Betty White Was Terrified To Do Saturday Night Live

Betty White Saturday Night Live NBC
(Image credit: NBC)

She is a pop culture icon, and now Betty White is the subject of a brand new special by PBS, Betty White: First Lady of Television. Her storied career is comprised of its fair share of memorable television milestones, and one of them occurred when she hosted Saturday Night Live back in May 2010, which was the result of a fan campaign started on Facebook calling for White to host the show. As it turns out, Betty White had to deal with some stage fright for the broadcast, but the stage fright wasn't ruinous to her performance. White said:

It's a lifesaver because the panic that sets in, you have to counter, and you have to get a handle on it in order to do what you're doing. So, the stage fright is what puts the edge, I think, on a performance.

Whatever works! Betty White's stage fright did everything but negatively impact her performance. She came across so relaxed on-screen that it was impossible to notice her understandable nerves doing the show. Her stage fright did end up giving her the "edge" she needed over her fellow nominees when it came time for the Emmys. White took home the award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her performance on Saturday Night Live.

In the clip released ahead of the PBS special's premiere, Betty White's agent Jeff Witjas shared that he was concerned he may have pushed the entertainment legend too far with her hosting gig on the show. Despite his concerns, the whole thing ended up working out with White nailing it with her sensational turn on the show.

While he knew he was pushing her outside of her "comfort zone," Betty White reveals that she took solace in the Saturday Night Live superstars that took the stage alongside her, including Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch, Ana Gasteyer, Maya Rudolph, and Molly Shannon. White said:

Bless their hearts, they when I did it, they brought Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. And they brought the original, wonderful people back, which gives you all that surrounding with all those pros.

Betty White was ready to knock everyone's socks off, and that is what she did. Viewers were not the only ones who were impressed with White's Saturday Night Live performance. Tina Fey shared how inspired she was by White during the week they shared working on the special episode together. After saying how much she loves White, Fey praised her "rock-solid" timing. And Fey was not alone in expressing her astonishment over White's pitch-perfect turn on Saturday Night Live.

Ryan Reynolds, Betty White's co-star in the comedy The Proposal, also shared his amazement at White hosting the NBC show. And to think we may have never seen it if that fan had not started the campaign to get Betty White on the sketch comedy series. Did that fan ever do the world a service! Thank you, fan!

Saturday Night Live will return for Season 44 this fall on NBC. We also have a rundown of fall premiere dates at NBC that have been announced thus far. Check out the new shows still coming this summer with CinemaBlend's summer premiere guide. For new television that will arrive alongside Saturday Night Live this fall, check out CinemaBlend's guide to TV's fall premieres.

You can watch the entire clip discussing Betty White's Saturday Night Live performance from the Betty White: First Lady of Television below:

Britt Lawrence

Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.