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Saturday Night Live’s final show of the season began on a sweet note, as host Austin Butler fondly recalled watching the late-night comedy show with his late mother.

“I love my mom, some of my favorite memories growing up were watching ‘SNL’ every week,” and even though he had this “dirty shyness,” he would do anything to make her laugh, including impersonating Gollum from “SNL.” Lord of the Rings”.

Being silly with him, he said, was “what brought me out of my shell” and inspired his pursuit of becoming an actor. Butler, who got his start as a child actor on Nickelodeon and Disney Channel shows, portrayed Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s hit biopic Elvis.

“My mom is no longer with us now, but I’ve been thinking about her a lot this week, just imagining how proud she would be to have her son standing on this stage now,” Butler said, getting choked up.

“Every time you see me make a funny sound or make a funny face, that’s for you mom,” he said.

Butler also joked that he grew up in Anaheim, California, hence the “southern accent” and said he always sounded like Elvis Presley.

“I want to address something. “There are people who say that since I played Elvis, my voice has changed, that it’s deeper, more Elvis,” he said. “But this is not true, I have always expressed myself this way and I can prove it. Here’s an excerpt from an interview 10 years ago.”

The show cut to an interview promoting The Carrie Diaries with her voice over.

“We have stopped testing,” he said.

Butler also said that while last year’s holiday show was almost canceled due to COVID, the show put a foolproof plan in place to ensure that doesn’t happen again.

Butler also talked about being “weird” growing up homeschooled with her sister Ashley, who was in attendance for her birthday.

“Many people don’t know that I’ve been acting since I was a child,” he says, “I’ve been studying ‘Raging Bull’ or ‘Taxi Driver’.”

“Put the knife down, you’re scary, Carly,” Butler snapped.

Saturday Night Live stars Kenan Thompson, Cecily Strong, Mikey Day, Heidi Gardner, Ego Nwodim, Bowen Yang, Chloe Fineman, Punky Johnson, Andrew Dismukes and Michael Che and Colin Jost as Weekend Update hosts. The cast also stars James Austin Johnson, Sarah Sherman, Marcello Hernandez, Molly Kearney, Michael Longfellow, and Devon Walker. Kent Sublett, Alison Gates and Streeter Seidel serve as the show’s head writers, with Liz Patrick directing.

Earlier in the night, NBC announced that the Dec. 17 episode would be Strong’s last.


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