15 Trivia Tidbits About MacGruber
In 2007, Saturday Night Live debuted a character so brilliantly dumb that people immediately wanted more. “MacGruber” was meant to be just a one-off sketch, spoofing MacGyver and the everyday delusional macho man who owns exactly one cotton vest. Instead, Will Forte's mulleted maverick has enjoyed a lifespan longer than the countless people he’s accidentally and purposely blown up over the years.
In that spirit, we’ve MacGrubered together a list of trivia tidbits about the man who likes holes and enjoys creating distractions by sticking soup vegetables up his butt...
Nobody Liked the Pitch at ‘SNL’
MacGruber was the brainchild of The Lonely Island’s Jorma Taccone, who directed the SNL shorts, the 2009 “MacGruber” Pepsi commercial for the Super Bowl, along with the 2010 spin-off film and the 2021 Peacock series. Taccone, however, told New York Magazine that initially, no one was into his wacky idea. “Every Monday, the writers and cast crowd into Lorne’s office, and there’s some wildly famous host that you’re super nervous to talk to, and you have to pitch your ideas,” Taccone remembers. “My pitch that week was a sketch about MacGyver’s stepbrother, MacGruber, who defuses bombs only using pieces of shit and pubic hair. It got a huge groan in the room. It was almost like a boo. People were like, ‘Oh, God, shut up.’” But Taccone kept pitching his ideas to Forte and eventually “wore him down.”
The One Thing That Got Forte to Break Character
During an interview with Collider, Taccone said that he’d never seen Forte ever break character — until episode seven of the Peacock series. There’s a scene in there where Forte raises his butt and lets out a little fart, and of all the things, “That was the thing that broke Will.”
A Fan Figured Out How Old Movie MacGruber Is
Movie critic and mega MacGruber fan Mark Hofmeyer looked at all of the character’s war heroics — including preventing an assassination attempt on Jimmy Carter in 1979 — and calculated that the man with the shiny hair would be around 54 years old in the 2010 movie. Hofmeyer noted that the SNL sketches were no help since one of them stated that MacGruber was born in 1973, which would mean he was six when he helped save Carter and killed an alarming amount of people. Then again, that would be very MacGruber.
MacGruber’s Sex Scene in the Movie was Based on ‘Top Gun’
MacGruber cinematographer Brandon Trost said that they wanted the scene to have a Top Gun feel — “slow, sensual, candles burning for no reason.” Unfortunately, it was also super hot that day, with Forte’s sweat flying all over the place. “Will was just dripping sweat all over (Kristen Wiig), and she was trying to deflect that as it was happening. There are moments in that scene where she is literally laughing with her hands over her face.”
Pepsi Did Not Want to Do a MacGruber Super Bowl Commercial
When the soft drink company approached Lorne Michaels to collaborate on their rebranding commercial for the 2009 Super Bowl, Michaels immediately knew that he wanted to use the MacGruber character. Pepsi, however, wasn’t feeling any of it. “It was incredible,” Seth Meyers told Vanity Fair. “I was in a meeting with Pepsi talking about it. There’s this really interesting thing Lorne does, which is he doesn’t really take no for an answer. He just runs out the clock until all of a sudden, there’s a ‘MacGruber’ Pepsi Super Bowl commercial.”
The Very First ‘MacGruber’ Sketch Was Pitched for Lance Armstrong
Yep, if Taccone’s pitch was accepted the week he originally pitched it at SNL, we might have seen MacGruber ask Lance Armstrong (instead of Jeremy Piven) for some pubic hair to defuse a bomb. So the sketch about a deplorable MacGyver-wannabe seemed destined to feature a disgraced celebrity guest either way.
A ‘MacGyver’ Clip Inspired That Celery-Butt Scene in the Movie
As Forte revealed during an interview: “We were all writing in my apartment, and I was working on that scene where Wiig is pulling the bullet out of my leg. Those guys were looking at MacGyver clips, and they saw a thing where he has a number of items assembled. There’s a carrot there. He says something about what he’s going to do, and they say, ‘How are you going to use the carrot?’ And he says, ‘I’m hungry,’ and takes a bite out of the carrot.”
Forte Was Adamant About Writing the Exact Amount of Lovemaking Grunts for the Movie Scene
According to co-writer and co-director John Solomon, Forte “was very particular about getting into the script the right amount of grunts. There was a lot of going back and forth: ‘Does it need one more grunt?’”
Thanks, ‘Walker Texas Ranger’
Taccone told Consequence of Sound that the Chuck Norris show has had an overlooked influence on the character: “I would say that Walker Texas Ranger is a bigger influence on MacGruber than I would like to admit. There was an episode of Walker Texas Ranger where a wedding was blown up with a rocket launcher, I believe, so we do have to give it up for that show. It has some gems in it.”
The Movie Pissed Off the ‘MacGyver’ Creator
Leading up to the release of the MacGruber movie, MacGyver creator Lee Zlotoff argued that he alone retained the right to make a film based on his TV show. When Zlotoff heard about a MacGruber being developed, his attorney sent cease-and-desist letters arguing rights infringement. However, an official lawsuit was never filed, possibly because parody is generally considered fair use.
Thanks, Robert Rodriguez
The 2010 film had a budget of just $10 million, and Taccone said he ended up watching a string of Rodriguez's films along with their commentary tracks to learn how to create inexpensive special effects.
The ‘80s Effects
Taccone told ComingSoon.net that when he sat down to talk to cinematographer Brandon Trost about movies like Die Hard, Lethal Weapon and RoboCop, they realized the style they envisioned was right there. “Anytime it was an exterior scene, we would wet down the street. ... Anytime it was an interior, we smoked it up as much as possible, no matter whether there should be smoke or not,” Taccone explained. “That works out really well for the love scenes, but it's crazy. You go back and look at Lethal Weapon, and you’re like, ‘Why is there so much smoke in this parking lot?’ There’s smoke in every scene; it just makes it look cool. That’s really what we were going for.”
Forte’ s Mom Was On Set the Day He Filmed the Celery Scene
That wasn’t even the worst part. “Mom seemed fine with it,” Forte told The Ringer. “I think I saw her, and maybe she even gave me a little wave and was smiling. Behind her were just these aghast faces of her two friends who could not believe what they were having to watch.”
The Joke That Finally Made It Into the Series
Forte and Taccone told Variety that they only disagreed on one potential line for the movie. During the scene where MacGruber bangs the ghost of his dead wife (Maya Rudolph), he says, “Oh, and Casey, thanks,” before leaving. Forte originally wanted to say, “Oh, and Casey, smell you later.” Taccone felt it was “too jokey,” but the line eventually got its time to shine in the MacGruber TV series.
Someone On the Film Set Was Very into Those Celery Sticks
There seems to be no end to hilarious stories involving the celery bit. Forte told Rolling Stones that a random guy on set was quite, uh, taken by the celeries Forte carried around between his butt cheeks. “I’m doing all these very delicate procedures to get ready for the thing, and there was some guy back there who would chat me up a little bit,” Forte revealed. “I just thought that he was part of the security team. Later, I found out he was just a random guy, and he had collected all of the used celeries. I don’t know what he did with them. Maybe he just threw them away. All I know is that this guy had collected these celeries that we were using, and I often wonder A) what he was doing there? And B) what he did with the celery?”
We just hope he had nothing to do with craft services.