Cruelty to Colin Jost Is the Secret to Sarah Sherman’s ‘SNL’ Success
Sarah Sherman has broken out faster than most Saturday Night Live featured players, and repeatedly poking Colin Jost in the eye might be the secret of her success. It’s a running gag that hasn’t got tired yet: “This just in: Local pervert Colin Jost claims he’s seen most people’s nipples.”
She took it to another level when “Weekend Update field correspondent” Sherman took viewers on an SNL tour that ended up in Jost’s supposed office, or as the show’s female interns like to call it, “the Chamber of Secrets.” She finds another intern trapped in a cage, as well as a wall of Sarah Sherman photographs that look like a serial killer created a collage.
Then, what could have been a crucial mistake turned into one of Sherman’s best moments of the season. “I’m supposed to hold up a bikini-babe picture of me,” she told Dana Carvey and David Spade on this week’s Fly on the Wall podcast. “It was like a bodybuilder body with a bikini with my head photoshopped on it.” The intended joke was Sherman grilling Jost for having so many pictures of her plastered in his dressing room. “I go to hold up the picture, but during the live show, I accidentally threw it. So I go to hold up the big punchline and…”
Sherman: “Oh, what’s all this then?” (The prop-picture flies out of frame.) “Oh, that thing that I threw?”
Cut to Jost practically falling out of his chair with laughter. It wasn’t just how well Sherman covered the goof. SNL writer Dan Bulla knew that Jost was also losing it because Sarah would be staring at cue cards full of jokes that no longer made sense. But she rolled right through it, a moment that will undoubtedly make Sherman’s Best Of SNL reel someday.
“Everybody afterwards was like, “That’s the magic of live TV! Anything can happen!’” a frustrated Sherman told Carvey and Spade. “Well, it would have been funny if I could have gotten to my fucking punchline!”
Keeping interns locked in cages is actually mild compared to the pain Sherman wanted to inflict on Jost. When presented with the opportunity to do a Weekend Update report from a remote location, Jost’s dressing room was not Sherman’s first choice.
“Initially I wanted to go into a bathroom and go to a toilet that was filled with piss,” Sherman confessed, a bit that would fit right in her comically grotesque Sarah Squirm stage shows. The plan was to ask Jost, “Colin, is this your piss? It's really dehydrated!” The reaction in the writers’ room: “Oh, okay. Haha. Maybe not.”
But expect to see more of Sherman kicking Jost in the pants. “The whole reason, the only reason the bit works,” Sherman says, “is because I'm like ‘you're a pedophile!’ and he's laughing and laughing.”
Carvey wants more, noting that there’s something about Jost’s amiable, almost conservative face that invites a punch. “Roasting him,” says Carvey, “there’s a magic to it.”