One ‘SNL’ Cast Member’s Audition Made His Mom Take Up Smoking

‘You do your best stand-up that you’ve worked on so hard to zero laughs’
One ‘SNL’ Cast Member’s Audition Made His Mom Take Up Smoking

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“The audition is scary,” says Saturday Night Live cast member Marcello Hernández, now midway through his second season on the show. Considering the showbiz break that SNL represents, a tryout would be terrifying for anyone. Still, it’s especially nerve-racking if all you do is stand-up with no characters to fall back on, he told Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show. “I did stand-up 12 times a week, maybe more. And then you get to the audition, you do your best stand-up that you’ve worked on so hard to zero laughs,” Hernández said. “And then right after, your mom calls you and goes, ‘So how did it go?’"

What do you tell your mom in a situation like that? “I thought it went awful,” he admitted. “I didn’t know what to say."

But it sounds like the audition process was harder on Hernández’s mom than it was on the young comic. “My mom was so nervous,” he explained, “she started smoking cigarettes while we were waiting to find out if I got it or not.”

Wait a minute, interrupted Fallon. She actually started smoking because of the audition?

Like a chimney. “She would call me and she’d be like, ‘So have they told you if you got it?’” Hernández said, imitating his mom taking a long, tortured drag on a Menthol 100. “And I’m like, ‘No, are you smoking a cigarette?’ And she’s like, ‘Yes, I started yesterday. Now tell me.’"

The good news for Mrs. Hernández’s lungs? “I got (SNL), and then she quit cigarettes.”

Marcello’s mom became SNL famous when Hernández teamed up with Pedro Pascal for two breakout sketches featuring the actor as an alternate universe version of Hernández’s mom. Those bits have increased his visibility on the show, but Hernández confessed to recreating his no-laughs experience from time to time, like this week’s idea session with host Josh Brolin. “I had a pitch and I got zero laughs,” he told Fallon. “I kept talking, and Lorne looked at me and goes (insert standard Lorne Michaels impression here), ‘Are you done?’”

Fallon revealed that before Hernández’s SNL audition, The Tonight Show was trying to book the comic to do stand-up, but everything happened so fast that it never happened. “I was so excited to do it. It’s obviously a dream of mine to do stand-up on this show,” Hernández said. But “I got SNL, which is a great consolation prize.” 


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