'SNL' Tidbits for October 11, 2001

By Sean Bradley,

Dubya Back on 'SNL'

In an opening sketch that eerily foreshadowed Sunday's attacks on Afghanistan, Will Ferrell returned with his impression of President George W. Bush on "Saturday Night Live" over the weekend.

Numerous media outlets assumed that impersonating Bush was -- for the time-being -- off-limits for "SNL," but Ferrell kicked off the show as Bush addressing Osama bin Laden from the White House.

"Buddy, you screwed up big time," he said, as the audience roared with laughter and applause. "Guess what, Amigo, I'm comin' to get ya." Ferrell's portrayal of the President lightened up a little on the dimwit approach and focused more on a vengeful Bush.

According to an "SNL" insider, the Bush opening was initially planned to appear midway through the show, while the spoof of E!'s Emmy Awards Pre-Show was written as the cold opening. Audience response for the Bush sketch was so overwhelming during dress-rehearsal that the switch was made an hour before show time.

Parnell Made Some 'Friends' at NBC

Just two months after getting the boot from "SNL," Chris Parnell will return to the Peacock network as a guest star on "Friends."

In the episode, Chandler (Matthew Perry) tries to ruin the promotion of a distant co-worker (Parnell) who's mistakenly been calling him "Toby" for five years.

Parnell appeared on "SNL" from September 1998 through May 2001, developing such characters as aspiring dancer Kyle DeMarco and performing impressions ranging from NBC newsman Tom Brokaw to rapper Eminem.

The "Friends" episode featuring Parnell will air Thursday, October 25 at 8:00 pm, ET on NBC.

Lipton vs. Ferrell

No, it's not an episode of MTV's "Celebrity Deathmatch." But Will Ferrell will face-off with James Lipton for the first time this Sunday, on an anniversary special of Bravo's "Inside the Actors Studio."

Ferrell has portrayed Lipton repeatedly in "SNL" parodies of "Actors Studio," but until this weekend had never before appeared face-to-face, on television with the bearded one himself.

For the two-hour special celebrating the show's 100th guest, Lipton has taped a mock interview in which he's questioned by Ferrell, Variety reports. In the five minute segment, Ferrell as Lipton will force the real Lipton to answer the Bernard Pivot questionnaire the host asks his guests at the end of every "Actors Studio."

"Inside the Actors Studio 100th Guest Celebration" premieres October 14 at 7 pm ET on Bravo.

How Will Drew Arrive?

According to a news story which appeared Tuesday on TV Guide Online, Drew Barrymore was unsure how she would be getting from Los Angeles to New York for hosting duties on this weekend's "SNL."

With only two days until Barrymore is set to be live from New York, one would assume the problem has been long resolved by now, but as of the interview she didn't know if she felt comfortable making the trip in a commercial jetliner. (Season premiere hostess Reese Witherspoon was permitted use of an NBC corporate jet).

"I'm not sure," Barrymore confessed. "I don't know what will be happening. We're taking everything minute-by-minute and hour-by-hour, because we're at the place where 'day-by-day' is even too broad." There was no mention of when the interview occurred.

'Serendipity' with Shannon Opens Strong

Miramax's "Serendipity," co-starring former "SNLer" Molly Shannon, opened at No. 2 over the weekend taking in $13.3 million. Denzel Washington's "Training Day" came out at No. 1.

Shannon plays the best friend of Kate Beckinsale's character in "Serendipity," largely set in New York. Miramax marketing VP David Kaminow tells the AP the romantic comedy is "a terrific love letter to New York, the way people want to think about New York."

Produced for an estimated $28 million, Kaminow seems encouraged by the weekend's results. "The movie started off strong, and we know we have a good word of mouth movie."

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