There are two reasons that Eugene Lee, Saturday Night Live’s longtime production designer, could not personally oversee preparations for Melissa McCarthy’s hilarious return to the sketch show this past weekend.
It’s exactly this kind of thinking that has helped the late-night institution stay relevant and fresh for more than 40 years-and it’s also the thought process that leads the show to keep trying to one-up itself, as seen most recently with Melissa McCarthy’s latest Sean Spicer impression.
Each of McCarthy’s three in-character appearances on S.N.L. have included a podium gimmick-but as Lee notes, the show is consistently upping the ante.
For the first podium, the request was simple, Lee said: make an authentic-looking lectern that was light enough for McCarthy to lift.
Saturday’s episode might not have been the first time the comedy behemoth has pulled off a remote segment, but it’s still a relatively rare occurrence-one made much simpler by technology, Lee noted.
As Lee recalled, he and his fellow designers discovered one little flaw as they examined the set for McCarthy’s upcoming skit from afar: two American flags flanked the lectern, instead of an American flag and the presidential flag.
“My set designer called around,” Lee said.