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Ana Gasteyer on the power of ‘Saturday Night Live’

Larry King NowNov 16 '16

Ana Gasteyer – who was on ‘Saturday Night Live’ from 1996 to 2002 – explains the staying power of 'SNL,' and why so many of its stars continue to be best known for their time on the sketch show, even decades later.

Larry King: Why, no matter what you do in your life, and you've done so many things, does SNL stick out? Why does that show imprint everyone who's been on it?

Ana Gasteyer: Well, for a few reasons. Saturday Night is, first of all, such a huge brand. As you know by now. I mean it's forty years old. It's been around for a very long time as a piece of pop culture.

Larry King: But it's late night. You know, it's not watched by 50 million people.

Ana Gasteyer: But it's a form breaker, and a form, and a trend setter. It created the idea of parodying culture. Really really before that was a popular thing to do. Even commercial parodies were so radical at the time that they did them. The other thing is that, you know, Lorne has this incredible, Lorne Michaels has this incredible eye for new talent. So it's the first break for many, many people. And it establishes who you are in a different way than even a job on a sitcom might do. I mean, you might hit the lottery and you might get Will and Grace, but for the most part you get a comedy, you build a resume. Saturday Night Live is a, just an instant brand signifier that the entire culture knows who you are, because it's continued to be the only live reflection. I don't know if you watched last Saturday. As soon as these elections come around, everyone goes "Oh, what's gonna happen for Saturday Night Live?" You know, I was singing at a casino, and as soon as the Access Hollywood bus story leaked people were coming up to me on the casino floor saying "I can't wait to see what they do on Saturday Night Live." I think that it's one of the last places that you have an immediate-

Larry King: You know they're gonna do it.

Ana Gasteyer: - social commentary.