Sunday, May 19, 2013

Farewell to Bill Hader

Last night Saturday Night Live bid farewell to one of my favorite performers, and certainly one of the more valuable assets in Lorne Michael's cast in recent history.

Bill Hader arrived at SNL in 2005, and really without a lot of splash or fanfare.  He was just a guy, a new cast member... nothing seemingly remarkable or unremarkable about him.

He just looks like a dude you could be friends with, right?
As time wore on however, I remember Hader quietly appearing in more and more and more sketches.  I remember texting my brother Chuck one night saying something along the lines of "Bill Hader has been in every sketch so far!".

Not only was he gaining more exposure on the show, he was creating some wonderful recurring characters.

The first one I remember striking a chord with me is Italian talk show host, Vinny Vedecci.

Some other favorites who would appear from time to time:  Greg the Alien, newscaster Herb Welch, game show host Lyle Round (Hader is arguably the greatest fake "game show host" of all time, hosting any number of different wacky shows), Lindsey Buckingham from What's Up With That, and Nitro from Laser Cats.

And, he did an amazing job as Vincent Price, in any number of "Holiday Themed" specials, like this one:

Another of my favorite impressions of Hader's was James Carville.  Just Brilliant.

Other famous Hader impressions include:  Al Pacino, Dateline NBC's Keith Morrison, and former Governor Elliot Spitzer.

But the most famous, noteworthy, and beloved of Hader's characters is Weekend Update's  City Correspondent, Stefon.

(All Streaming videos linked from

Probably the best thing about the "Stefon" character was that Hader would consistently start laughing during the sketch, and "break character".  Hader has admitted in interviews that this is because as he is reading the prompter...writer John Mulaney (who co-created Stefon with Hader) slips new dialog and descriptions into what Stefon is saying.  Which leads to Hader often putting his hands on his face to hide his "giggles".

A sight very familiar to SNL watchers.
I'm sure that Saturday Night Live will be fine, it's survived this long for a reason, and there are always "new guys" to pick up the slack.

But I'm going to miss Bill.  He was one of those performers who, whenever he was on would make you feel like "this sketch has a chance...Hader is in it!".  I think that's about the highest compliment you can give an SNL performer.

PS... during the "Closing" of last night's season finale of SNL... seeing Hader and Jason Sedeikis hug each other and then wipe tears away... that was pretty cool.  Sedeikis will probably get his own post when he leaves the show.

1 comment:

  1. What the heck? In my "preview" the embedded links to the NBC streaming video showed up perfectly.

    Trying to figure this out.