Just before Amber Ruffin got her current gig on “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” she performed an ill-fated audition for “Saturday Night Live.” On Sunday’s episode of “Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen,” a caller asked Ruffin to explain what went wrong.
“How did I mess up getting into SNL? Uh, I wasn’t good enough?” Ruffin joked with Andy Cohen and fellow guest Ja Rule in a clip of the episode, which you can watch above.
“No, I did great. I was up against people who, in the time since our audition, have become legends. And I’m lucky that they’re all my lil’ buddies now.”
But she did learn a lesson from the encounter, which she shared in the form of sage advice:
“But what went wrong? I was myself. And I think that’s a good lesson: Never be yourself,” she laughed.
Ruffin told more of the “SNL” story in an interview with NPR’s Ophira Eisenberg last year.
“There were two days in between my not getting ‘SNL’ and my getting ‘Late Night’ where I was just back in LA, babysitting my perfect baby because I was a nanny. And then I got a call from Seth Meyers. And Seth was like, ‘Hey, Amber.’ And I was like, ‘Oh, man, Seth, you didn’t have to call.’ I assumed he was calling to say, I’m sorry you didn’t get ‘SNL,'” she laughed.
“It never occurred to me that he had a ‘Late Night’ show and that he would want me to write on it. But he did. And now we all have jobs.”
And those legendary “lil’ buddies” she mentioned who did get the “SNL” job?
“There was LaKendra Tookes. She got hired as a writer. Leslie Jones – at first, she got hired as a writer. Sasheer Zamata – she got hired as an actor. And Amber Ruffin, who got hired as nothing,” she said.
But it all worked out for Ruffin in the end — she has her own show, “The Amber Ruffin Show,” set to launch next April on NBC’s upcoming streaming platform, Peacock.