The final show of “Saturday Night Live” season one began on a sweet note, as host Austin Butler recalled watching the late-night comedy show with his late mother, Lori Anne Howell.
“I love my mom, some of my favorite memories from growing up were watching ‘SNL’ every week,” and even though he had this “crippling shyness,” he would do anything to make her laugh — including Including imitation of Gollum in “The Lord of the Rings.”
Treating her as a fool, he said, “brought me out of my shell” and inspired his drive to become an actor. Butler, who got her start as a child star on both Nickelodeon and Disney Channel shows, played Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s hit biopic, “Elvis.”
Butler said, “Now, my mother is not with us, but I have been thinking about her a lot this week, just imagining how proud she must be that her son is now standing on this podium.”
He said, “Whenever you see me making a funny sound or making a funny face, it’s for you.”
Butler also joked that he grew up in Anaheim, California, hence the “Southern accent” and said that he always sounded like Elvis Presley.
“I want to address something. There are people out there who say that my voice has changed since I played Elvis – that it’s become more Elvis-y,” he said. “But it’s not true, I’ve always said so and I can prove it. Here’s a clip from an interview I did 10 years ago.
The show cuts to an interview promoting “The Carrie Diaries”, in which her voice is high-pitched.
“We have stopped testing,” he said.
Butler also said that despite last year’s holiday show almost being canceled due to COVID, the show developed a foolproof plan to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
Butler also talked about growing up “awkward” with her sister Ashley celebrating her birthday.
“Not many people know that I’ve been acting since childhood,” he said, “studying ‘Raging Bull’ or ‘Taxi Driver’.”
“Put the knife down, you scarecrow, iCarly,” Butler gasped.
“Saturday Night Live” stars Kenan Thompson, Cecily Strong, Mickey Dee, Heidi Gardner, Ego Nwodim, Bowen Yang, Chloe Fineman, Punky Johnson, Andrew Dismuke and Michael Che and Colin Jost as hosts of Weekend Update. The cast also includes James Austin Johnson, Sarah Sherman, Marcelo Hernandez, Molly Kearney, Michael Longfellow and Devon Walker. Kent Sublett, Allison Gates and Streeter Seidel serve as the show’s head writers, while Liz Patrick directs.
Earlier in the night, NBC announced that the December 17 episode would be Strong’s last.