The Time Andy Samberg Forgot to Show Up for a Sketch on SNL

Andy Samberg has had a recurring nightmare since his days on Saturday Night Live. But once, it pretty much came true.

Samberg recounted the behind-the-scenes dream-turned-reality to Sean Hayes, Will Arnett, and Jason Bateman on the latest episode of that trio’s Smartless podcast. Samberg described the weekly nightmare he had throughout his time on SNL (and still has occasionally to this day): “I’m backstage, and I’m in a sketch, and I can’t get there and I see it on the monitor.”

Unfortunately for Samberg, the scenario played out for real in 2010, when he missed a sketch during the live show.

“It was the most panic I’ve ever felt,” Samberg recalled on a recent episode of his own podcast, The Lonely Island and Seth Meyers Podcast. “Maybe in my entire life.”

Samberg recalled that it happened the night Jerry Seinfeld appeared on the show to do a “Really!?!” segment with Seth Meyers on “Weekend Update.” (Seinfeld’s “Update” appearance occurred on the March 13, 2010 episode hosted by Jude Law.)

“I was standing underneath the main part of the bleachers… And [Seinfeld] stopped and started talking to me,” Samberg recalled. “And I’m like, ‘Holy sh*t.’” 

“I was so gassed that I was getting to talk to Jerry Seinfeld that I forgot I was in a sketch,” Samberg continued.

“They have monitors all backstage showing you what’s airing,” he explained on Smartless. “And I just like casually look up, and I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m in this sketch and it just started.’… I was like, ‘I’m so sorry’ and just, like, took off running.”

“I missed getting on before it started. They stopped me and said “No!” because I was gonna try and run on.”

Samberg said the skit in question was a “courtroom sketch.” A look back at that 2010 episode of SNL indeed reveals the second-to-last sketch of the night was “Court Stenographer,” which marked the second appearance of Fred Armisen’s inept and interruptive trial transcriber Elinda Nade.

Viewers watching the sketch wouldn’t know anything was amiss backstage, but according to Samberg, that was a stroke of pure luck.

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“I had had one line at the top of the sketch,” Samberg told Smartless. “And they had cut it between dress and air, and no one had told me. So I actually didn’t screw up the sketch.“

All audiences would have seen of Samberg “would have just been a shot of me sitting next to another cast member in a suit at the top of the sketch,” he said on his own podcast.

Fortunately, the bad memory of the moment was the only consequence for Samberg. “No one yelled at me or anything, because it just worked out, and everyone was like, ‘Who cares.’”

“But I did have my nightmare,” he told the Smartless co-hosts.

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