35 Years Ago: Why Mike Myers’ ‘SNL’ Debut Was ‘Quite Terrifying’
On Jan. 21, 1989, Mike Myers made his debut as a Saturday Night Live cast member, his first step to becoming one of the show's breakout stars.
The young Canadian had rapidly risen through comedy's ranks, performing with Second City troupes in Toronto and Chicago before being recommended to SNL creator Lorne Michaels.
The comedian's first sketch would be "You Mock Me," written by Al Franken and featuring Myers opposite the episode’s host, actor John Malkovich.
“The premise was that he was a king, and anything anybody said to him, the king went, ‘You mock me, and I will not be mocked’ — you know, in that Malkovich way,” Myers recalled to Metrograph. “I was terrified. Because it really is live TV, and it is actually quite terrifying.”
Watch Mike Myers' First 'SNL' Sketch
"You Mock Me" wouldn't go down as one of Myers' finest SNL moments. The sketch was only mildly funny, designed to play up Malkovich's famous intensity in contrast to the late night show's typical goofiness. Myers' part was notable, however, as he displayed a penchant for U.K. accents (it's hard to tell here if it's meant to be English or Scottish). It's a trait fans would become familiar with during his SNL tenure, and later in films such as Austin Powers.
Myers would remain part of the Saturday Night Live cast for six years. He became one of the show’s most popular stars, creating such memorable characters as Wayne Campbell (Wayne’s World), Linda Richman (Coffee Talk), Dieter (Sprockets) and Pat Arnold (Bill Swerski's Superfans).
Even after leaving SNL and becoming an A-list Hollywood star, Myers revered his time on the late night staple.
“I wanted to be on the show since I was eleven years old,” he recalled. “So I wear having done it as a badge of honor.”
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Gallery Credit: Corey Irwin