What Working On SNL's Anniversary Special Was Like, According To John Mulaney

Last year, NBC aired SNL 40, an epic anniversary special that featured the likes of Bill Murray, Jerry Seinfeld, Paul McCartney, Eddie Murphy, Adam Sandler, Justin Timberlake, Steve Martin, Maya Rudolph, Amy Poehler, Peyton Manning, Molly Shannon, Miley Cyrus and so many more. It took a lot of work to get the anniversary special to come together, and recently former SNL writer John Mulaney talked about exactly what it was like to work on the now-famous SNL 40 special. Here’s what he had to say:

It was such overstimulation, to the point that on Friday night, I was going to rehearse with Seinfeld at something like 11 p.m. I had to go to dinner with a friend downtown. So it's eight o’clock, and I'm like, ‘I can make dinner and get back for Seinfeld.’ I'm in the hallway, and I hear Paul McCartney warming up on the piano with "Long and Winding Road," and I thought, I don't have time for that. That's how overstimulating it was: I would love to watch that, but I just can't right now. There is too much going on.

Can you imagine skipping a moment to catch Paul McCartney just hanging out and warming up to one of the memorable tracks McCartney wrote for Let it Be? I can't, but during the SNL 40 special the comedian was clearly extremely busy. Mulaney was in charge of working with Jerry Seinfeld for an audience Q&A segment that ended up featuring the likes of Larry David, John Goodman, Michael Douglas, James Franco and more. It was a big segment to put together, and it meant John Mulaney had to spend time with some people he had worked with in the past and some other celebrities he had never met before. As part of an interview with Vulture, Mulaney revealed the whole process was “exciting” but obviously a bit overwhelming, too.

It was incredibly exciting. The 40th was such a swirling series of events. It was like a college reunion for everyone. It was doing the show with everyone, plus everyone you grew up with, plus people you never even met when you worked there.

Mulaney’s not the other one who has put out some great stories from the set of SNL 40. Fallon also memorably recounted what happened during the anniversary special’s afterparty, and Norm MacDonald revealed some behind-the-scenes info regarding what went down on the set. In addition, Melissa McCarthy expressed all of the emotions that tore through her when she tried on Chris Farley’s famous Matt Foley costume for SNL 40. Obviously, there was a lot of hard work leading into the SNL 40 special, but it was a week of hard work that led to an unforgettable night for many of the celebrities who attended.

The end result was some memorable sketches, including a hilarious “Jaws Bit” and a brand new round of “Celebrity Jeopardy.” If you can’t remember the Mulaney’ Seinfeld bit, we’ve included it, below.

Saturday Night Live has moved on from its anniversary year and is currently airing Season 41 on NBC. Catch new episodes on Saturday nights at 11:30 p.m. ET.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Jessica Rawden is Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. She’s been kicking out news stories since 2007 and joined the full-time staff in 2014. She oversees news content, hiring and training for the site, and her areas of expertise include theme parks, rom-coms, Hallmark (particularly Christmas movie season), reality TV, celebrity interviews and primetime. She loves a good animated movie. Jessica has a Masters in Library Science degree from Indiana University, and used to be found behind a reference desk most definitely not shushing people. She now uses those skills in researching and tracking down information in very different ways.