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Bill Hader Tells the Origin Story of SNL’s “The Californians”

What do you get when you combine a cast of comic geniuses teasing their boss for being late to work? Apparently you get the birth of a classic Saturday Night Live sketch… at least according to Bill Hader, who explained to Seth Meyers on Late Night how his and Fred Armisen‘s goofy riffing on Lorne Michaels’ tardiness turned into one of the show’s most popular sketches.

On last night’s Late Night (via Vulture), Hader and Meyers discussed the origins of the recurring sketch “The Californians,” the soap opera parody about a family who prattle on about—using super absurd, barely coherent accents—the various routes and paths they take to get around Southern California, all while dealing with over-the-top daytime soap misdeeds and shocking betrayals.

Hader said that he, Fred Armisen, Kenan Thompson, and Andy Samberg did the bit for years while waiting for the perpetually tardy Lorne Michaels to show up for meetings, long before it was turned into an actual sketch, written by Armisen. On off weeks, many cast members would travel to Los Angeles for various meetings, and would start in on the ridiculous premise when they returned home.

Eventually, Armisen took the goofing around and turned it into a soap opera sketch, one that has since been done many, many times on the show, including as part of the massive 40th anniversary extravaganza. However, just because Fred Armisen does something in dress rehearsal doesn’t mean he won’t make it even more ridiculous during the live show. Watch the clip so you can hear Hader detailing the evolution in Armisen’s character, which shaped the absurdity of the voices done by everyone else in the sketch.

What other sketch’s history would you like to learn about? Tell us in the comments below.

Image: NBC

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