David Spade turned down David Bowie’s request to switch with him in an SNL sketch

The SNL alumnus recalls a week where he received a request from David Bowie about a sketch and turned his idea down.

Last Updated on August 24, 2023

David Spade David Bowie

It takes a certain kind of cajones to refuse a request from the Starman. However, when you’re a performer on Saturday Night Live, you have to be somewhat of a caretaker with your characters, as they can make or break you. It’s not a rare practice that when celebrities host or make a special guest appearance on the famous sketch show, they either play themselves or encounter a cast member whose very talent is to do an impression of that celebrity. And when the celebrity guest is a good sport, it can be fair game and lead to something great.

Former Saturday Night Live cast members Dana Carvey and David Spade host a podcast titled Fly on the Wall, which specializes in interviewing comedic actors who have associated with the NBC show. Many episodes feature exclusive behind-the-scenes stories from the mouths of the people themselves. According to The Hollywood Reporter, in a recent episode, Spade revealed a time he turned down David Bowie‘s request to trade places with him in a sketch. The sketch featured one of Spade’s signature characters where he plays a snooty receptionist that “stops you because he thinks they’re better than you.”

Spade’s idea was that Bowie would make a cameo as himself in the sketch, but Bowie had an alternate take. Spade said he received a message to call the Ziggy Stardust artist, “I called him and he answers and it’s f*cking Bowie.” He continues, “And he’s like, ‘This [sketch] is so fucking funny. This is exactly my life and these people I see.’ And he goes, ‘One tweak: Can I play the receptionist?… That’s the funnier part.’” Bowie’s logic was that he found playing himself “kind of boring” since “everyone’s seen that,” so the twist was Spade would not be playing his own character. The rub, as it were, was that Spade was hoping to make the character recurring, which it eventually was, so he didn’t want to break up the portrayal. Spade turned his request down.

Bowie had apparently persisted, replying, “Well, what if the sketch never gets on [the show]?” To which Spade replied, “I’m like, ‘God, how do you know this show this well?’ It’s so true. What if it doesn’t get on? I’m fucking blowing it. He’s like, ‘It’ll get on if I do it.’” Not only was Bowie right, and the sketch didn’t make it to air, but Spade would not be featured in the episode entirely. “The rest of the week I wasn’t in the show and I was like, ‘F*ck.’”

Source: THR

About the Author

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E.J. is a News Editor at JoBlo, as well as a Video Editor, Writer, and Narrator for some of the movie retrospectives on our JoBlo Originals YouTube channel, including Reel Action, Revisited and some of the Top 10 lists. He is a graduate of the film program at Missouri Western State University with concentrations in performance, writing, editing and directing.