You were on MadTV before SNL. What's the biggest difference between MadTV and SNL in the creative/writing process?
happened right after Amanda Show
and before anything else. I was 18 when I did The Amanda Show
, and I was 19 when I did MadTV
, and I was in way over my head. I was just sort of a goof who could do impressions of WB stars — speaking of the Dawson Van Der Beek era — and it was overwhelming. I don't think I've learned more faster in my life than when I worked on MadTV
. The schedule is so different. Here at SNL
, cast and writers hang out together, we all write on Tuesday nights, while there [at MadTV], it was sort of more of an "us and them" — though I befriended some lovely, wonderful writers there, in particular Michael Hitchcock from Waiting for Guffman
and Best in Show
fame, and he had come from The Groundlings Theatre. So when I left Mad
after half a season, that's what I realized: Oh, sketch is what I want to do, but I need to learn how to do it well.
So I went back and started training at The Groundlings in L.A., and I'm so grateful for that.
That's what I'm most grateful for about MadTV
— is that it led me to The Groundlings. It was tough. And also, MadTV
would have live tape nights where they'd bring in an audience and you'd maybe shoot five or six sketches in front of an audience, but for the most part it was all pre-taped. Here [at SNL
] maybe once a week we'll do a three-minute pre-tape, but everything is live.
In my experience, SNL
has Lorne Michaels, who is, you know, the captain of the ship and gives the show direction and a singular focus, whereas MadTV
— even in my 13 episodes there — had maybe one too many cooks and was a bit more chaotic creatively. Whereas here, production is chaotic, but I think creatively we are all pulling the cart in the same direction.