I read an interview with Lorne Michaels in which he makes the surprising claim that he's been trying to get Betty White to host Saturday Night Live for "decades" now. Well, "surprising" probably isn't the right word; let's sub in "preposterous."
It wasn't until her appearance in a Super Bowl ad that the Facebook groundswell for the ancient White to host SNL began in earnest. But if we're to believe Lorne Michaels, she was old news, so to speak, by that time. So when exactly was she first considered? When she had an extended cameo in the Sandra Bullock chick flick The Proposal? During the halcyon days of Golden Palace? Come on, Lorne - Cheech Marin had a better chance of being asked to host SNL at that point. Even during the Golden Girls days, Estelle Getty had the best shot at filling any batty-old-lady part. And in the 1970s, Betty White was exactly the kind of TV celebrity Michaels did not want hosting the show.
Lorne Michaels' position in comedy and in television history is secure. The Betty White choice was an anomaly, a left-field pick that worked out quite well, if you ask me. It doesn't do Lorne any good to pretend it was a long-planned event.
Personally, I've wanted Betty White to host SNL ever since she appeared on the classic Password episode of The Odd Couple: