Tina Fey Recalls Paula Abdul's Trainwreck 'SNL' Appearance
It was on Howard Stern's show that Tina Fey described SNL guest host Paris Hilton as "a piece of shit" who was universally hated by the cast, and now in Playboy (sorry Feynatics—just an interview, not a Naughty Showrunner spread in which she delivers script notes wearing only glasses and an unbuttoned men's dress shirt with the collar up), she recalls the experience of working with Paula Abdul:
"I was pregnant [with daughter Alice] at the time and probably a little moody, but I remember thinking, 'She's a disaster! I gotta prop this lady up and get her on TV,'" Fey dished.
She said Abdul was "disastrous ... in the way she generally appears to be.
"It was an American Idol sketch, and she wanted to change parts. So Amy Poehler had to play her."
A year later, Fey recalled seeing Abdul on a flight.
"We both looked at each other like, 'Do I know that girl?'" she said. "And then we both had that moment of recognition, and she was like, 'uuuggh.' I saw it register on her face that she had had a terrible time with us."
As it turns out, the only usable amount of Abdul would include a brief appearance at the end of an Idol sketch, in which she was called upon to register her displeasure over Poehler's substandard characterization, the versatile Not Ready For Prime Time Player having apparently failed to capture Paula's trademarked stiff-armed clap or the Oxy-and-Stoli-flavored lilt in her voice. Thankfully, Abdul wasn't so disastrous that a nervous Lorne Michaels had to go through with his emergency Plan B—having Horatio Sanz leap off the balcony and tackle her, justifying the ambush as a surprise reunion with plus-sized AI contestant Scott Savol.