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Fred Armisen Based The ‘SNL’ Californians Sketch On Dana Carvey’s Impression Of His Son

The alchemy of Fred Armisen‘s Californians sketch on Saturday Night Live feels mostly like an excuse to use an absurd accent and try to get Bill Hader to break character (not hard). Blonde-headed narcissists punctuating their soap opera dramatics with highly detailed driving directions? Pure magic. As it turns out, Armisen has fellow SNL alum Dana Carvey mocking his own son to thank for the idea. He explained the sketch’s origin story on Carvey and David Spade’s podcast Fly on the Wall.

“I had seen Dana—I was with him and we did a stand-up show in San Francisco—and Dana was telling me about his son,” Armisen said. “And he’s just like, ‘It’s hard to be mad at him,’ because, I think he got pulled over or something. He does this impression of his son and he goes, ‘No, but, no, Dad, no, you don’t,’ you know? And, from that, as we were trying to do a California accent, as we’re writing the sketch, that kind of came up.”

Carvey’s impression of his son’s accent added the secret ingredient to an idea that had been bubbling like Napa Valley champagne for a while with the absurd level of driving directions coming first. Staff writer David Anderson added the soap opera concept, and then Carvey’s son clearly gave all of them a license to try to see how far they could stretch a word until it didn’t sound like a word anymore.

(via Fly on the Wall)