Ana Gasteyer says playing topless Martha Stewart on Saturday Night Live was when she knew she wouldn't be fired
Sleigh rides, caroling, a shimmying shirtless Martha Stewart — these are just some of the things that remind us all of Christmas, and remind Ana Gasteyer of decking her way into the holiday hall of fame at Saturday Night Live.
"I definitely feel very grateful, and it was sort of an accident, but I have had this recurring life at Christmastime," the actress tells EW of being forever tied to SNL Xmas thanks to the double-entendre-filled Schweddy Balls version of her and Molly Shannon's recurring "Delicious Dish" sketch. But it's her other famously festive featurette that stands out to Gasteyer as a career-solidifying achievement.
"My first sense of success on the show was Martha Stewart's Topless Christmas," she says of her breakout impression. "When I wrote that sketch and when it played, I remember being like, 'Oh I might not get fired.'"
The mammorable 1996 commercial sketch featured Gasteyer doing a hilarious impression of the famed lifestyle expert making on-brand Christmas crafts like corn husk garlands, all while topless with a black bar censoring her bare breasts. It occurred halfway through Gasteyer's first season on the show (where she was hired directly as a repertory player, bypassing the usual stint of featured status), and helped her immediately stand out in a stacked cast that included the likes of Will Ferrell, Chris Kattan, Cheri Oteri, and Tracy Morgan. It became a recurring (clothed) impression during her six seasons at the legendary comedy show, with the original topless version regularly playing in yearly Christmas compilations along with the Schweddy Balls sketch.
"I have a real fondness around this time of year at the show," Gasteyer shares. "I'm really psyched that I'm in two things that continue to air."
The comedian further embraced the yuletide spirit when she competed as a Christmas Tree on season 2 of The Masked Singer, and this holiday season in Comedy Central's A Clüsterfünke Christmas, which Gasteyer and former SNL castmate Rachel Dratch wrote together and both appear in.
A Clüsterfünke Christmas, a celebratory parody of traditional holiday romance movies, hits the cable network on Saturday, Dec. 4. The original TV movie stars Crazy Ex-Girlfriend's Vella Lovell as a NYC real estate exec who heads to a small town to buy a quaint inn owned by two spinsters (Gasteyer and Dratch) to transform into a mega-resort, but a hunky woodsman (Cheyenne Jackson) and the spirit of Christmas has her questioning her plans to return to big city life.
Watch EW's interview with Gasteyer and Dratch above for more of their SNL Christmas memories, and check out the trailer for A Clüsterfünke Christmas below.
A Clüsterfünke Christmas airs Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. ET/PT on Comedy Central with an immediate encore at 9 p.m.
With reporting by Gerrad Hall
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The original late-night comedy sketch show from the one and only Lorne Michaels.