At 88, Betty White has reluctantly agreed to host tonight's "Saturday Night Live," a gig sandwiched between her scene-stealing turn in "The Proposal" and the start of her umpteenth sitcom, "Hot in Cleveland," which debuts in June on TV Land.
She took time to talk about the pressures of live TV, the Facebook groundswell that led to "SNL" and other topics.
Star Tribune: What did you think about the Facebook campaign to have you host the show?
Betty White: At first, I thought people were putting me on. I told my agent, "Please say thank you, but no thank you." I'd rather watch it than do it. But he insisted, and I trust his judgment.
What scares you the most about it?
The fact that you work from cue cards. I've never been able to do that. I either memorize everything or I ad lib, and I know that won't be possible with this because the script changes at the last minute. I just hope the print is big enough so I don't have to wear my glasses.
Any nightmares from your past experience doing live TV?
When I first started out (in 1949) I did live TV 5 1/2 hours a day, six days a week, for four years. I love it. But there was a dark moment when I was doing a song on Jack Paar's show. I was singing "When I Fall in Love," and I lost the lyrics. I just sort of made them up as I went along. That's the kind of sheer panic I'll probably feel.
Do you have any suggestions for skits?
I'm told that when I come out onstage, everyone is going to be so excited. I would love it if they introduced me and there was no applause. The audience just stared back at me. I think that could be fun.
They promised me I wouldn't have to do any nudity. And I won't do any dope jokes. I don't think dope is a joke. That's about the only no.
'Saturday Night Live'
10:30 p.m. Saturday, May 8