Whoosh! Issue 30 - March 1999

ON THE SET OF SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE
IAXS project #658
By Michele Helberg
Copyright © 1998 held by author
1026 words



Finding Out Who Your Real Friends Are (01)
Tickets and Tapert (02)
The Green Room (03)
The Missing Sketch (04)
The Broadcast Sketches (05-06)
A Happy Ending (07)
Biography



On The Set Of Saturday Night Live



But do they validate?


A very rare ticket.



Finding Out Who Your Real Friends Are

[1] One of the reasons we are all so drawn to Xena: Warrior Princess is the friendship that exists between its two heroes. If you are lucky, you can look at your own life and find that you have a friendship as strong as Xena and Gabrielle's. I am that lucky, and on Saturday, October 17, 1998, my dear friend and I saw Lucy Lawless at work. "LIVE FROM NEW YORK, IT'S SATURDAY NIGHT!"


Tickets and Tapert

[2] My friend happens to be connected to the entertainment industry and managed to get us two tickets to the live 11:30 pm taping. These tickets were not just any tickets though. These netted us admission to the green room.

[2] We arrived at Rockefeller Center around 10 pm as instructed and were shown to the elevators taking us upstairs to the VIP seating area. The page at the elevator pointed us in the direction of a line of people waiting to get in to the floor seating. Everyone in line had tickets that appeared to be different from ours, and we later learned that the page had accidently put us in the wrong line. This was okay with me though because while waiting to get in, Robert Tapert came down the hall right past us. The sight of the man who created the Xenaverse we all love made the whole thing real for the first time that night. From there things only got better.


The Green Room

[3] Once we got to the head of the ticket holder line, they realized the error and sent us down the hall into the green room. The room was surprisingly small and full of industry types lounging on sofas and watching the Yankees game. Finally at 11:25 pm the television was switched to NBC for Lucy's big Saturday Night Live debut. The pre-show buzz was that Lucy was surprising people all over the studio with her talents.


The Missing Sketch

Rehearsing 'MUSES' without makeup and costume


This skit was cut from broadcast, but partially preserved for commercial promotion.


[4] I did not know this about Saturday Night Live going in, but they tape a rehearsal before the actual show. It is done in front of an audience, and it gives everyone the chance to try things out before the real show. The musical guest does two extra songs, and the rehearsal usually includes about three extra sketches. One such sketch cut from the broadcast was the one seen in commercials showing Molly Shannon and Lucy dancing together. This sketch was not cut to avoid controversy, as some have implied in the chat rooms. Instead, it was cut because Lucy and one of the SNL writers decided to go with the idea that was used in the opening. The feeling was that Lucy wanted to have the chance to show her talents beyond certain aspects of the Xena persona, and that she did.


The Broadcast Sketches

[5] Lucy's first sketch was Judge Judy, and she was so good in it that my friend did not even realize it was her until after the sketch was over and I told him. I should explain that in the green room you watch the show behind soundproof glass and on the television set inside the room. After the sketch was over, Lucy seemed to really get into the grove, quickly moving from set to her quick change and back to the next sketch.

[6] My favorite moment of the night had to have been Lucy's Stevie Nicks impersonation. Not only were the look and the speaking voice dead on, but as a Fleetwood Mac fan her singing voice was very close to the legendary rocker. Many in the green room unfamiliar with Lucy's singing abilities were very impressed by her vocal performance.


A Happy Ending

[7] As the evening came to a close, the buzz in the green room was that Lucy was sure to get film offers from her stint on Saturday Night Live. Having watched the cast and crew clear the stage after, they waved good-bye, we headed out. Upon entering the hallway I again saw Robert Tapert, and the evening had come full circle. Although I did not get to see Lucy face to face, the evening was a perfect one. I was entertained by one of my favorite actresses, found myself proud to be a Xena fan, and spent the night enjoying the whole thing with a really great friend. What more could a girl ask?



Biography

Michele Helberg Michele Helberg
After taking some time off from theatre, having graduated with a BFA in theatre design/production, Michele is now paying her dues in commercial theatre in New York City. She currently works as an assistant in a theatrical office and in her spare time enjoys anything entertainment related, whether movies, television or theatre. She enjoys most shows in the sci-fi/fantasy genre especially Xena and The X-Files. If anyone should speak poorly about her shows, she breaks out a tape and let's them see first hand how great they are. Her weekends now include organizing viewing parties at friend's apartments to catch up on the latest adventures of Xena, Gabrielle, Scully and Mulder. Overall she is impressed by the Xena following in New York City and is proud to be a "Hardcore Nutball".
Favorite episode: A DAY IN THE LIFE (39/215); THE QUEST (37/213); BEEN THERE, DONE THAT (48/302); THE BITTER SUITE (58/312). She is a theatre fan after all.
Favorite line: Gabrielle: "I'll rise but I refuse to shine." BEEN THERE, DONE THAT (48/302); Xena: "Been there, done that, didn't work." BEEN THERE, DONE THAT (48/302); Autolycus: "Would you calm down? There's barely enough room up here for my paranoia." THE QUEST (37/213).
First episode seen: HERE SHE COMES MISS AMPHIPOLIS (35/211)
Least favorite episode: THE TITANS (07/107); A SOLSTICE CAROL (33/209).

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