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Style & Design

'SNL' costume designer talks quick changes and teases Melissa McCarthy's return

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There was something funny about this year’s Costume Designer Guild Awards. Community star (and The Soup snarker) Joel McHale served as the night’s emcee; ace jokesters like Kristen Wiig, Steve Martin, Amy Poehler, and Maya Rudoloph presented statuettes; and Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels was on hand to accept this year’s Distinguished Collaborator Award.

Of course, this comedic crowd was nothing new to Tom Broecker, who’s been outfitting SNL‘s stars and guest hosts for nearly two decades. The show’s lightning-fast pace makes his job unique — and uniquely stressful. “You’re having one actor playing multiple roles,” he told EW at the awards in L.A. “One time they’re a sixty-year-old one; one time they’re a twelve-year-old boy; one time they’re fat.”

And often, those costume shifts have to happen in about as much time as it takes to say “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!” Broecker recalled one particularly fraught quick change that came when SNL vet Alec Baldwin was hosting — “He literally left the monologue, took a step down…and he had to be in a different outfit as he opened the door” to a new set, the designer explained. “All of that had to happen as the cameras were moving into place.” He estimates that the entire change took just 20 seconds altogether.

Thankfully, Broecker had a little time to sit back and reminisce at the Guild Awards. When asked about the most memorable outfits he put together for the former SNL cast members who were in attendance, the designer cited both Kristen Wiig’s tiny-handed Dooneese and Amy Poehler’s trashy, one-legged Amber as favorites. The latter was especially challenging: “We tied her leg up and matched the fabric, but ultimately it was up to her and the director to shoot it in a way that you couldn’t see it,” Broecker said. “Every now and then, she would fall over and you’d see the back of her leg.” (Yeah, that happened more often than “every now and then.”)

He also gave EW a little scoop about what’s coming up on NBC’s sketch show. “Melissa McCarthy is coming back on,” he said, without giving a specific timetable. (Maybe she’ll return to host SNL‘s season finale, before The Heat opens in June?) “We loved her. I know her publicist, so we’ve started getting things ready.” Hope he can find some dresses that go well with ranch dressing.

Reporting by Lindzi Scharf

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Read more:
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