One of them involved Britney Spears' belly button and the other featured her "bleeding from the mouth." Neither was well received.
Saturday Night Live - Season 42
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Before he was known for The Hangover movies and Between Two Ferns, Zach Galifianakis was a writer on Saturday Night Live — for two whole weeks.

During his brief trial run on the sketch show, Galifianakis' ideas "just bombed very badly," the comedian said on the Literally! With Rob Lowe podcast. Specifically, he remembered having his own "Oops I did it again" moment when Britney Spears hosted the May 13, 2000 episode.

Spears emceed right after her sophomore album Oops!… I Did It Again was released, and Galifianakis quipped on the podcast that around that time, the starlet's "belly button was always exposed then and I thought she needed to protect it."

Thus, he pitched an idea where they'd use a green screen to "shrink" cast member Will Ferrell, who would play a security guard for Spears' belly button. 

"It felt like a tumbleweed went right across the writers' room table, and a cricket riding it," he told Rob Lowe. "I'm not offended that no one liked it. It was probably bad."

Zach Galifianakis, Britney Spears
Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images; Isaac Brekken/Getty Images

The comedian had another opportunity to pitch to Spears directly, and he blew that one too. Though it actually sounds funny in a twisted way, it might've understandably been out of Spears' comfort zone.

Galifianakis recalled telling the singer his idea, in which she was "being interviewed by Entertainment Tonight. There's no jokes. And during the middle of the interview you just start bleeding from the mouth."

Judging by Spears' less-than-enthusiastic reaction, he knew not to write it or present it to anyone else.

"She looks at me, and then she looks at the ground, and then I looked at the ground, and she looks back up at me, I look at her, and she goes, 'Yeah, that's funny,'" the actor said.

Describing his SNL experience as a "dream," Galifianakis also reflected on how competitive the job was.

"To be a fly on the wall in the writers' room. I didn't know what I was doing," he said. "I was a standup, I had never written sketches to turn in. It was not easy, I don't know if 'supportive' is necessarily the word I would use there. But you're new there, and in show business, especially as a standup, you get a thick skin."

And though Galifianakis' time as a writer on SNL was short, he told Lowe he didn't have "any regrets" and appreciated being able to host the show three times. Recently, he lent his voice to Big Mouth, reprised his character Felix on Bob's Burgers, and in 2019, concluded his well-received series Baskets.

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Saturday Night Live - Season 42
Saturday Night Live

The original late-night comedy sketch show from the one and only Lorne Michaels.

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  • Saturdays at 11:30 PM
  • Lorne Michaels
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