Since Heidi Gardner‘s debut on Saturday Night Live in 2017, she’s been fairly clear about her rooting love for her hometown Kansas Metropolis Chiefs – usually showing within the present’s sendoff/finale (aka the “goodnights”) dressed head-to-toe in Chiefs gear. Already a standout solid member, this previous season Gardner took on an excellent larger position with the present after the departure of eight solid members. The truth is, of the present solid who seem in sketches, Gardner is now third in seniority (solely behind Kenan Thompson and Mikey Day). Gardner had a terrific season, and as she says forward, it was for her, probably the most creatively satisfying season of her profession.
However, her shining achievement this season simply would possibly have been the Travis Kelce episode. Kelce, the star tight finish for the Chiefs, had simply gained his second Tremendous Bowl and has a repute of being a, let’s say, full of life persona and is definitely fairly humorous (except you’re a fan of no matter group Kelce is taking part in that week, then it’s rather less humorous). Gardner, as she tells us forward, had been pitching Kelce for the final two years pondering he’d be an ideal host. On March 4th, Gardner lastly bought her want … after which felt an awesome sense of accountability. What if it didn’t go effectively? What if Kelce wasn’t having enjoyable? What if she didn’t get on the present that week? Lastly, as she tells us, she simply needed to let go and simply benefit from the experience. (By the way in which, Kelce was incredible and Gardner appears in virtually each sketch. And as I point out forward, I used to be on the gown rehearsal that night time and it was apparent even from the viewers what all this meant to Gardner.)
How did you pull off Travis Kelce internet hosting? How did you even point out this within the first place?
I simply normally say that I simply did an excellent job of by no means shutting my mouth about it. It was in all probability about two years in the past, I believe I had simply labored with Travis on one thing, just like the ESPYs, and in addition I simply seen his persona throughout video games and I used to be like, he’s actually humorous. He’s charming. He’s personable. I noticed him on different telecasts and he appears very snug in entrance of the digicam. Each couple of years SNL has an athlete host and I all the time really feel like that’s one of the crucial thrilling forms of hosts as a result of nobody expects them to be nice. So in the event that they are, it’s very cool and really enjoyable for everybody. One thing to me simply stated: Travis Kelce’s the following. I used to be saying that, it was after the Chiefs had gained their second Tremendous Bowl ever…
In 2020, Tremendous Bowl LIV…
Yeah. Then they misplaced to the Bucs. After which they didn’t win the AFC Championship the following yr. It was simply on this bizarre time the place I believe everybody was like, “Nicely yeah, we’re starting to know who Travis Kelce is, in the event you’re not a soccer fan. However it certain can be good if the Chiefs win the Tremendous Bowl.” Then this yr the Chiefs have been simply choosing up loads of momentum. To the women who work within the expertise division, I might be like, “I actually suppose Travis ought to host, I actually suppose Travis ought to host.” They’re like, “Yeah, Lorne does too. It’s simply, he has to win the Tremendous Bowl.” And I wasn’t certain if that was really true or not…
Proper. As a result of J.J. Watt hosted and he didn’t win the Tremendous Bowl.
Yeah. I believe they have been simply messing with me as a result of they have been like, “If he doesn’t beat the Bengals this week and we’re asking Joe Burrow.”
I don’t suppose any of that’s true. I believe they have been simply messing with me. However when the Chiefs gained the Tremendous Bowl, I believe the supply was out that subsequent day. All people was very on board. It was actually simply me working my mouth for 2 years straight. That’s all I say. I don’t know, I believe loads of different persons are liable for it. I believe Travis Kelce is liable for his expertise. I simply by no means shut up.
I like Patrick Mahomes, and I believe he’d be good. However, Kelce appears on one other degree…
Yeah. I used to be additionally making an attempt to pitch them as a combo.
However I additionally suppose in the event you begin to watch Patrick from his newest Jimmy Kimmel interview after they gained this final Tremendous Bowl…
I did watch that. Sure.
Yeah, I believe he’s getting actually snug in entrance of the digicam. I may also be campaigning for him to host. That is all I do there now, I attempt to get Chiefs to host SNL.
I’m wanting ahead to 5 years now when Harrison Butker hosts SNL.
[Laughs] I’m simply getting perhaps season tickets by that time.
How was this final season for you? The season earlier than lots of people left. It felt such as you form of took cost after that.
It was so cool. Yeah. I simply felt like we did have the largest exodus I’d ever skilled at SNL. We hadn’t had something like that prior from my time there. I simply … I assumed this yr can be a rebuilding yr. I assumed that’s what it might be categorized as and so I actually had no concept for me or the remainder of the solid how it might learn. Simply because we had so many individuals depart, I assumed that will be the story … and that was a narrative. However then additionally, simply by default, I simply really feel like I bought handed the ball much more. Personally, for me, it was a really creatively fulfilling season. If you simply really feel helpful, it simply felt busy. Additionally, I believe while you’re doing extra at SNL simply persistently, then a lot stress isn’t simply in your one sketch or your probability to shine each three weeks. It’s like, “Nicely, I’m energetic all through the present. I’m doing so much. I’m not holding something too tight. It’s all simply enjoyable.” That vitality, I actually felt that this season. I simply bought to take action a lot that I bought to be much more free and free and that felt nice.
You talked about extra creatively fulfilling and being free and free. Even the yr earlier than, season 47, you continue to didn’t really feel fairly that method?
I believe I used to be having much more enjoyable in season 47. I simply suppose, and I’m making an attempt to suppose again, it’s laborious. All of them mix collectively. No, I simply did really feel an even bigger distinction this yr. It simply felt extra inventive. There was simply extra to do and that felt nice. It was a distinction.
I really feel just like the Kelce present was your crown jewel of this previous season. You made this occur, you’re in virtually each sketch. Earlier than that present, did you’re feeling extra stress since that is what you’ve been wanting?
I felt like I used to be simply having enjoyable speaking about it for the final two years. Simply being like, “This could occur. This could occur.” I might say it to Travis on a regular basis. I solely knew him a bit of bit. Then as soon as the week of the present began and I out of the blue realized, oh… internet hosting SNL is a big accountability. Like, oh my God, I hope he’s having enjoyable. And, oh my God, I hope the present all goes effectively. I out of the blue felt this large accountability that I had not deliberate on. However, for me, I used to be like, okay, the one method for me to have enjoyable this week is definitely to let go of that accountability and be like, “Everybody’s an grownup. Everybody can care for themselves. Heidi don’t.” But in addition be certain, similar to with any host that is available in, that I’m additionally serving to care for the host and ensure we welcome them into our residence.
With Travis, it was actually cool, since I’m such a fan and I like sports activities a lot. I used to be asking him, “What’s your sport day routine?” He was like, “Oh, you wouldn’t consider it. However I eat Uncrustables. Earlier than the sport and even throughout the sport to maintain my vitality up.” So on Saturday I purchased three containers of Uncrustables. I made certain he had these.
Oh, that’s nice.
It was humorous. It was throughout gown rehearsal, we have been in a sketch collectively and he leaned over earlier than it began and he was like, “I’ve been pounding these Uncrustables all day. Thanks.” And I used to be like, “Good!” That was simply such a enjoyable present. However I additionally tried to ensure everybody knew that present was so particular to me. However even after I bought requested to do – not the Thursday promo, I did do this – however the Tuesday promo. I simply politely declined. I used to be like, “I do know everybody is aware of that is actually particular to me. I don’t need this week to be about me.”
You’ve made it clear throughout the goodnights what group you root for on a weekly foundation. I believe individuals knew.
That was the primary week I don’t suppose I wore a Chiefs factor. As a result of I used to be like, I’ve made it abundantly clear and that is the cherry on high. I don’t must put on full head-to-toe Chiefs this week.
Did he agree to only something? As a result of even the “American Woman” sketch, I can’t consider he agreed to that.
I do know he was so down for every part. Additionally, I needed to give myself a chat to my internal little one self initially of the week that was like, “Hey, I do know you need this week to be good, however there’s a probability, like typically occurs at SNL, the place you may be blamed for a present. You may not get in a sketch. Hope that you’re, however only a very sensible, take your ego out of it it doesn’t matter what. That is so cool. A Kansas Metropolis Chief is internet hosting the present.” Additionally, my brother Justin was there, my youthful brother was there. I had mates fly in from Kansas Metropolis. I threw a tailgate in my dressing room and I instructed myself, “Should you’re not within the present this week, you get to observe it together with your complete household and that’s actually cool too, and we will all simply be Chiefs followers.” Then the Kelce brothers got here earlier than the stay present and so they tailgated and ate barbecue. I used to be like that’s so cool. “I do know for a reality you’re the one host that’s ever tailgated earlier than a present.”
There have been loads of Chiefs followers within the crowd, which shocked me. Your brother instructed me you had one thing to do with that with a charity public sale.
Yeah, it simply so occurred, this charity that I’m part of, the Big Slick, I had auctioned off two tickets to SNL the summer season earlier than. It simply so occurs these individuals picked that March 4th date to return to the present. As a result of I by no means do it depending on a bunch as a result of I don’t know the host. Once they got here again to my dressing room, I used to be like, “Are you able to consider you picked this date?” And so they have been like, “No!” It simply couldn’t have been extra Kansas Citian good.
Folks in my circles know I’m a giant Chiefs fan. If he wasn’t good, I might have heard about it. Even Eagles followers I do know have come as much as me, begrudgingly, “Yeah, he was good.”
Right here’s why I knew he’d be good. SNL is its personal beast. Then when you’re in it and also you’re studying all these sketches, you’re studying to learn cue playing cards, you’re studying to commute together with your eye line between cue playing cards. I began to really feel like, oh my God, that is so overwhelming. It’s even overwhelming for me typically. Okay, I’m Ego right here, Bowen at this set of cue playing cards and simply remembering all that. However when he was getting notes like that from writers, producers, all this stuff, I used to be like, “Oh man. That’s so much to recollect.” After which I used to be like, wait, this man will get changes a whole sport. Simply remembering full on performs. And he’s additionally on stay TV each week. I used to be like, “wait, that is all going to return collectively.” I simply had this second earlier than the stay present the place I used to be like, “He’s so good. He’s going to be simply nice. It’s his job.” That’s what I believe can actually make an athlete shine and the place our jobs are form of related.
He appeared to have nice chemistry with Bowen in “Straight Male Good friend.”
I believe there was. I believe additionally, I heard some tales from the set. In that scene the place he’s consuming the Buffalo Wild Wings? Both you have got prop meals or it’s like nobody desires to eat these. Travis was simply going via the wings and I believe the director was like, “Dude, you don’t need to eat these.” And he’s like, “I’m hungry.” I used to be like, so “soccer participant.” Excellent.
Okay, so what different present stands out for you this previous season?
That present and the Steve Martin, Martin Short one. As a result of these are simply, that was my entire childhood with older films. I simply actually felt like the child in me was like, “A Chief is internet hosting SNL and my favourite actors from my childhood are internet hosting SNL.” And I simply couldn’t not be so blissful.
Additionally, we had a few new writers on the present this yr. Jimmy Fowlie, we shared an workplace collectively and he’s an previous buddy of mine and I felt like I had loads of enjoyable writing with him. Ceara O’Sullivan, I labored along with her on a pair “Updates,” really just a few “Updates” that I’m actually happy with. In the direction of the top of the season, we did the mother who has three daughters and one son. Then we did the busy coworker doing seemingly nothing. These “Updates” for me are a few my favorites ever.
However is the Kelce episode your favourite? It needs to be.
I believe it’s, for the Chief’s causes, for certain. I can’t think about my world’s colliding in a extra lovely method than that and having my household there. It was very candy.
No, belief me, I’ve talked to lots of people in Kansas Metropolis. You’re very talked-about there now.
I believe it may be due to that episode.
Nicely, wherever you have been at earlier than, it doubled due to that episode as a result of everybody is aware of how concerned you have been…
Yeah, I believe it helped.
I heard a narrative that throughout the Chiefs’ bye-week final season he was in New York and confirmed up on the after-after occasion and sang “My Manner.”
I believe he simply needed to return to the present. It was the Jack Harlow present and it was actually enjoyable seeing him on the market watching from the ground. Then I really didn’t go to that after-party, or perhaps I didn’t go to the after-after, however I’m certain he in all probability did sing that. However I do know on Monday it was as if, after I set to work, it was as if my greatest buddy had been on the after occasion and everybody was coming as much as me, “We love them. Oh my God!” Everybody was reporting again to me and I used to be like, “Nicely that’s nice to listen to.” We’re not that shut. I didn’t wish to false symbolize, however it was similar to, you can inform everybody was like, “He can be an excellent host. You’re not loopy.”
Nicely, it’s not false representing, such as you stated, you pushed for this for 2 years. Should you’re not within the solid, he in all probability doesn’t host. That’s a good assertion, proper?
I don’t know if that’s a good assertion as a result of I simply wish to give the expertise division credit score that they’re all the time searching for fascinating, cool hosts. Whether or not they be entertainers, athletes, or each. I might assume he can be on their radar? I don’t know, perhaps it’s my Midwest modesty.
Okay, sure, I might’ve stated the identical reply. However even from the viewers, I might inform how a lot that present meant to you.
That was actually cool. Yeah, thanks for reliving that with me.
Anyway, I look ahead to Chris Jones internet hosting subsequent season.
I’ll get all of them! Gotta catch all of them, to return on.
Andy Reid, I believe he wants his shot.
Oh, he can be incredible!
You possibly can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.