‘Saturday Night Live’: Conan O’Brien ‘Felt Sorry’ for Mike Myers When He Tried to Talk Him out of ‘Wayne’s World’

Saturday Night Live had countless legendary names get their big start on the late-night live television sketch comedy show. Many artists relied on one another when they joined the cast, but they didn’t always get the best advice. In the case of Mike Meyers, Conan O’Brien explained how he tried to dissuade him from pitching Wayne’s World to Saturday Night Live. Nevertheless, the idea took on a life of its own in the future.

Mike Myers starred on ‘Saturday Night Live’ for 6 years

'Saturday Night Live' 'Wayne's World' Mike Myers as Wayne Campbell and Dana Carvey as Garth Algar. They're sitting on the couch with Myers holding a guitar and Carvey holding drumsticks.
L-R: Mike Myers as Wayne Campbell and Dana Carvey as Garth Algar | Alan Singer/NBCU Photo Bank

Myers first joined Saturday Night Live in 1989 and worked there for six years until 1995. He was only 26 years old at the time he started, but the production saw promise in him as a great addition to the show. It was clearly a smart move because he went on to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. Additionally, he earned praise from both his peers and audiences.

The actor would later leave the show to pursue his movie career and some behind-the-scenes drama that left many cast members packing. Myers introduced Wayne’s World to Saturday Night Live viewers, but he would later discover that he was sitting on a great idea that would be one of his most recognizable works.

Conan O’Brien tried to dissuade Mike Meyers from pitching ‘Wayne’s World’ to ‘Saturday Night Live’

According to James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales’ Live From New York, O’Brien was working on the show starting only a year prior to Myers. However, the talk show host would ultimately leave four years before him. Myers approached his Saturday Night Live co-star, Robert Smigel, and Bob Odenkirk with the idea for Wayne’s World, although O’Brien didn’t think it was such a great idea.

“He came to us, and he described to us this idea, this character he had named Wayne who had a cable show in his basement, and the show was called Wayne’s World,” O’Brien said. “We politely told him that we didn’t think it was his best idea. But I remember very clearly sitting at read-through in my little folding chair, and I turned the page of the script, and there’s the Wayne’s World we had dissuaded him from submitting. And I felt sorry for him. I thought, ‘This poor kid is going to have to learn the hard way.'”

However, Myers didn’t remember the incident the same way. He called O’Brien “modest” and explained how he was always “absolutely supportive,” but he gave fair feedback.

‘Wayne’s World’ went from television to the silver screen

Myers later became more famous for Wayne’s World in addition to his roles in Austin Powers and Shrek. However, Saturday Night Live gave him more than a platform for Wayne’s World, but also showed his comedy chops to a large audience. The film would become the 10th highest-grossing movie of 1992 and the highest-grossing movie based on a Saturday Night Live skit ever.

Wayne’s World 2 would hit cinemas the following year, although it didn’t open to quite the same critical reception. Additionally, the sequel didn’t perform at the box office as its predecessor did. However, it was against some stiff competition with Mrs. Doubtfire, Schindler’s List, and The Pelican Brief all competing at the holiday box office against Myers’ sequel.

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