‘SNL’ Vet Will Forte Boards ‘Up All Night’ As Cool Surfer Dude

by | September 28, 2011 at 7:28 AM | Saturday Night Live, Up All Night

Will Forte on "Up All Night." (NBC)

Will Forte on "Up All Night." (NBC)

If there is one thing that Will Arnett’s character wants on NBC’s new comedy “Up All Night,” it is to stay cool in spite of being a stay-at-home dad. And on tomorrow night’s episode, Arnett finds a coolness mentor in Reed, a chill neighborhood surfer played by “Saturday Night Live” alum Will Forte.

Speaking to journalists on a conference call this morning, Forte explained that he was “delighted” to guest-star on “Up All Night” because the experience was a mini-”Saturday Night Live” reunion for himself, co-star Maya Rudolph, this week’s other guest star Jorma Taccome (who is an “SNL” scribe) and series creator Emily Spivey (who also wrote for the NBC sketch comedy series).

“It’s pure joy because I’m friends with so many of the people who work there,” Forte said. “It’s just like hanging around with your family. Emily Spivey, I’ve known her since I was in the Groundlings 15 or 16 years ago.”

The experience was made even more comfortable considering how well-written his character was.

“It always depends on the writing and the writing [here] was so fun and funny that it made it very easy to play [Reed],” Forte revealed.

In fact, the only obstacle the actor faced on set was curbing his desire to pay too much homage to his favorite surfer dude of all time.

“The one tricky part was trying [to avoid playing] that surfer character that you’ve seen a million times before. So I tried to switch it up a bit and just play a guy who’s kind of a zen surfer. I think a lot of [actors] might just go to Spicoli from ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’ who is the most awesome character of all time. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t just doing a Spicoli rip-off.”

In addition to just being a cool, well-written surfer dude, Reed also offers Arnett’s character Chris some advice on bringing the sexy back into his marriage — some wisdom that Forte fully endorses.

Catch Up On Last Week’s Episode Of “Up All Night:”

“It’s very new age-y advice. It’s all advice that I would give also. [Laughs] I don’t have a kid. I’m 41 years old and still no kids – which is driving my mom crazy. It all seemed like perfectly reasonable advice to me. I feel like he’s trying to get into the mind of women and seeing through their eyes. He’s a very smart man. [...] He gives his advice with such confidence that Will Arnett’s character really takes it to heart.”

In spite of all the fun he had reuniting with his “Saturday Night Live” peers, Forte is not sure whether Reed will return for more episodes of the comedy.

“That’s not my decision. [But] I would love to be a part of it if that happens.”

In addition to describing his arc on “Up All Night,” the comedic actor touched on a few other subjects including his dream TV guest star roles, why he almost gave up on acting and why he is perfectly happy with the course his career has taken, even post-”Saturday Night Live.”

His Dream Television Projects: “I’ve been watching a lot of “Louie” recently. I love that show very much — but I wouldn’t want to come in and ruin the show. I just want to watch it. I guess I’d maybe want to be a guest on “Sport’s Center” — that’s one of my favorite shows too — and work a Monday night football game.”

Why He Loves Soap Operas: “I feel like it’s easier to watch dramas without getting caught up in my head about stuff. [...] Dramas, I just love. I get sucked into them. I dissect the comedies. I just get sucked into all dramas pretty much and that includes soap operas.”

Whether He Is Happy With His Career and Why He Briefly Gave Up On Acting: [After a pause] “I’m super delighted [with my career]. I was a writer. I got my first acting job at 32 when I went to ‘SNL’ and at that point I had kind of given up on acting. I was settled in as a writer and I loved it. I love writing. The ‘SNL’ thing came out of the blue and everything acting related has been gravy. If the acting stuff dried up and I had to go back to the life of writing, I would be so happy to continue writing. So yes, I’m very happy. I feel blessed.”

His Favorite ‘Saturday Night Live’ Memory: “I was there for eight years and there were so many wonderful people that came through there. Betty White — that was probably the most fun I’ve ever had during a show because not only was it her but some of the very important women of the show came back [for the ‘Women of Saturday Night Live’ special] and it was really just such a fun experience to see Tina [Fey], Maya [Rudolph], Amy [Poehler], Rachel [Dratch], Ana [Gasteyer] back. They had all their kids around. It was really, really fun.”

In addition to seeing Will Forte on tomorrow night’s brand new episode of “Up All Night,” the actor is also busying filming “Rock of Ages” with Tom Cruise as well as “Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie,” both due in theaters next year.

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