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Q&A with Jorma Taccone

By Saba Mohtasham

Sept. 14, 2009 9:00 p.m.

Jorma Taccone has made quite the name for himself since graduating from UCLA in 2000 with a degree in Theater. He is quickly becoming a regular at the Emmy Awards with his work on “Saturday Night Live,” which kicks off its 35th season on Sept. 26. And now he can add director to his list of accomplishments as he wraps up shooting his first feature film “MacGruber,” based on an SNL skit, which will hit theaters in early 2010. Between shooting scenes for the film in New Mexico, Taccone caught up with the Daily Bruin’s

Saba Mohtasham to talk about what it takes to please his mom, what’s in store for the new season and how he remembers his days as a Bruin.

Daily Bruin: What did you do when you found out you were nominated for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics and Outstanding Writing for SNL?

Jorma Taccone: I was juiced because all I wanted to do with mylife was work and so I was happy that I was working I general and then I was reaffirmed that I was happy that I was working.

DB: Were you expecting the news?

JT: My reaction was horror and disappointment that the world’s moral compass is spinning out of control.

DB: It’s not that surprising, I mean “Dick in a Box” got nominated and won.

JT: I know, and that was a sad day for America.

DB: You make people happy so maybe that’s all that matters.

JT: My mother hates (“Motherlo- ver”) actually. She loves “Dick in a Box,” which is really weird. Her reaction after “Dick in a Box” was “Ah, Jorma, that was wonderful,” literally, that’s a quote from her. And her reaction to “Motherlover” was writing mea five-page letter about how I need to try to be more mature.

DB: She has to have standards I guess?

JT: Hell no. Those are some weird standards.

DB: How did you guys come up with the idea for “Motherlover”?

JT: I don’t know how we came up with that to tell you the truth. We knew we wanted to do something as a sequel even though we were kind of scared we were doing a sequel of “Dick in a Box.” We knew we wanted them leaving jail because we do want people to realize these two guys are kind of shady characters. And Mother’s Day was coming up so we figured lets center it around another holiday, that’s kind of nice.

DB: Where do you keep your Emmy for “Dick in a Box?”

JT: My brother (who composed “Dick in a Box”) keeps his at my mother’s house because he bases his trophy winning on Michael Jackson who always wanted to keep his trophies separate from his work life so he wouldn’t get a big head; that’s what my brother told me. I keep mine on the shelf at my house.

DB: Thanks for clarifying that. So I’ve got to ask, what did you get your mom for this past Mother’s Day?

JT: Disappointment.

DB: Can we expect a part three to the Samberg/Timberlake/facial hair story?

JT: I don’t know if Justin’s coming this year. It sort of depends on whether he comes to the show and whether we have the balls to take that on.

DB: During your time off from SNL this summer, what piece of pop cul- ture are you most excited to incorpo- rate into this next season?

JT: I’ve been pretty out of it this are literally the only two things of pop culture I’ve done in the last four months, so something with Swedish music and people stab- bing.

DB: Do you think we’ll get a chance to see SNL’s take on Sarah Palin’s resignation speech?

JT: What! She resigned?

DB: I guess it’s hard to keep track from New Mexico. So how do you remember your time at UCLA?

JT: I was high so much of the time it was hard to remember anything. I’m just kidding ““ I don’t do drugs. It was great! Highlights would be walking home drunk to my friend’s apartment on probably Gayley and seeing that he had stolen the sign for Sproul Hall with a couple of his friends while drunk in a pickup truck and it was in their bushes.

DB: Your friend stole it?

JT: It was my friend, I’m way too skinny to pick up a 500 pound concrete sign. No, it was even cans in his ivy. What are some other highlights? I also learned a bunch of stuff.

DB: So you’ve lived in LA and New York. How do they compare?

JT: New York is great when it’s great. But having a bad day in New York is 10,000 times worse than a bad day in LA. It’s so hard to get around; you don’t have a car, even going to the store’s really hard. I really do miss LA’s weather a lot, but in terms of the culture, which I guess is what people usually say about New York, I do have a great time in New York. It’s easier to be poor in LA, I will say that. When we were living in LA for the five or six years that me, Andy (Samberg) and Akiva (Schaffer) were just trying New York.

DB: Now you’re directing your first film and you’re making the movie with two other Bruins (John Solomon and Will Forte) from SNL. How long have you guys wanted to turn MacGruber into a feature film?

JT: We didn’t even think it was a possibility, and then after we did this Pepsi commercial for the Super Bowl … I think it was a little more on people’s radar for people who didn’t watch the show. We wrote the script honestly almost six and a half months ago. So within a little over six months, we will have written and completed the shoot- ing of the movie. We had 27 days to shoot this movie, which is not a lot. Before I did the movie, I was told me it was way too little time.

We’ve whipped through this movie but I think that for the amount of time we were given, we’ve done a pretty awesome job. I don’t usually like to say stuff like that but I’m very, very happy with what we’ve come up with. I hope people like it.

DB: Why New Mexico? Is it easy to blow stuff up there?

JT: It is easy to blow stuff up in New Mexico, but it’s also a tax rebate thing.

DB: So what do we have to look forward to this coming season of SNL?

JT: I would say major yucks. The yuck-per-minute meter is just going to be off the charts. I don’t know.

DB: Do you have any message to send to the Bruins?

JT: Keep on truckin”˜. I’m not an old guy, but keep on truckin”˜.

E-mail Mohtasham at [email protected]

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