Ana Kristina Gasteyer is an American actress of stage, film, and television. She is best known as a cast member on the sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live from 1996 to 2002 and for co-starring as Sheila Shay on the ABC sitcom Suburgatory.
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I'm Ana Gasteyer. I was on SNL for six seasons. After SNL, I sang on broadway and in night clubs, in addition to TV (Suburgatory, The Good Wife) and film work. I've finally released my first album, I'm Hip. It's meant to be enjoyed with a nice cocktail and good times. You can check out my music video for One Mint Julep below. It was directed by Jorma Taccone from The Lonely Island. Ask me anything!
Proof coming along shortly! In the meantime...
*Update: Loved answering your questions. Thank you! I'm going to check in later to answer more. Appreciate you stopping by and hope you enjoy listening to the album.
How often do people tell you about their Schweaty Balls?
At least daily. I gave in and explained the whole deal to my 11 year old last year, as it was getting hard to avoid.
were you really topless for that Martha Stewart sketch?
Practically. I was in a Nude Bandeau. And at one point a Dickie.
How do you really feel about Ladysmith Black Mambazo?
I grew up with folky parents, so I in fact have seen them in concert. Life, meet Art.
Do you keep in touch with anyone from the SNL crew?
A ton of them. It's like the mafia, once you're in you're never out. The female cast from the 90's/2000's in particular remain very connected. We shared something very unique. But the entire fabric is close -- even alumni who have never worked together at the same time share a deep bond there.
Playing the role of Lindsay Lohan's mother in Mean Girls, which some say was the peak of her film performance, what is your reaction to her downward spiral in recent years?
She was so wonderful in the movie, and addiction sucks. I wish so much peace for her.
ANA!!!! HUGE FAN!!! There was a huge rumor going around that there was a lot of tension on the set of What Women Want, due mainly to Helen Hunt farting during takes. It sounds made up to me, but it was a huge rumor. Is there any validity to this at all????
It was unbelievable. You wouldn't guess cause she's so petite, but it was like hanging out with a Bean Farmer.
If you were on Jeopardy, what would your top 6 dream categories be?
Ikea, Root Vegetables, Handy Hints, French For, Crazy Cats & Fun with Wine
What did you do for SNL audition?
What was your interview with Lorne like?
I prepared three characters I'd performed at the Groundlings in LA - Margaret Jo from the Delicious Dish, Kincaid the MTVeejay I did on my first show and another one -- I'll call her Generic Midwestern Woman (who I clearly thought was unique at the time). They called a couple days prior and asked for impressions, too and I was obsessed with Martha Stewart so I whipped a brief impression up. I also did Cokie Roberts from NPR/ABC which is hilarious, since no one gave a crap. Groundlings don't really emphasize impressions so that part was pretty scary.
My interview was several weeks later and super weird. I was getting married a month later and my head was spinning because if I got SNL I was afraid I'd have to raindate my wedding and piss off everyone everywhere. Lorne was quiet and sort of serious, as his way, and I left in tears because I was sure I'd blown it.
If you were asked to be on Comedy Central's Drunk History. What historical figure would you talk about?
I would definitely want to play a very serious Christian Temperance Representative, like Emma Willard.
The Culps/Mohan-Culps were always a fan favourite - how did you keep a straight face !?
It was near impossible. Will's bald cap and beard were always just barely on, so if he laughed they would have been ruined. I largely kept a straight face out of sheer support for his wig glue needing to set
Hi Ana! What was it like working on Reefer Madness?
Really fun and really sticky. After Mae goes bananas with that axe she is covered in blood for about a third of the movie. That translated to about three weeks 14 hours a day. I loved doing that movie, Andy Fickman really tackled a huge old Hollywood form with amazing finesse. It's campy but the production numbers were so great.
Can you tell us something about yourself that we may find surprising?
I was a switchboard operator for a year. Best day job ever.
Did your impression of Celine Dion come from respecting what she does, or just thinking she is hilarious?
I think she's an insanely gifted belter, but at the time there was not a place in the world you could escape the Titanic Theme and something had to be done.
HEY ANA! big fan, thank you for doing this AMA. What is it like working with Chris Parnell on Suburgatory? You guys make a great team. Also, my wife is unable to speak to me when I come home from work until the jacket comes off (kidding)
Omg That is my favorite episode!!! The entirety of the Suburgatory experience was so fantastic soup to nuts. Parnell is just a joy to work with. Professional, generous and kind. Not a day went by on the set of that show that wasn't incredibly fun. The Shays were so insanely fun to play, and they're total ease with their own insanity was something I looked forward to with every script. I loved Emily Kapnek's writing, and I loved our little family -- Allie, Parker and eventually Maestro. I miss it.
I loved you in Wicked! Any interesting stories about your time in the show?
What was your last performance like?
The biggest backstage disaster I encountered was a broken elevator on 'No Good Deed' -- when Elphaba rises up through the stage doing spells. The elevator didn't budge but I'd already started singing so I had to sprint up two flights of stairs. It was nuts.
The last show was crazy emotional. I can barely sing For Good now due to some Pavlovian sob-fest. I loved doing the show...
What was it like being denied by the soup Nazi?
I can never find videos of them online. Is SNL forbidden from releasing them because they don't have the rights to the songs? They were my favorite. The "non-denominational celebration of Jason Crisp" one when you were pregnant was hilarious
I think you are onto something, yes. Also why I don't have a Best Of. Feel free to start a petition.
who came up with the Culps ?
I did a version at the Groundlings in LA after I was asked to sing an Al Green song at a friends wedding. I felt like the oldest, whitest woman in the world and my friend suggested we write a sketch accordingly. Will grew up with music nerds -- his dad played for the Righteous Brothers - and our colleague Paula Pell was a crazy choir person too so once we were at SNL, we re-conceived it for me and Will.
What inspired you to pursue a career in music after being so successful in comedy?
I've always done both, but they require serious time in the 10K hours of it all. Then by that point the goal is to get it all under one umbrella. I worked to refine that in the nightclub act and so subsequently the album is an entertainer's balance -- no mystery why I love music from the Entertainer's heyday -- the late 50's/60's
Ana, I love you! What's your favorite thing about Wisconsin?
Kopp's in Milwaukee
"What is the Malm bookcase?"
What is Expedit?
Do your kids think your funny or are they embarrassed like kids get embarrassed by their parent's jokes?
My little one thinks I'm funny and my tween thinks I'm humiliating. Which is basically a reflection of the maturity of my household jokes.
Ana! What was the best SNL sketch from your time on the show that never made it to air?
Thanks for your AMA!
Wellll .... I don't know about Best but I had a few favorites. My final show was Winona Ryder hosting and I had a character called Sarah Blazen. She was an old Bway Battleaxe ala Stritch. Super grumpy, super fun. It was cut and really funny in retrospect. I secretly knew it was my last show, because I was hella pregnant and I had decided I wouldn't be going back to the show, but I hadn't told Lorne.
What's the best/funniest way someone has mispronounced your name?
Definitely Barbara Walters -- Oona Gas-tee-rey.
They discontinued the Expedit line and replaced it with a line with a thinner frame.
I know! That's why it's a Jeopardy Answer!
Do you listen to vinyl records? Expedit is the perfect size and shape for records!
I do and I am doing a vinyl release of my record! Have to, and not just because of Expedit.
How do you feel about pancakes and waffles? Or is there a third option that is vastly superior?
I do weight watchers so I do french toast with egg whites and whole wheat toast, and cinnamon. Keeps me full but is otherwise delicious. It's healthy and yummy. It's not as sad as not having pancakes.
Who's at your dream dinner party?
Diana Vreeland, Julia Child, Tommy Tune, Jack Benny, Johnny Mercer and Nat King Cole, Lorde, Tim Conway
What is your favorite fruit?
That's tough. I'm gonna have to go with Apples because they rarely decompose in your purse and ruin your day.
What flavour of ice cream do you like?
I like Ben and Jerry's Schweddy Balls but I eat Weight Watchers Giant Latte bar almost every day because, it's good and like the package says, it's Giant.
I'm a long time fan of yours from your SNL days and I loved you in Suburgatory. Do you have any new shows in the works?
I'm in upcoming episodes of The Goldbergs, The Good Wife and the season premier of Girls.
Loved you from the first time I saw you on SNL and had the privilege of seeing you on stage in Wicked, Chicago.
Do you ever miss the rush from SNL?
I miss it all the time. The rush is both from the immediacy of it and from the high that comes from collaborating with so many amazing people under such pressure. There isn't that much time to sit around and consider what's happening, and I liked that.
Other than today, which time period would you want to do show business in, and what would be your talent?
I would have loved to have worked in the late 50's early 60's TV/Entertainers Heyday -- like a Dinah Shore format or Judy Garland special format
I just saw the video for One Mint Julep. You are excellent! What was it like creating the video?
It was old school fun. Meaning like the guerilla filmmaking that my career started with. We made it on Favors and Thanks, and it was super fun. We borrowed every prop, the venue, the kids, everything. Jorma was an amazing colloaborator.
What did the Schweaty Balls taste like/what were they REALLY?
I sadly don't remember but they were a baked confection. I was trying so hard not to Laugh and choke.
What's it like to release your first album?
Such a huge relief. It's been a necessary step for ages and it takes an amazing amount of work. I've been doing my nightclub act on and off for essentially ten years, so it was beginning to feel counterproductive not to have a proper recording. I produced it myself so it was humbling -- so much to learn in basically a new field, but my studio producer and collaborator & arranger Julian Fleisher is really gifted -- he has incredible instincts and ears and really knew how to make the process fun. We recorded with the band so it was organic and fun.
My sister is a middle school theater teacher and adores you (and I do as well)! Her favorite role of yours was in Reefer Madness. Mine is Shweaty Balls. You are truly gifted. She is currently working so she cannot attend this AmA. I'd like to surprise her with something from you. She posts her quotes from her favorite actors. Is there any advice for her students you can give?
Look for the positive sign posts. They'll lead the way. Naysayers will only misguide you.
What was it like working on Curb Your Enthusiasm? Larry David seems like a wacky man to work with!
He's a genius, as is Larry Charles and the writers Dave Mandel and Alec Berg -- the team there was as close to Comedy Perfect as one can get.
Huge fan and fan of SNL overall. I was really excited to see you perform the National Anthem at the Dodgers game a few weeks back. I had no idea you would be there, but it was a huge treat.
What SNL celebrity host surprised you the most?
Sports stars are always incredible! They work great under pressure, take direction well and are really great collaborators. It was a thrill to sing at Dodgers Stadium.
Was it you singing Barracuda in Suburgatory?
Ana "One Mint Julep" is awesome! I had no idea you were such a great singer! I always loved you on SNL and hope you have continued success! One quick question about the new video, the man who plays your love interest, who is he? I remember seeing him on Conan O'Brien in the sketches for years.
Jon Glazer! You may recognize him from Delocated on Adult Swim, 30 Rock and Girls. He is a hilarious person. Glad you liked the video and hope you enjoy the album.