Dan Cortese received a major boost of exposure and free publicity Saturday night – thanks to Saturday Night Live and Stefon.
Before the Weekend Update segment of Saturday Night Live aired on Saturday, many people had no idea Dan Cortese even existed.
Most people that were alive back in the prime of Dan’s career back in the 90s (i.e. MTV Sports, Melrose Place, etc.) had to Google his name during Stefon’s hilarious segment to remind themselves of who he was and why he was so popular.
Almost immediately after the Weekend Update segment ended, Dan Cortese became a trending topic.
— Shonnese Stanback (@ShoStanback) October 12, 2014
— Emily Warren (@emilyk8) October 12, 2014
Shortly after the broadcast, Dan Cortese posted a couple of messages to his official Twitter page, thanking Stefon and Saturday Night Live for the shout-outs.
— Dan Cortese (@dancortese) October 12, 2014
However, the person that Dan Cortese should be thanking for his unexpected yet somehow hilarious SNL spotlight is John Mulaney. Why is that?
According to an interview that Bill Hader did with Bill Simmons of Grantland, John Mulaney (during his career as a writer for Saturday Night Live) was responsible for those types of unexpected name drops.
“[John] tries to make me laugh. In the Christmas one, we had Spud Webb in one of the things. Without telling me, he just put him in the second one. He just simply just put Spud Webb in again. So then I was, ‘Duh-da da… Spud Webb’ and I like caught myself and Seth said, ‘Oh Spud Webb pulling double duty?’ and I was like done!”
John Mulaney, as co-creator of the Stefon character, does not deny any of it. Mulaney does not hide from the fact that he did whatever he could during his time with Saturday Night Live to make Bill Hader break while playing Stefon.
In a 2012 interview with Conan O’Brien, Mulaney openly discussed the method to his madness.
“Bill would just break because he liked it. He started laughing because he liked the jokes… and just starting laughing and trying to control it. It was really funny. So I figured it’d be fun to keep messing with him so that he laughs every time so I just started putting new jokes on the cue cards between dress [rehearsal] and air.”
Even though John Mulaney is now working on his own show, Mulaney, and probably has put his SNL writing days behind him, the staff clearly picked up where he left off.
Instead of endlessly promoting Spud Webb in Saturday’s broadcast, it was obviously decided by the writers that Dan Cortese would be placed in the spotlight instead.