Will Forte and Jason Sudeikis will be slipping into their ‘Saturday Night Live‘ characters of ESPN Classics sports commentators Greg Stink and Pete Twinkle to host Sunday night’s ‘SNL Presents: Sports All-Stars’ which will feature some of the more memorable sports-themed sketches in the show’s 35-year history.
But those clips don’t figure to feature much of the two performers themselves since their portrayal of athletes on the show seems pretty limited. Forte once putting on a track suit to play Bruce Jenner but had no dialogue in that sketch. Sudeikis had a little more fun playing the legendary college basketball coach Bobby Knight.
“That was a lot of fun because I got to yell at Seth [Myers],” he said. “I got to wear like a red sweater and they put me in a very, very white wig and made my nose a little red and then I just got to yell my head off.”
One thing you won’t see on Sunday is are any of the gags made famous by Conan O’Brien including Triumph the Insult Comic Dog or the Masturbating Bear. NBC has the intellectual rights to those characters now that O’Brien has left the network.
Responding to a question from Fancast, both Forte and Sudeikis seemed reluctant to ever touch them.
“It would be like trying to remake the movie ‘The Jerk,'” Forte said. “It’s been done to perfection…I would never want to use them. They’re his.”
Sudeikis jokingly said: “Maybe we’d use them in a dramatic piece” and he suggested having the Masturbating Bear be Stanley in ‘A Streetcar Named Desire.’
Among the athletes to be featured on Sunday’s special are Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Charles Barkley, LeBron James, Michael Jordan and Derek Jeter. Forte and Sudeikis point to Manning as a athlete who best made the leap to comedy performer.
“Peyton Manning hosted the show a couple years ago so we love the guy and there are a lot of things in this show that are from his show,” said Forte who is rooting for the New Orleans Saints to win the Super Bowl next month.
But don’t expect to see any Winter Olympics material on the special even though NBC is carrying The Games..
“Most of it is just the classics from the past,” said Forte. “The only new stuff is the stuff that Jason and I do. We don’t believe there’s anything with regards to the upcoming Olympics. We work for NBC and we already know who wins everything. We’d be putting the nation in a pickle.”
Asked how they ended up as hosts for the special, Sudeikis joked: “The producers asked us — Lorne [Michaels] and Steve Higgins — they asked us if we wanted to do it and we said no and then they were like “You have to contractually.” And then we said “No, we’ll quit.” And then they said “Oh, seriously?” And we’re like “No we’re just screwing with you, yeah we’ll do it.”
Forte jumps right into the gag and adds: Then they said “We don’t want you to do it anymore” and then it was this long wooing-back process.”
Both men were a bit cagey about which sketches will actually be on the special but chances are we’ll see each of their favorite sports-related sketches ever.
Said Forte: Mine has got to be the — pretty hands down the synchronized swimming sketch with Martin Short and Harry Shearer. I love that so much. Just everything about it; there’s nothing about it I don’t like. But if I had to boil it down to exactly what I liked it’s just Martin Short, the way he looks and his hair, the nose plugs and, yeah, just everything about it, his floaties — he’s just — it is perfection.
Added Sudeikis: “I would say I’m a big fan — we reference this actually in the show — of the Stuart Smalley with Michael Jordan.
The two SNL veterans have come to really enjoy collaborating on SNL and on Sunday night’s special.
“For some reason, Jason and I didn’t really write together until a couple of years ago,” Forte said. “I just have so much fun doing stuff with him, I can’t believe there was a time we didn’t write together. It’s never not fun.”