When Fred Armisen got a call from a generic NBC phone number, and the person on the other end told him he'd landed a gig on Saturday Night Live, he saved the number in his phone as "Best Call Ever", then proceeded to freak out. So, if you're seeing SNL's need to replace Bill Hader, Fred Armisen, Jason Sudeikis, and Seth Meyers as your golden opportunity to finally audition for the show, take heart. Armisen says when it comes to auditioning, "There's no science to it." You, too, could be on the receiving end of a similar phone call. And according to many of the cast members, their auditions didn't even elicit any laughs from the venerable Lorne Michaels.
In the New York Times piece "The God of 'SNL' Will See You Now," 22 former and current cast members recall their hysterical audition experiences, and the set of stories reads as a playbook for pleasing Michaels. Kristen Wiig bought a stopwatch to make sure she didn't go over the recommended five-minute limit on stage; Bill Hader sized up his competition, later realizing it was Andy Samberg; Will Ferrell entered a meeting with Michaels planning to jokingly bribe him with Monopoly money, but got so scared that he didn't end up doing it.
Cast members also offered up their completely inspiring stories about their lives leading up to their life-changing audition — even if that was just what they were doing the day before. Molly Shannon used her waitressing money to make a tape of her best characters (and was mugged right after her audition); Tracy Morgan had a wife, three sons, and was on welfare; Cheri Oteri was temping in Disney's legal office. Though the cast have vivid memories of their lives before their fateful audition days, Armisen notes that the actual audition is a bit of a blur: "The best thing in your life you don't have a memory of because they go by so quickly." Check out the full feature, though be warned: You may feel tempted to quit your day job. (New York Times)