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The Presidential Reunion skit—in which former SNL cast members reprise their old Commander-in-Chief impersonations to convince Fred Armisen’s Barack Obama to push through financial reforms—is the latest video from Funny or Die to go viral. But how did the comedy site manage to wrangle so many SNL alums onto one stage at the same time? FOD founder Adam McKay takes EW.com behind the scenes:
EW: So, how’d you guys pull this off? How did you get so many SNL vets back together. It’s a first, isn’t it?
ADAM MCKAY: A lot of it was our amazing producer, Mike Farah. He just called and called people—he was an absolute beast. The thing was, you had to get everyone, or it wouldn’t work. And, you know, without naming names, some of these [former SNL] guys are Republicans. But the cause helped. Everyone felt it was so ridiculous to hesitate on financial reform. Democrat or Republican, it’s just common sense.
Who wrote it—and when did you guys shoot it?
Al Jean, a writer on The Simpsons, got the idea. We had a meeting about three weeks ago, and then I saw Jean’s first pass at a script about a week and a half ago, and then I did a rewrite. But we didn’t know we had everyone in the cast till about five or six days ago. And then we shot it in a stage in Van Nuys last Sunday. The whole thing was done for under $25,000.
What didn’t make it into the final cut? Is there any DVD-style bonus footage?
AM: There’s a ton of footage. It was very hard to cut into a little piece for the Internet. There’s a lot of great improv runs that they had. We’ll probably be putting some of it up online periodically. There’s a good one when Will Ferrell’s George W. Bush tells Obama that they’ve sent Blackwater to Kenya to find his birth certificate. Dana Carvey had a bunch of good ones, too.
Okay, which of the SNL alums are Republicans? Just give us the initials.
I can’t do it. But I’ll tell you this—they’re not Glenn Beck Republicans. We forget, a lot of people used to be Republicans. Ron Howard was a Republican. He’s not anymore, but he was. It didn’t used to be so extreme to be a Republican.