SNL’s “Lisa from Temecula” Bombed at Dress—Pedro Pascal Saved It

Lisa from Temecula might never have made it to New York if it weren’t for Pedro Pascal.

Ego Nwodim described the origins of her recurring SNL character—who caused much of the cast to break into laughter in her debut sketch, as she wildly shook a restaurant table in an attempt to cut her “extra, extra well-done” steak—on a new episode of Vulture’s Good One podcast.

The sketch first debuted on SNL’s February 4, 2023 episode, which was hosted by Pascal, but it almost didn’t survive dress rehearsal.

“At dress, the table wasn’t really shaking,” Nwodim recalls, adding that she was also given a T-bone steak she couldn’t cut through. “They got a note to not shake the table so much. And I was like, ‘Well, if the table’s not shaking, we don’t have a sketch.’” 

Indeed, the sketch fell flat. While a tepid audience at dress is typically a death knell for a sketch’s odds of making it to the live show, Pascal became an unexpected defender of this one.

“In many cases, a lot of hosts might say, ‘I’m not really doing much in this sketch,’” Nwodim explains. “Hosts come and understandably want to shine and show off their own comedic chops, and be playful in ways that maybe their other jobs don’t allow them to be. And so oftentimes, a sketch may go away because the host—it’s their week.”

While Pascal didn’t have much to do in “Lisa from Temecula,” that didn’t stop him from championing the sketch. After the dress show, Nwodim recalls, “He went in that meeting and was like, ‘The table wasn’t shaking and she got a T-bone steak… and I want to do it!’

“I adore Pedro, because that would have been any other host’s out,” she says. “I feel an immense amount of gratitude and love for this man… I love him forever. I actively, as recently as a week and a half ago, just felt a wave of gratitude pour over me.”

Nwodim has cited “Lisa from Temecula” as a turning point in her time on SNL, calling the sketch “transformative” for her during a recent THR roundtable interview.

“I got out there and didn’t have any expectations for how it would go,” she explained to The Hollywood Reporter. “It was the last sketch of the night, and I was getting to improvise, the thing I love, because the chair wasn’t supposed to fall and it ended up being so fun and liberating. And I could not have planned for it. I just had to play.”

Nwodim has reprised Lisa from Temecula twice more on the show—first in April 2023, two months after the character’s debut, and again in March 2024.

While SNL hosts often have to surrender to the chaos of a hosting week, they’ve also wielded a great deal of influence in getting sketches on air. Chris Farley’s motivational speaker Matt Foley might not have ever made it to SNL’s airwaves without Christina Applegate. Now Pascal can add himself to the list of hosts who have shepherded an SNL hit to air.


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  1. Kate Jones says:

    It is a hilarious sketch. Now it always comes to mind when I order and receive my steak at a restaurant. Is it extra, extra, done?

    1. Jennifer M. Wood says:

      Just make sure you’re ready for court in the morning!