Jerry Seinfeld Had ‘SNL’ Hosting Advice for Nate Bargatze
The self-effacing Nate Bargatze made the talk-show rounds last week in disbelief that a guy like him could be asked to host Saturday Night Live. He’s been a stand-up for 20 years, but it’s only recently that his career has ascended to these kinds of possibilities. “I’m grateful that it took this long,” Bargatze told TODAY.com, “because I think I’m much more prepared for the stuff I’m going to be put into now.”
How is an ordinary stand-up comic supposed to take on a job as big as hosting SNL? Bargatze turned to one of his idols, Jerry Seinfeld, for advice. The former sitcom star didn’t have any wisdom about developing funny characters or holding one’s own against Kenan Thompson and Chloe Fineman. Instead, Seinfeld offered up this nugget: “The monologue. That’s why you’re there. That’s your job.”
Bargatze took the advice to heart. “I just kind of follow whatever that dude says. There’s just so much he’s talked about comedy that I do,” he explained. “I don’t wear short sleeves on shirts because he said not to.”
Er, Bargatze is taking sartorial advice from Seinfeld?
Bargatze confesses that Seinfeld never told him not to wear short sleeves directly. But in the documentary Comedian, Seinfeld joked about not wearing short sleeves and, well, “I’m just like, ‘Alright. I won’t do it.’”
As for that monologue, Bargatze worked the hell out of it, and it was one of the strongest parts of the show. “This is obviously a breakthrough moment for him,” said Entertainment Weekly’s review, “and he delivers.”
The idea of Bargatze needing SNL advice was something of a running gag in the week leading up to the show. Even in the promos, Bargatze played the Guy Who Didn’t Deserve to Host, apologizing to Andrew Dismukes and Devon Walker for reading scripts on an empty set. “I’m probably not supposed to be in here.”
Knock it off, says Dismukes. You’re the host! You can be anywhere you want! Bargatze’s problem? “You’re too nice,” Dismukes offered dismissively. “Mr. Nice Guy.”
So what was Bargatze supposed to do? Dismukes and Walker provided some more SNL wisdom: “You got to be more Hollywood! More edgy!”
Bargatze considered the input. “I can do that,” he said before taking coffee from new cast member Chloe Troast and whipping it to the floor. Check out the video to see Bargatze embracing his inner a-hole, ripping up cue cards, spray-painting monitors and smashing guitars.
So how did he do? “Honestly, great,” approved Dismukes.
“That was awesome,” agreed Walker.
Troast gave him two thumbs up, too. “Really good.”
So hosting SNL isn’t really all that hard. You just need advice from the pros.