The Story of how SNL made the “Stevie Nicks’ Fajita Roundup” Sketch
May 28, 2020 7:27 AM   Subscribe

 
Who knew that this would be what I needed today?

thank you!
p.s. more Lucy Lawless everywhere, plz.
posted by allthinky at 7:37 AM on May 28 [9 favorites]


The other thing that probably amazes only me is that they built a neon sign for the set in two days. How do you pull that off?
posted by JoeZydeco at 7:48 AM on May 28 [12 favorites]


That was awesome.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 8:02 AM on May 28


Just 2 hours north of Phoenix!
posted by chavenet at 8:03 AM on May 28 [2 favorites]


That was 1998? Wow. If you excuse me, I need to go and fill out my AARP membership application.
posted by Ranucci at 8:04 AM on May 28 [8 favorites]


That was 1998? Wow. If you excuse me, I need to go and fill out my AARP membership application.

That sketch is closer in time to the release of Rumours than it is to today.
posted by Etrigan at 8:10 AM on May 28 [63 favorites]


It really is a very good Stevie Nicks impression.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:13 AM on May 28 [10 favorites]


Just sent a message to all my friends demanding to know why they kept this from me for 22 years.
posted by yellowbinder at 8:16 AM on May 28 [7 favorites]


Awww, I love how sweet Lawless is at the end of the article. And now I've watched the sketch for Trump's House of Wings and...Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph for the win.
posted by amanda at 8:17 AM on May 28 [2 favorites]


These kind of SNL bits - where there's no real point and it's not a recurring gag, they just "started, were weird for two and a half minutes, and then ended" - are my favorites. They're the riskiest - because it's nearly impossible to pinpoint which of the weird concept ideas are going to work and which aren't, and with the ones that don't, it's just kind of embarrassing watching people flail and continue to flog the one-note joke over and over.

But with the ones that do, you get things like this or Happy Fun Ball or Space Pants or David Pumpkins. Or the time that they decided the way to pay tribute to Dr. Seuss was to have Jesse Jackson read Green Eggs and Ham on Weekend Update. I remember seeing both that, and the Stevie Nicks Fajita Roundup sketch, and I cannot say why either one works; they just do.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:18 AM on May 28 [40 favorites]


I love that this is a story everyone is happily surprised about. Lawless is happily surprised that people liked it, the writers are happily surprised that Lawless threw herself into it, Nicks is happily surprised that it isn't a mean sketch. It's just so pleasant.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:23 AM on May 28 [16 favorites]


So I saw the FPP on the main site and thought to myself, "Huh. I hadn't noticed this before, but Lucy Lawless is in that little club with Weird Al and Dolly Parton where if I were to learn that they're really an asshole, it would actually and sincerely hurt."

Having seen this, I need to revise my thoughts. So: Lucy Lawless is a being of pure light and joy and we do not deserve to share this planet with her.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:35 AM on May 28 [25 favorites]


The other thing that probably amazes only me is that they built a neon sign for the set in two days. How do you pull that off?

The more important question is: who has it now, and is it for sale?
posted by dephlogisticated at 8:41 AM on May 28 [18 favorites]


Lucy is a pretty big star herself but that bit at the end where she's like, Wow! (Stevie) said my name! That was very sweet.
I almost wrote that I never saw this originally (and I watched a lot of Xena so surely I would remember). But then I remembered how I am slightly past age 50 and this would just be one of many hundreds of things I did indeed forget.
posted by Glinn at 8:50 AM on May 28 [2 favorites]


I think I've eaten there on a trip up to Flagstaff once. It's in that strip mall a couple doors down from the new age gift shop, right?
posted by Catblack at 8:54 AM on May 28 [9 favorites]


Lucy Lawless really is an interestingly unique talent.

I love this sketch.

My god, the Amy and Tiny era is, by light years, the best SNL era.
posted by Cosine at 8:57 AM on May 28 [3 favorites]


TIL the richest celebrity from Wyoming has a net worth of 800 grand. That's…cute.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:59 AM on May 28 [3 favorites]


These kind of SNL bits - where there's no real point and it's not a recurring gag, they just "started, were weird for two and a half minutes, and then ended" - are my favorites.

Likewise. I sometimes wonder how much of the SNL output is calculated as a possible ongoing, recurring dead horse to flog for six seasons until the main performer leaves the show and how much is “yeah, what the hell, we’ll try it”. I suppose it goes back to the very beginning — Weekend Update was of course always to be a recurring bit, but the more interesting stuff like Belushi’s samurai were meant to be one-and-done.

I seem to recall reading that Lorne Michaels et al occasionally get totally caught off-guard by unexpectedly positive response. Didn’t Wayne’s World begin as something in the ten-minutes-to-one wasteland?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:04 AM on May 28 [1 favorite]




The concept sounded cute but the execution was fantastic. She really did commit to the bit. I had never heard of the skit before, but I can see how it still has fans even this long after it aired.
posted by jzb at 9:05 AM on May 28 [5 favorites]


We can't have Tex-Mex (or cocaine) in the Daly household without singing at least part of this bit.
posted by eamondaly at 9:06 AM on May 28 [14 favorites]


I hadn't seen this before, and I love it.

The best part of that Stevie Nicks liked it.
posted by medusa at 9:07 AM on May 28 [3 favorites]


I was cringing for a moment... she’s not going to hit that high note, is she? Then she totally nailed it.
posted by sjswitzer at 9:09 AM on May 28 [7 favorites]


Why are you doing this to me I have already watched this 3 times and I have work to do
posted by Automocar at 9:15 AM on May 28 [3 favorites]


Seconding the David S. Pumpkins and Jesse Jackson reading Green Eggs as perfect SNL weirdness. John Belushi as the unwanted Bee, and the Bee-plus. Massive Headwound Harry. The bathroom-cleaning monkeys. Will stop there to get to my real point:

Recently re-watched the first season of the USA Network show Burn Notice and saw an episode I missed, where Lucy Lawless somehow plays a supposedly vulnerable and abused wife and mother and then (SPOILER on a 13-year-old show) does this incredible heel turn as a ruthless assassin. She absolutely nailed both halves of the performance.

Lucy rocks.
posted by martin q blank at 9:17 AM on May 28 [8 favorites]


Lucy Lawless is in that little club ... where if I were to learn that they're really an asshole, it would actually and sincerely hurt.

If that were to happen, it would be because A Wizard Did It.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:18 AM on May 28 [1 favorite]


I love this post, and I'm so here for the Lucy Lawless appreciation train. Fans on the forums made a huge deal of this SNL sketch at the time, as I recall, but I was in high school and my family didn't have TV so I couldn't watch.

Xena was such a huge part of my queer journey of discovery when I was in high school, and I know I'm far from the only one. And Lucy Lawless has always been so cool and appreciative of her LGBTQ fans. As far as I'm concerned, even though they were so careful to keep Xena and Gabrielle's relationship "subtextual," Xena was groundbreaking queer representation for the mid-90s.


Here's some bonus content for you. Lucy Lawless playing a sexy tow truck driver tempting the lesbian protagonist of this very-much-of-its-time LGBTQ 1995 short film, Peach.
posted by lieber hair at 9:26 AM on May 28 [6 favorites]


It reminds me of the "Hamm and Buble" sketch, which I only recently discovered and have became obsessed with. What pleases me most about both is that they both have virtually no cast members getting in the way of the host (and musical guest!) just going for it.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 9:30 AM on May 28 [17 favorites]


It somewhat reminds me of Liza Minelli Tries to Turn Off a Lamp, which I've tried to foist on friend and family to no effect.
posted by argybarg at 9:30 AM on May 28 [29 favorites]


So the best SNL is like SCTV?
posted by Glomar response at 9:40 AM on May 28 [6 favorites]


Yes, it's the spirit of SCTV sneaking in through the cracks between the mandatory fan service and high-concept sketches.
posted by argybarg at 9:41 AM on May 28 [7 favorites]


SCTV did a lot of stuff exactly like this. Here's John Candy, Rick Moranis, Katherine O'Hara and Eugene Levy doing a commercial for Jake LaMotta's Raging Bull-B-Q back in the early or mid-80s.
posted by SoberHighland at 9:54 AM on May 28 [6 favorites]


I've never seen this sketch and enjoyed it so very very much. I'm still giggling. And that article was great too. Thank you.
posted by JanetLand at 9:57 AM on May 28


> That sketch is closer in time to the release of Rumours than it is to today.

Hey now, I thought this was supposed to be a nice place!
posted by Burhanistan at 9:57 AM on May 28 [12 favorites]


Worth it for just the way she says "Sedona, Arizona" alone (which, in its inclusion as the location, is already one of those details that makes a good sketch idea a great sketch); thank you for sharing this
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:01 AM on May 28 [4 favorites]


This happened kinda just before I became a "Watch every SNL episode (and, lately, talk about it on FanFare) so it was nice to be reminded of earlier SNL and some of the weird parts of it. I, too, love that everyone is kinda pleasantly amused by all of this.
posted by jessamyn at 10:04 AM on May 28


So much gold in this thread.

I remember watching the Jackson-reads-Seuss thing, and being wowed by it, but if anything it's even better NOW. I appreciate his cadences more. And that he does not, even for a minute, wink, though you see a smile start to form in several places.

His commitment to the bit is perfect and total.

You get the same thing with Hamm & Buble, which my wife and I still reference pretty much every time we have either (which is often).

argybarg, I'm glad to know I'm not the only one absolutely SLAYED by the Minelli bit.
posted by uberchet at 10:06 AM on May 28 [3 favorites]


My father-in-law is a huge Fleetwood Mac fan and one thing we always do with him is go see any of the tribute bands that play in the area. It's become a tradition for my wife and I to watch this skit before we head out for the evening.
posted by haileris23 at 10:10 AM on May 28 [3 favorites]


Martin Short said the key with SCTV was no audience, which meant they stopped chasing the laugh lines, let alone the punch lines. My favorite SNL sketches wind up being the ones where they gave themselves that same permission for a few minutes -- just a simple, absurd premise rolling along for a few minutes, then out.

I understand it takes more nerve in front of a live audience. I think the performers need the comfort of a clear laugh line as much as the audience does. I think Kristen Wiig is a hero in the Liza Minelli sketch because about 12 people are laughing, the rest sound mystified, but she never flags in her energy and commitment. But I bet if you tried to do a whole 90-minute show in that mode the performers would pretty rapidly collapse.
posted by argybarg at 10:22 AM on May 28 [4 favorites]


So the best SNL is like SCTV?
posted by Glomar response


And the best SCTV is like Kids in the Hall.
posted by Splunge at 10:30 AM on May 28 [11 favorites]


I just watched it again and that fucking wind machine kicking on gets me every. single. time.
posted by Automocar at 10:35 AM on May 28 [12 favorites]


It somewhat reminds me of Liza Minelli Tries to Turn Off a Lamp yt , which I've tried to foist on friend and family to no effect.

It was an important early step in our courtship when my boyfriend gifted me with both the FPP skit and this one.
posted by PMdixon at 10:54 AM on May 28 [3 favorites]


The best Mexican food I ever had in my life was in Sedona, at the Elote Cafe, so Stevie has some tough competition out there.

and frankly, from the commercial, I don't get the idea she can hang in that league...
posted by Naberius at 11:02 AM on May 28


I keep forgetting that Lucy Lawless can really fucking sing. You can't do that without having some real talent.
posted by suelac at 11:08 AM on May 28 [5 favorites]


Amy Poehler

I was seated next to her father on a plane flight from SFO to Boston, once. It was a redeye, so we mostly slept, but almost as soon as I sat down, he said to me, oh, by the way, my daughter was in the movie they showed on the flight out here (Blades Of Glory). He might as well have been wearing a T-shirt saying AMY POEHLER'S DAD. So I chatted him up about how much I loved her SNL work, which seemed to make him very happy.
posted by thelonius at 11:18 AM on May 28 [15 favorites]


I've seen this video many times and just noticed Jimmy Fallon fake-accompanying her while trying (poorly) not to break up....
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 11:33 AM on May 28 [1 favorite]


Jimmy Fallon fake-accompanying her while trying (poorly) not to break up

One of the many things about Fallon that irritates me is that he breaks up far too easily.
posted by Ber at 11:36 AM on May 28 [11 favorites]


If you're looking for a one-of-a-kind SNL bit that's a smashing success: Jan Hooks and Phil Hartman in "Love is a Dream"

Excuse me, I have something in my eye....
posted by obscure simpsons reference at 11:39 AM on May 28 [20 favorites]


As I watch this for the seventh or eighth time, I find myself asking how much of my enjoyment of this sketch is based on how much the actual idea of a Mexican restaurant where Stevie Nicks sings to me her greatest hits appeals to me. (It appeals to me a lot.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:42 AM on May 28 [7 favorites]


The story about Poehler's dad is hilarious.

We have a friend whose novel is being made into a film by Poehler's company, and who has in that capacity had actual meetings with her. She is, apparently, delightful.
posted by uberchet at 11:43 AM on May 28 [2 favorites]


I was seated next to her father on a plane flight from SFO to Boston, once.

My brother went to a wedding in Boston a while back and ended up sitting at the table with a nice older couple, and yeah, during the conversation he also learned they were Amy Poehler's parents. Apparently just mentioning their daughter is Amy Poehler is kind a thing they do? He also said they were very nice.
posted by suelac at 11:45 AM on May 28 [5 favorites]


I just watched it again and that fucking wind machine kicking on gets me every. single. time.

Well, they used a wind machine for Lawless, but that wind thing is just a witchy power Stevie Nicks has on her own.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:47 AM on May 28 [10 favorites]


(It appeals to me a lot.)

I think a big part of the sketch's success is that it lives right at the intersection of "This is absurd" and "I would totally eat there."
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 11:49 AM on May 28 [14 favorites]


Didn’t Wayne’s World begin as something in the ten-minutes-to-one wasteland?

Myers developed the character for a Canadian show before coming to SNL, but yeah it was thrown into the 10-to-1 bin on it's first try in the US.
posted by JoeZydeco at 12:01 PM on May 28 [2 favorites]


My god, the Amy and Tiny era is, by light years, the best SNL era.


Not sure I could argue with that, and boy howdy I'm about to age myself, but God I miss Gilda Radner
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 12:09 PM on May 28 [18 favorites]


If you're looking for a one-of-a-kind SNL bit that's a smashing success: Jan Hooks and Phil Hartman in "Love is a Dream"

Similarly: Gilda Radner and Steve Martin, Dancing In The Dark.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:53 PM on May 28 [10 favorites]


I had never seen this but it's a delight. I think it was Gold Dust Woman ("Rock on beef tostada") that made me start giggling helplessly.

Now every time I hear a Fleetwood Mac song I'm going to be adding in lyrics about Mexican food and I don't even have a problem with that.
posted by mogget at 12:55 PM on May 28 [4 favorites]


Well, they used a wind machine for Lawless, but that wind thing is just a witchy power Stevie Nicks has on her own.

The best thing that ever happened on any season of American Horror Story was when Stevie Nicks just shows up in the middle of Coven and the show never bothers to explain anything about it because she's Stevie Nicks, of course she hangs with witches.
posted by tobascodagama at 1:03 PM on May 28 [16 favorites]


These kind of SNL bits - where there's no real point and it's not a recurring gag, they just "started, were weird for two and a half minutes, and then ended" - are my favorites.
I would agree. As for the sketch from the write-up? it's pretty good but it's no James Brown's Celebrity Hot Tub Party.
posted by Nerd of the North at 1:40 PM on May 28 [10 favorites]


I hadn't seen this before. That's great. Also, what tobascodagama said about AHS. Of *course* she hangs out with witches. What.
posted by rmd1023 at 1:42 PM on May 28


Myers developed the [Wayne] character for a Canadian show before coming to SNL, but yeah it was thrown into the 10-to-1 bin on it's first try in the US.

And that was the first sketch Myers ever got on the air, in his fourth episode (not counting a Stuart "If it's not Scottish, it's crap!" Rankin desk bit on Weekend Update).
posted by Etrigan at 1:43 PM on May 28 [3 favorites]


note to mods: OP has spelled the name wrong in the post, it's actually F L A W L E S S
posted by poffin boffin at 2:02 PM on May 28 [3 favorites]


Daily Motion—Hunh, what’s that?—has all the good expunged bits of SNL for some reason. Like clownpenis.fart and Whipmaster.
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 2:20 PM on May 28 [1 favorite]


Another classic: Brenda the Waitress with Jan Hooks and Alec Baldwin.
posted by Fukiyama at 4:37 PM on May 28 [11 favorites]


Only tangentially related, but a few years ago I had a meatball sub from Marky Ramone's Crusin' Kitchen food truck.
posted by autopilot at 4:47 PM on May 28 [1 favorite]


Everything about this is delightful. Thank you.
posted by potrzebie at 4:52 PM on May 28 [1 favorite]


Myers developed the character for a Canadian show yt before coming to SNL, but yeah it was thrown into the 10-to-1 bin on it's first try in the US.

Holy crap it ends with a creepy rape joke. The past can be hard to visit sometimes.
posted by argybarg at 8:41 PM on May 28 [1 favorite]


I haven't laughed so much in days, maybe weeks.
posted by bendy at 9:34 PM on May 28 [1 favorite]


I'm a really big fan of the original not ready for prime time players SNL, I was not quite old enough to understand all of it, but my gods, I thought they were funny. I think they were a lot more experimental back then, much more willing to risk not getting a laugh. This is one of my favorite, non-recurring, funny at the time, extremely poignant now bits: Don't Look Back in Anger
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 9:42 PM on May 28 [2 favorites]


Personal favorite: I watch "Tight Pants" with Jimmy Fallon, Will Ferrell & Christina Aguilera a few times a year.
posted by soakimbo at 11:18 PM on May 28


i will never be able to order mexican food without thinking of fleetwod mac again.

also that liza minelli skitch is pretty funny. she's a hoot on Arrested Development and i bet she would actually do that skit as herself haha.

hamm & buble is also amazing that there's no other snl cast, just them.
posted by affectionateborg at 4:52 AM on May 29 [2 favorites]


I'm a really big fan of the original not ready for prime time players SNL, I was not quite old enough to understand all of it, but my gods, I thought they were funny. I think they were a lot more experimental back then, much more willing to risk not getting a laugh.

I can recall being quite bewildered by Mighty Mouse.
posted by thelonius at 5:36 AM on May 29 [1 favorite]


If you've watched SNL for long enough - and I have - you realize that the golden ages rise and fall like waves. There's the first wave with Belushi, Ackroyd, Radner, Curtin, and Chase et al. There's a wave with Crystal, Murphy(?), Louis-Drefuss, and Short. There's the one were Tina Fey was head writer and Poehler and Rudolph were acting. You need really strong writers and a cast who can bring that writing to the stage.

Waiting for the next one to rise up,now.
posted by kaymac at 5:50 AM on May 29


Honestly, I think we're in one NOW.

I also will never not comment to say how beautiful and perfect Brenda the Waitress was. "Look at 'im, sittin' on that stool like he's doin' it a favor!"
hamm & buble is also amazing that there's no other snl cast, just them.
You know what? I never before noticed that, and it's obvious. I wonder what other bits over the years have succeeded at that scale without cast involvement?
posted by uberchet at 7:12 AM on May 29


thank you, OP
posted by dustpuppy at 6:15 PM on May 29 [1 favorite]


Thank you SO much for posting this—it is new to me. I had forgotten how much I like Lawless and she manages to nail everything that drives me absolutely nuts (not in a good way) re Nicks.
posted by she's not there at 7:48 PM on May 30


Of course Stevie Nicks is really from Phoenix. Fleetwood Mac makes much more sense, now that I know this bit of information.
posted by not_on_display at 9:11 PM on June 5


I just want to say it's a couple weeks later and thinking about this thread is still making me smile.
posted by potrzebie at 1:59 PM on June 14 [4 favorites]


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