What do you do on Saturday nights? Do you go out or do you stay home watching Saturday Night Live? If you do the latter, you will undoubtedly have seen me working my magic with the host of the week. I’ve graced the SNL stage more times than I can remember. As a matter of fact, I hold the distinction of being the only dog to have ever barked live during SNL’s cold open – you know, the bitter beginning of the show, the part after which they say “Live from New York, it’s Saturday night!”. This is going to be another one of my many visits there. I perform live skits most of the time, but this skit is scheduled to be one of the pre-recorded ones. I arrive on set, having been told that all my part calls for is a sit and a bark. I walk in and greet all my peeps, while mom is looking for the first A.D. – that’s industry talk for “Assistant Director”. He confirms with Mom that all I have to do is sit and bark.
The A.D. takes mom over to a large, round, patent leather platform. “He needs to sit here.That’s it.” The prop guy hands mom a basketball shirt for me to wear. I laugh at my number…1/2, a half, get it? I jump onto the platform and immediately realize how slippery this lovely shiny surface is. No sooner do I sit, that my bum starts sliding back. I tuck my front legs back, only to have my bum continue to slide back. Perhaps if I lie down, I will not glide around like an ice skater on a lake in Antarctica. I start to lower my body, when, “Hudson! Sit!”, Mom reminds me. Up I go, reposition myself and again start slipping away. They start filming. I patiently wait for my cue to “speak”, but it doesn’t come. Instead, I hear the first A.D. ask mom if they can start the platform. I can’t imagine what that means – wait! Is the room spinning? I only had one beer for lunch, so I doubt it would have this effect on me. Then I realize that the room isn’t spinning at all, I’m spinning! Yes, the platform starts spinning around like a 45 on a record player. It’s all I can do to keep my rear end from sliding off the side.
Just when I think things can’t get any more exciting, the first A.D. asks mom if it’s okay to add some fake smoke to the equation. “Sure,” she says. Out comes the smoke machine, making a loud whooshing sound as smoke exits the nozzle.I’ve got to admit this is kind of cool and am pleased to see that all eyes are on me, impressed by my composure. I am the center of attention and enjoying every minute of it. Mom yells, “Speak”, and I acquiesce. They stop the spinning ever so often to give me a break and to dust my fur off of it. Then more spinning and more smoke. “Will Hudson be okay with strobe lights?”, the first A.D. asks mom. I nod as mom says it’s fine. They start the strobe lights, the platform starts spinning and the whoosh of the smoke machine can be heard. The cameras are constantly rolling as I am asked to bark once, then stop, twice, stop, once…. Next, I am to play with a basketball, chasing it to and fro on the set. I nail that scene in nary a few takes. Playing with a ball is my speciality. Then comes the scene where I play b-ball with an actor. He tosses it to me and I shoot it back with my muzzle. We do this a number of times and I’m flawless every time. Lastly, comes the scene of the basketball player and me, side by side, back towards the camera, looking at the logo on the back curtain. What can I say? I nail that scene, too.
After working for a few hours, with the appropriate breaks, they’ve gotten exactly what they wanted. Mom and I head home, where I make sure to set the DVR to record SNL the next day. I sometimes have trouble staying up late and don’t want to miss it. Alas, as is many times the case, my skit gets cut due to time constraints. I am able to find it online, however. Unfortunately, the only part they use of my first-rate performance is a split second- don’t-blink-or-you”ll-miss-it, image of me barking one time!
Photos Courtesy Of The Author