New York Kristen Wiig’s recurring character Gilly might not seemed filled with holiday cheer, yet NBC is turning to her to host a “Saturday Night Live” Christmas special.
“SNL Presents: A Very Gilly Christmas” will air at 7 p.m. Dec. 17. The two-hour special, the first for “SNL” since 2002, will be led by Wiig’s Gilly, an ever-smiling Annie-lookalike who delights in violent mischief.
The special will feature new sketches with Gilly and highlights of classic holiday “SNL” sketches.
Wiig, roundly considered a standout performer on the NBC sketch comedy show, has built Gilly into a popular character. In a phone interview, she said part of the fun of Gilly hosting is in her slim vocabulary, which consists mainly of the simple catch-phrase “Sorry.”
A Gilly sketch is a very structured thing. It’s always set in a classroom where an uncertain teacher (Will Forte) questions his students (Kenan Thompson, Bobby Moynihan) on the source of some trouble making.
Wiig and Paula Pell, a writer on the show, came up with the sketch while writing something else, but the idea continued to stick.
“We just kept doing the smile and we did it for a couple weeks,” said Wiig. “We were just like, ‘Let’s write it.’ Maybe she’s this bad kid. We just started saying ‘Sorry,’ and it came organically from there.”
Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin will also make guest appearances on the special to help introduce clips they’ve appeared in as hosts, including Baldwin in “NPR’s Delicious Dish and the Schweddy Balls” and Martin in “A Holiday Wish.”