SNL’s Bill Hader: Stefon-Gaga Collaboration ‘Could Happen’

by | May 18, 2011 at 2:27 PM | Interviews, Saturday Night Live

Bill Hader (TCM)

Bill Hader (TCM)

Ever since Lady Gaga was announced as SNL‘s season finale musical guest, one question has lingered: Will she go on Weekend Update with Stefon? Combine Gaga’s obvious dramatic flair and New York gay club roots with the flamboyant “City Correspondent’s” oddball club kid persona, and you have a match made in bizarre party heaven.  Bill Hader, who plays Stefon, talked about the potential of such a union this weekend, and previewed his upcoming hosting gig on TCM’s “Essential’s Jr. Showcase,” where he’ll introduce thirteen classic movies for parents to watch with their kids.

Did TCM hire you because of your Vincent Price impression?
No – no. I programmed a night on the show back in September and I think they liked what I did…Or they could see that I was a big classic movie nerd. Growing up I would always watch old movies with my family, and I had nice memories of that. And they asked me to do this on Sunday nights and I said “I’m into that.” They sent me a list of thirty movies and I picked thirteen out that I really had great memories of, so it was mostly just personal favorites.

Are any of these movies your absolute favorite? Or is that missing from the list?
I don’t know if I have any absolute favorites. The movie “Shane” I really liked, and that’s not on there. Preston Sturges movies I love, which aren’t on there.

You have a young daughter. Are you carrying on the movie-watching tradition with her?
Not really. We don’t really watch movies together [laughs].

Does she know you’re on TV?
She doesn’t know what’s going on.

One of the highlights on SNL this season was your Alan Alda impression. How did you perfect that? A “M*A*S*H” marathon?
It was mostly from his appearance in “Crimes and Misdemeanors.” My wife and I were watching it and I just started doing his voice around the house. I was kinda doing it badly for a while and then one day suddenly it started sounding like him. Then I tried it on the show a couple of times, but it never made it past the table reads. Then when we did those “Back to the Future” things at the beginning of the season, they were like, “you should break out the Alan Alda!”

See Hader’s Alda Impression:

Did you ever hear from him about it?
A friend of mine was working with him on something and said that he liked it and was flattered, but I don’t think he hears himself that way. Don’t quote me on this, but I think he was like “people hear me a certain way and I just don’t hear it.”

Kristen Wiig recently said she’s retired a few SNL characters – have you thought about doing that too?
I don’t know if I’ve consciously done it, you know? There’s just times when you go, Oh, you haven’t written that in a while. But naturally you just come up with new ideas.

Are you surprised at the amount of praise Stefon has received?
I’m happy and surprised that people like him so much and have gotten into it. What’s also interesting about Stefon is that older people like it. Like [both] the kids and the parents like it. Usually I just do stuff that’s parent-friendly, and kids are like, “who is Vincent Price?” It’s amazing to me that people really like it…They’re excited about a guy who’s strung out on drugs.

Watch Stefon On SNL’s Mother’s Day Episode:

Some people are wondering whether Lady Gaga and Stefon will do something this weekend…
Oh really? That’s funny. I just did Stefon the other week, so I don’t know if that’ll happen. But you never know – things get switched up at the last moment. There’s been times when Lorne [Michaels] will come up to us on a Friday and say, “hey, it would be great if we could do a Stefon for tomorrow night,” and me and [SNL staff writer] John Mulaney will run into a room and just start writing one.

Do you think you’ll make it through a Stefon without breaking?
No [laughs]. If they keep messing with me, then definitely not. John Mulaney changes dialog between dress and air to throw me off and that’s why I start laughing. I know a lot of the jokes, which you can kinda tell because I can deliver them without laughing…Well, except for the midget ones, which are always funny. The last episode, “Italian club owner Baloney Danza”… That was the first time I’d read that one. That totally threw me, and it was at the top of it too, so I was like, Oh no, I’m going to start breaking like out of the gate. So I was holding it in, and then it was  like steam escaping. Slowly I started going off the deep end.

Is he your favorite character?
Yeah, I mean I think he’s the one who audiences react to the most. The one that John and I like writing the most is Herb Welch, who’s the old reporter who hits people in the face with his microphone. That’s the one that we laugh really really hard at when we write it.

Who would you want to see host SNL next season?
Sam Rockwell would be really cool. I just like him as an actor. He has so much, ya know, range and stuff.

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