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'SNL' Tidbits for November 15, 1999

By Sean Bradley

R.E.M. and Jim Carrey! ... or is it DeVito?

An Andy Kaufman-themed "SNL" episode seems to be shaping up for the live December 11 installment. R.E.M. has been confirmed as the evening's musical guest, and talk that either Jim Carrey or Danny DeVito will host is surfacing. Carrey and DeVito both star in Milos Forman's Kaufman biopic, "Man on the Moon," named after R.E.M.'s Kaufman tribute song of the same name.

www.JimCarreyOnline.com reports that Jim Carrey will host -- his first time taking the helm of the show since his acclaimed May 18, 1996 outing. Meanwhile, Danny DeVito made it sound as if he'd be hosting when he spoke with "Entertainment Tonight" recently. DeVito last hosted on January 9, 1993. In either case, the Ben Affleck-hosted show has been bumped to February sweeps.


Spacey to Return

In an interview with the "Badger Herald" last month, actor Kevin Spacey was asked if he plans on hosting "SNL" again.

"We are actually talking with 'SNL' about when I am going to host next," Spacey replied. "It will probably be either late this season or early next. I had a blast working with those guys."

Spacey, who hosted the show in January 1997, is praised by many "SNL" fans as the best host of the 1996-97 season. The Spacey-hosted episode was submitted to the Emmys but received no nominations.


Kattan Back on Big Screen

"SNL" cast member Chris Kattan has signed to do Nora Ephron's "Numbers" with John Travolta, Tim Roth, and Lisa Kudrow, "Variety" reports. Kattan will play Kudrow's ex-boyfriend, hired by Travolta's character to scam lottery earnings, eventually becoming his scapegoat.

Kattan is making regular trips to the bigscreen, expanding his resume with the current WB release "House on Haunted Hill" and the upcoming "Monkey Bone" from Fox Animation Studios. He previously co-starred with fellow "SNLer" Will Ferrell in "A Night at the Roxbury."


No 'SNL' for 3rd Baseman

Winning the World Series will give the Yankees not only their coveted rings, but offers of millions of dollars in product endorsements and television guest appearances. Derek Jeter is already said to be making about $1 million a year from deals with Nike, Florsheim shoes, and the Discover card.

But, despite all the media attention, not all the Yankees are hot for the spotlight.

Third baseman Scott Brosius has turned down an invitation to appear on "Saturday Night Live," the "New York Daily News" reports. But "SNL" isn't the only one whose been turned down. Brosius also had a negative R.S.V.P. for CBS's "Late Show with David Letterman," and he has nixed nearly $1 million in endorsements.


Floyd Hovers Over 'SNL's' 25th

"SNL's" 25th Anniversary was the second most-covered story during the month of September on the primetime newsmagazines, according to the latest survey from NewsTV Reports, a newsletter that tracks such issues.

The most-covered story was Hurricane Floyd, which the newsmagazines devoted 25 segments to. The start of "SNL's" 25th season tied coverage of the Texas church shootings as the runner-up, each the subject of seven segments.

NewsTV Reports defines a segment as a single story or package on one topic. A longer story broken by a commercial counts as two segments.


'SNL' Wasn't Norm's 1st Priority

Norm Macdonald should thank his lucky stars that ABC recently picked up his sitcom for the entire season.

Macdonald admits to the November issue of "Details" that he's deep into gambling but doesn't think he needs help. He has bet up to $200,000 on a weekend's worth of ballgames and spent 12 straight hours at a craps table. "A lot of times on 'Saturday Night Live,' I'd be thinking about gambling instead of the show," Macdonald recalls.

He admits he's taken some big hits. "I once considered going to Gambler's Anonymous, but I figured it's for losers," he tells writer Michael Kaplan, adding, "I don't see how it [gambling] can physically harm you. All it can do is take away your money, and you can always make more money."


McKinney and 'Kids' to Tour

Before he was a cast member on "SNL," Mark McKinney was a member of the acclaimed Canadian comedy troupe "The Kids in the Hall."

McKinney and his fellow "Kids" -- Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, and Scott Thompson -- are returning to their live-performance roots for a major North American theater tour in early 2000. The tour kicks off in Vancouver, BC on January 13, and will include approximately 25 cities.

Discovered by Lorne Michaels, creator and executive producer of "SNL," "The Kids in the Hall" ran on Canadian Television from 1989-1995. The show was also broadcast on HBO and can be seen on Comedy Central to this day.


WB Commits to Wolf

"Variety" reports that former "SNL" featured player Fred Wolf has been given a pilot commitment from the WB for a half-hour sitcom he would write.

The laffer would be set in Los Angeles and revolve around a group of twentysomethings just starting out in Hollywood. While Wolf plans to use his own experiences coming up the ranks in showbiz as inspiration for plots, the show is said to be less an inside take on Hollywood and more a look at the more common experience of young people just starting out in the workforce.

Wolf assisted in the writing of such films as the Chris Farley/David Spade buddy pics "Tommy Boy" and "Black Sheep," as well as the Norm Macdonald vehicle "Dirty Work." Before getting into movies, Wolf spent five years as a writer on "SNL" from 1992 through 1996. He was head writer during the 1995-96 season, and a co-producer and featured player in the fall of 1996.


Farley Foundation Charity

Madison, Wisconsin's Union Theater will play host on November 19 to "Comics Come Home," a fundraiser for a charity named after late former "SNL" cast member Chris Farley. Another ex-"SNLer," Jim Breuer, will be on hand with Tom Arnold and Bob Saget to raise money for The Chris Farley Foundation, a charity dedicated to drug and alcohol abuse awareness.


HBO Renews Miller

HBO has once again renewed the successful comedy program, "Dennis Miller Live," hosted of course by "SNL's" former "Weekend Update" anchor Dennis Miller. The 26 episode seventh season begins in January.

In the meantime, Miller is preparing his one-hour special to ring in the Y2K: "Dennis Miller: The Millennium Special -- 1000 Years, 100 Laughs, 10 Really Good Ones," which will air on December 4.

Miller's fifth special for HBO will be divided into seven sections, including a recap of humor in the first 900 years of the millennium. The other segments will scrutinize the eras of 1900-29, 1930-45, 1946-63, 1964-79 and 1980-2000.


Stiller to Tie the Knot

Former "SNL" featured player Ben Stiller, who starred in the 1998 box office hit "There's Something About Mary," popped the question to actress Christine Taylor last weekend.

Taylor, 28, is best known for playing Marcia Brady in 1995's "The Brady Bunch Movie" and its 1996 sequel, "A Very Brady Sequel." Recently, she costarred in the Adam Sandler-Drew Barrymore comedy, "The Wedding Singer."

Stiller, 34, and Taylor began dating in April after meeting on the set of "Heat, Vision and Jack," a TV pilot Stiller is developing for FOX. According to the "New York Daily News," Stiller sealed the marriage deal with a roomful of roses and candles


Downey Jr. Pleas Rejected

Robert Downey Jr.'s pleas for a lighter sentence and release from a prison drug treatment center were rejected last month.

Judge Lawrence A. Mira called the former "SNL" cast member manipulative and said he had already given him several chances to rehabilitate himself.

Downey, 34, was sentenced in August to three years in prison for violating probation from a 1996 drug conviction. He admitted during a hearing that he had missed scheduled drug tests.


Morris Says Think Positive

Garrett Morris, one of "SNL's" original Not Ready For Primetime Players from 1975-80, says he found success in show business by imagining where he wanted to be in life.

The "Associated Press" reports that Morris told Dillard University students last month they should spend 20 minutes each day picturing themselves with perfect, 4.0 grade-point averages. But he said they'll also need a passionate drive to succeed.

"Imagery is no excuse for not working," said Morris, a New Orleans native and 1958 Dillard graduate. Morris accepted one of the school's "Excellence and Heritage" awards.


R.I.P. Special Effects Director McCarthy & Hairstylist Shihar

Bob McCarthy, 66, a longtime special effects director in all entertainment fields, died October 31 of respiratory failure at his home in Northridge. A native of New York City and veteran of the Korean War, McCarthy enjoyed a prolific career, creating special effects for Broadway, TV, film, and rock concerts. His television credits include "Saturday Night Live," "Twin Peaks," and "Touched by an Angel."

Cristofer Shihar, 48, a film, TV, and legit hairstylist who worked on a number of movies and TV series this decade, died October 19 of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma at the UCLA Medical Center. He had worked on "SNL," "Melrose Place," and "Lois & Clark: the New Adventures of Superman."


Mad at 'Mad' Parody

The closest thing "SNL" has to competition, FOX's "Mad TV," is taking a little heat for a parody of "Politically Incorrect" on an episode last month that has struck some viewers as insensitive. According to the "New York Post," the National Down Syndrome Society, and several other organizations, received complaints about the "P.I." sketch that featured Michael McDonald portraying former "Life Goes On" star Chris Burke. In the parody, Burke sits on the mock version of Mahr's panel with Bill Clinton, as played by Will Sasso, and tells the portly president: "Of course it was perjury, Mr. President! Even I know that and I'm retarded!"

A spokeswoman for the National Down Syndrome Society has requested that the network air public-service announcements about Down syndrome featuring the real Chris Burke, the paper reports.


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