SNL’s Sarah Sherman on Why RFK Jr.’s Brain Worm Was Funnier With Arms

If there’s one thing Sarah Sherman has learned in her three seasons on Saturday Night Live, it’s that a worm costume is funnier with arms. 

In a new interview with GoldDerby, Sherman described how her “Weekend Update” appearance as RFK Jr.’s brain worm represented growth for her, and how she worked with the show’s costume department to fulfill her vision.

“This season, I tried a lot of different things that were new to me,” Sherman explained. “I wanted to push myself to be like, ‘What if I saw something in the news that week, and tried to write for it and do something timely?’”

“That’s new for me,” Sherman added. “And that’s, like, the challenge of the show.”

For Sherman, the opportunity came with presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s revelation that doctors had found a dead worm in his brain—which provided plenty of fodder for late-night monologues, too. 

“I saw the news story, and I immediately texted every single member of ‘Weekend Update,’” Sherman said. “And I was like, ‘I got this one. Come on, y’all. Let me do it.’”

Sherman enlisted writers Josh Patten, Mike DiCenzo, and Jake Nordwind to brainstorm the bit.

“It’s so scary to do something like that, because you only have two days and limited time,” Sherman said of the timing. “But you just feel so supported because all the writers are so funny… Everyone’s excited for the challenge.”

But when it comes to such a unique character, the challenge of writing the bit is rivaled by the challenge of presenting it. Sherman raved about the “unbelievable” job SNL’s costume department did in crafting the best-looking brain worm possible.

“They had me try out the costume with no arms,” Sherman shared. Though it made for a more realistic-looking worm, that idea proved prohibitive to the humor.

“It’s so fast, but you get to try all these different things to see what’s the funniest option,” she said. Ultimately, Sherman realized: “I think it’s funnier if I have arms so I can slurp out of a brain smoothie.”

“And that’s when the costume department goes, ‘We got this,’” Sherman recalled. “And then they make the really gorgeous worm gloves.”

“It’s all out of this problem-solving trial-and-error,” she explained. “It’s awesome. The goal is: How do we make this as funny as possible?”

From the sound of it, Sherman achieved two goals as the brain worm: tackling something timely, and doing it as funnily as possible.

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