Morgan Wallen made his Saturday Night Live debut in early December, performing two songs off his upcoming double album, Dangerous. But that wasn’t all: The singer also showed off his acting chops, appearing in a comedic skit alongside Pete Davidson, Bowen Yang and that week’s show host, Jason Bateman.
A time-travel-themed segment set in an Alabama bar, the skit poked fun at a debacle that had gotten Wallen booted from his planned debut appearance on SNL two months earlier. At the time, the show had recently started a new season after a pandemic-induced hiatus, with strict social distancing protocols in place. When TikTok videos of a maskless Wallen partying in crowded Alabama bars and kissing multiple women emerged just days before his planned appearance, many people criticized his lack of social distancing, and SNL canceled his slot on that week’s show.
Once he did make it onto the Dec. 5 show, though, Wallen says he wasn’t nervous when he learned that the comedy writers working on the episode had drafted a skit cracking jokes at his expense. In fact, he says, he was glad to have the chance to address the debacle and give viewers a chance to see him in a different light.
“They pitched us with the idea [to do the skit] earlier in the week before we got to New York, and I was all in,” the singer explained during a virtual media event in mid-December. “If we were gonna do a sketch, I kinda wanted it to be something like that.”
In the segment, Wallen plays himself during that fateful weekend bar-hopping in Alabama. All of the sudden, Jason Bateman storms in, dressed in an outfit to match the singer’s and claiming to be Wallen from the future. He cautions the singer not to do anything reckless, for fear of hurting his chances at SNL. But before Wallen has a chance to leave, two more identically-dressed doppelgangers — first Yang, then Davidson — appear out of clouds of smoke to offer their hilarious perspectives from their respective timelines.
Part of the reason why he was so on board with the sketch, Wallen elaborates, was because it gave him a chance to re-introduce himself to the audience.
“Because a lot of the people that watch SNL, you know, they’re not necessarily country music fans,” the singer points out. “I knew that really their only impression of me was thinking I’m a jacka**. So I wanted them to see a more human side of me, you know? And see that I’m not too good to make fun of myself.”
Regardless of the bumpy road that led him to SNL, the singer said making his debut on the show was a lot of fun.
“Overall, it was just truly an unbelievable experience,” he adds. “It was one of the best experiences I’ve had in my career so far. They were awesome. They were top-notch, and I truly enjoyed my time there.”