SNL alums reflect on what the late Phil Hartman’s career might have looked like today, from Breaking Bad to The Crown
Dana Carvey and David Spade hosted a two-part tribute to the legendary Saturday Night Live star on their Fly on the Wall podcast.
Starring roles on Breaking Bad, The Crown, and more, according to some of his castmates and other SNL alums, who recently paid tribute to the comedian in honor of what would have been his 75th birthday.
The first part of the special was recorded live at the Groundlings Theatre in Los Angeles, where Sweeney, Nealon, and former head writer Jim Downey spoke with the hosts on stage as Hartman’s daughter Birgen watched from the audience.
“I just feel so sad that we didn’t get to know what Phil’s career would have been,” Sweeney said. “He would have been busy,” Carvey responded. “Yes, I always wonder about the career Phil would’ve had too if he went on. I mean, certainly Tom Cruise wouldn’t be where he is right now, that’s for sure,” Nealon said half-jokingly.
“Well, you know, it sounds funny, but Phil would’ve been someone to parachute out of an airplane and hang off things, you know, because of all his hobbies,” Carvey noted. The hosts and guests noted elsewhere in the podcast that Hartman was an adventurous hobbyist who enjoyed scuba diving and sailing, among many other eclectic pastimes.
Mike Myers, Phil Hartman, and Dana Carvey
Mike Myers, Phil Hartman, and Dana Carvey
| Credit: Leon Bennett/FilmMagic; Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty; Gregg DeGuire/WireImage
“He could have been a good Walter White from Breaking Bad,” Nealon suggested. “He would have worked and worked and worked and worked and worked. He would’ve been nonstop,” Sweeney said. “[With]…streaming he could’ve done like 10 shows at once with his range,” Carvey added.
Myers also pondered Hartman’s 21st century career potential while joining the hosts for a studio recording included in the second part of the tribute. “We miss him,” the Austin Powers star said. “I saw him as a hero and a mentor, and a very good friend and…he raised the bar for everybody… of what was possible. And…I would’ve loved to see what he’d be working on now.”
“The amount of work he would’ve gotten if he wanted to take it…because of his range, you could have put him in any of these shows,” Carvey said. “If he chose to…he could be in The Crown.”
Myers also suggested that Hartman’s talents could have translated into a successful career behind the camera. “I feel that he could have also directed,” he said. “Because he came from…[a]… drawing…[background]…he thought in pictures.”
(Original Caption) : 1993-New York, NY-Photo shows the cast of Saturday Night Live posed. Amongst those in the group are: Phil Hartman, Lorne Michaels (Producer), Ellen Kleghorne, Kevin Nealon, Adam Sandler, Chris Farley, Tim Meadows, Mike Myers, Rob Schneider and David Spade. (Photo by Mitchell Gerber/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)
The ‘Saturday Night Live’ cast in 1993
| Credit: Mitchell Gerber/Corbis/VCG via Getty
Downey also testified to Hartman’s importance to SNL, explaining that the order of an episodes’ sketches would sometimes be determined by the performer’s wardrobe logistics. “Phil was probably in more pieces than any cast member in history, especially now that the casts are so huge… I mean, when you guys were there it was more like eight, nine [cast members]…Phil would be in so many pieces…that our running order…[for sketches]… would be determined by his wigging requirements.”
EW ranked Hartman as the second-greatest SNL cast member in the show’s history thanks to his incredible versatility and consistency in roles ranging from frustrated everymen to outlandish characters like “Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer.”
Listen to part 1 of Fly on the Wall’s tribute to Hartman below and part 2 here.
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