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‘Saturday Night Live’ Pays Loving Tribute to Hal Willner – Variety



Within the closing moments of the first-ever “Saturday Evening Stay From Dwelling,” the present paid tribute to Hal Willner, who died on April 7 and had signs in keeping with coronavirus. Willner was famend as a multi-talented producer of albums by Lou Reed, Marianne Faithfull, Lucinda Williams and multi-artist tribute compilations to Charles Mingus, Kurt Weil and others — and likewise dealt with music for the skits on “SNL” since 1981.

Willner’s huge musical versatility made him an excellent contributor to the present. Castmember Kate Mackinnon launched the phase, saying, “Among the present’s sketches are extra cinematic in high quality and must be scored extra like a film to ensure that them to make sense and for the jokes to land. The music turns into such an integral a part of the sketch that you simply form of don’t discover it, however with out it, it wouldn’t make any sense. The man who scores it solely has a couple of hours — and that man’s identify is Hal Willner, and we misplaced him this week.”

The phase then featured a number of castmembers from throughout the years — starting from Adam Sandler and Tina Fey to Pete Davidson and Fred Armisen — paying tribute to Willner, from dwelling, in fact.

Mackinnon, tearing up, referred to as him “One of many coolest and most passionate and good natured individuals”; Armisen mentioned “He used to return as much as my dressing room and share music with me.”

The strains of Lou Reed’s 1972 tune “Excellent Day” (which was really produced by David Bowie and Mick Ronson) performed within the background through the tributes, after which got here up in full as a Zoom-style lineup of feminine “SNL” castmembers, together with Fey, Mya Rudolph, Amy Poehler, Molly Shannon and Ana Gasteyer, sang the tune in tribute to Willner.

“We recognize every part you probably did for us, Hal,” Pete Davidson mentioned. “We’re gonna miss you a lot.”

The phase closed with Willner talking of his a few years engaged on the present. “The reside factor is what’s actually thrilling to me — it’s an incredible gig. When it’s all working, there’s nothing prefer it. I kinda get off on the hazard, as a result of it will probably actually f— up, or ‘That is gonna be so magical.’”

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