In the upcoming May 8 Mother’s Day episode of Saturday Night Live, comedy legend Betty White will make her first appearance on the show. After turning down the opportunity to host a few years ago, White revealed in a conference call on Monday that her agent convinced her to say yes.
“No. I was asked a couple of times years ago and again I said thank you but no thank you,” White said. “It’s such a New York focused show. And I am so Californian. I was always afraid I’d feel like a fish out of water. So I said no thank you. This time my agent put a firm hand in the middle of my back and pushed and said you’ve got to do it. So I’m going to make it fun. But between us, I’m scared to death!”
With the show only a week away, White still wasn’t sure of the content of the program.
“I haven’t a clue what I’m going to be doing,” White said. “I haven’t met anybody. I haven’t heard anything about content. So I’m getting a little panicky, but I look forward to maybe sitting down with the writers and hearing what they have in mind.”
One reason White was offered the role to host next Saturday’s show is because of a Facebook group that quickly garnered fans supporting White to be on the show. White said she originally wanted to decline.
“Well all of a sudden people would tell me that they saw the Facebook thing,” White said. “All these people had joined in. And I couldn’t believe it. At first I thought they were putting me on. But it just came out of left field, and I was astounded. I told my agents to please say ‘thank you I appreciate it but no thank you.’ And he said you have to do it. And if you don’t do it I’ll divorce you. And I love my agent so here I am doing it.”
Growing up involved with live television, Saturday Night Live shouldn’t be anything new for White. However, White recalled one live TV moment that she hopes to avoid while on SNL.
“Oh life’s darkest moment,” White said. “I was doing a song on Jack Paar’s show and, all of a sudden I lost the lyrics. It was a song I knew so well: When I Fall in Love. And I don’t know what broke my concentration or whatever and I just – I went on – I sang something. I made up lyrics as I went along, but that is sheer panic. And I have a feeling it’s the same kind of panic that I may feel when I do Saturday Night Live.”
Even though she’s not sure what skits she’ll be a part of, White said she’s up to any challenge the writers suggest.
“I’m game to try anything. This is an adventure.”