Seth Meyers Remembers SNL Skit Disaster That Haunts Steve Martin

Exploring the highs and lows of SNL sketch comedy

by Zain ul Abedin
Seth Meyers Remembers SNL Skit Disaster That Haunts Steve Martin
© Kevin Winter/Getty Images

In an insightful episode of The Lonely Island and Seth Meyers Podcast aired on April 29, Seth Meyers, alongside Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, and Jorma Taccone, delved into a memorable, albeit not entirely successful, sketch from Steve Martin’s 2006 SNL hosting stint, which remains a poignant memory for the comedy legend.

The sketch, dubbed "surf meeting" by its creators, The Lonely Island, involved a series of surfers repeatedly dismissing Martin's out-of-place character dressed in an old-time bathing suit. Despite the hilarity it brought during the writing and initial rehearsals, the sketch did not resonate as expected with the live audience.

"It played great at the table... we were like, ‘We did it! We cracked a super funny sketch for Steve Martin where he kills, and we get to have it be on the show,'" Samberg recounted. However, the enthusiasm dwindled as the sketch underwent more rehearsals, losing its initial spark.

The dynamic among the team was one of high spirits that unfortunately dipped as the sketch's performance failed to meet expectations. Samberg, Schaffer, and Taccone described how Martin, despite the sketch's downhill trajectory, made considerable efforts to keep the energy up and salvage what they all believed was a comedic goldmine.

"Steve fought so hard," Taccone remembered, highlighting the dedication Martin showed, even as they approached the live airing with dwindling hope.

Enduring Sketch Memories

The episode provided a rare glimpse into the emotional rollercoaster that accompanies live television productions, particularly those involving elements of improvisation and on-the-spot adjustments.

Samberg referred to the writing process as one of the "most fun moments of my entire time at SNL," filled with what he described as "slumber party giggles," underscoring the joyous yet challenging nature of sketch comedy.

For Meyers, the incident serves as a testament to the unpredictability of live comedy and the indelible marks it leaves on its performers, regardless of the outcome. "The great thing, and why surf meeting endures for me, is that for all his successes, it is a failure that still sticks with Steve Martin," Meyers shared, pointing out that even seasoned performers like Martin are not immune to the occasional miss.

The discussion not only highlighted the complexities behind crafting humor that resonates across a diverse audience but also the camaraderie and shared experiences that define the careers of these comedic talents. As the podcast episode wrapped up, it was clear that these moments of failure, as much as the successes, are integral to the rich tapestry of experiences that live performance offers.