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Quinta Brunson Talks Hosting SNL: 'It's Surreal'
"[This is] why I got into comedy in the first place, so to be here is—I really don't have the words for it," the Abbott Elementary actress says.
Quinta Brunson is taking the comedy world by storm. The actor-writer-producer is the creator and brains behind Abbott Elementary, a mockumentary-style workplace comedy that is beloved by both critics and audiences. The show won big at the 2022 Emmy Awards, taking home nods for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series (Brunson) and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (Sheryl Lee Ralph). The next stop for Brunson? Saturday Night Live.
Yes, Brunson is slated to host SNL on April 1 alongside Lil Yachty as musical guest. Of course, she's more than up for the job. Not only is Brunson a pro in the TV world, she has decades of comedy experience to boot—including training from the famed Second City improv school in Chicago. If anyone is ready for this moment, it's Quinta Brunson.
"It's one of those things that is surreal and actually makes me be able to slow down and enjoy the moment even though this is a huge thing," Brunson told NBC's Mark Barger. "[Abbott Elementary] has been nonstop since the first season. And we're grateful for that. But I'm always so in the mud with it—making it, producing, writing, acting, editing—that moments like this help me to realize how much impact the show has had. This is a dream come true. [This is] why I got into comedy in the first place, so to be here is—I really don't have the words for it."
That said, she's doing her best to soak in the feeling of being in Studio 8H. "This world moves so fast," she says. "You find your little moments [to appreciate]. I walked past a picture just now of Tina Fey on the wall. She was one of the reasons I started doing comedy; you find little moments like that to think, 'Wow, this is proof being here.'"
As for her Second City experience, Brunson is all the more grateful to have those tools in her back pocket for this weekend. "Second City is all about teaching you to perform on stage live for an audience," she says. "Most of the people who you know as SNL cast members have gone through similar schools, like UCB or Groundlings. The whole thing prepares you to be on your toes, ready for anything to happen, but still be funny."
Of course, no one has any doubts about Brunson being funny on Saturday night. Even with all her comedic experience, though, she realizes how singular the SNL atmosphere is. "I work in television, but I don't think there are many things like this experience," she says. "Everyone is just moving at a rapid pace. I don't think you can understand it until you're actually here. It kind of reminds me of Grand Central Station. People just flying in and out with things and getting the job done. On Saturday, you're 'gonna see a full functioning show that people put together in three days, honestly."