It's quite possible that pop superstar Britney Spears will never not be famous, at least within her lifetime. So, it's no surprise that Spears, during her music-making heyday, was approached to guest host Saturday Night Live, and that she took them up on the opportunity. But, apparently, her stint as guest host overlapped with a trial run on the writing staff for comedian / actor Zach Galifianakis, who pitched some truly ridiculous sketches for Spears which bombed pretty hard.
While much of the recent attention around Britney Spears has involved some serious topics like her trying to remove her dad from her conservatorship, her (sometimes wild) social media habits, or the Framing Britney Spears documentary, there's now a more lighthearted bit of news which goes all the way back to over two decades ago. While appearing on the Literally! With Rob Lowe podcast recently, Zach Galifianakis spoke about his brief time on the late night staple, and revealed that his ideas for the superstar when she hosted in May 2000, didn't go over so well. According to Galifianakis:
My things just bombed very badly...I remember exactly what they were. I'd written something for Britney Spears, two things. One of them was, I wanted Will Ferrell to play a security guard for her belly button. And we were going to shrink [him] down to just hang out inside of her belly button, because her belly button was always exposed then, and I thought she needed to protect it. That? I've never seen a tumbleweed go through an office before. I feel like a tumbleweed went right across the writer's room table, and a cricket riding it. I'm not offended that no one liked it, it was probably bad.
WOW. Alright, first of all, to clarify, Zach Galifianakis admits that he was only given a trial run as a writer on SNL for a couple of weeks, and it could not have been easy at all to go from doing standup to trying to come up with sketches and then pitch them to an established group of writers / cast members. And, while his idea clearly failed to impress anyone, and even Galifianakis can admit it was probably bad, at least he had originality on his side, and was able to come up with something.
Considering how long ago this happened, it's pretty clear that the moment really had an impact on Galifianakis, which is great, because otherwise we never would have heard this story.
As you might have noticed, though, the awkwardness didn't end there, as Galifianakis had another idea, which he was able to pitch to Britney Spears herself. And this one? It's even wilder:
I got a little office, she was very nice, she came in. I was nervous, because I don't know what I'm doing...This poor young lady...She goes, 'What do you have for me?' I go, 'Well, you're being interviewed by Entertainment Tonight. There's no jokes. And during the middle of the interview you just start bleeding from the mouth.' She looks at me, and then she looks at the ground, and then I looked at the ground, and she looks back up at me, I look at her, and she goes, 'Yeah, that's funny,' and that was it.
You gotta hand it to Zach Galifianakis, even in what was a stressful and very new situation for him, he wasn't afraid to just put his weirdest ideas on the table. It may not have worked out for him, but he did admit that it was still a "dream" to be able to work behind the scenes at SNL for a bit. And, it sounds that while Britney Spears was probably a bit thrown by his idea, she was nice about it, so at least the experience (likely) didn't scar either of them.