Friday, September 27th, 2013

Good Neighbor Member Nick Rutherford Speaks Out About Not Being Hired by 'SNL'

Last month, Saturday Night Live hired everyone from the LA-based sketch group Good Neighbor onto the show except for member Nick Rutherford. Good Neighbor's Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett were hired as featured players, while Dave McCary was brought on as a director, with all of them set to debut on tomorrow night's season premiere. Rutherford, an actor/writer/standup, spoke about the situation publicly for the first time on the latest episode of DJ Douggpound's podcast, The Poundcast.

Rutherford tells his side of the story, explaining that he and Beck Bennett auditioned for Lorne Michaels individually at a showcase in LA this summer. Kyle Mooney had been flown out to New York to audition the previous year. Rutherford, Bennett, and McCary took a drinks meeting with Michaels and some writers from the show at the Beverly Hills Hotel the night before the showcase. "It was a high-pressure situation," says Rutherford. "But it went fine. It was a good meeting, and it was fun. We all got to know each other. We moved on from there, and the showcase was the next night." Describing the meeting with Michaels, he adds, "It was a big group, so I don't know if we fucked up or what. I mean, I clearly fucked up, but [Lorne] just kind of sat and nodded and lot and would be like 'We don't know what we're gonna do as far as…' He was very guarded. He would only release a little bit of information at a time and would talk very slowly."

After the showcase, the other three members of the group were hired on, and Rutherford was not. He was asked to submit a writing packet. "Before I could even turn that packet in — it was half a week later — it was clear, 'There's no way they're gonna hire you.'" He doesn't mention a reason for being excluded during the interview, but he talks about being disappointed that SNL hiring the rest of Good Neighbor means the group's Will Ferrell and Adam McKay-produced Comedy Central pilot, The Good Neighbor Show, won't be moving forward.

When asked by Douggpound if the other Good Neighbor guys want to try to get him on the show in the future, Rutherford responds, "I mean, that's all that's ever talked about is like, 'Oh, we gotta get you out here. We're gonna get you out here.' But, you know, I've been burned, man … We had dreams and plans, and they were set in place." Douggpound also asked if he'd want to audition again for SNL next year, if asked. Rutherford's reply: "You know what? I don't know. It depends on a lot of things."

"I'm not too worried," explains Rutherford. "The hardest part about all of this is I will see people who know me and know what's going on, and they [act] … like a sibling just died, but they don't know what to say. It's like, 'It's cool, man.' They kind of skirt around [it]. They don't even mention it."

"This is not that dramatic," he continues. "I mean, it was dramatic, but I don't want people to listen to this and be like, 'Oh man, I should send Nick some flowers.'" In an ironic twist, Rutherford mentions that, since being turned down by SNL, he's been promoted to a producer at Fox ADHD, SNL's new competition where he had previously been working as a writer.

Check out the full interview from The Poundcast here.

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  • imjustbettr


  • fredrostarr

    this actually makes me somewhat angry (i take comedy shit way too seriously), but I always think about when the Lonely Island got hired and long time collaborator and might-as-well-be-member Chester Tam didnt get on as well.

    That's the most equivalent thing I can think of right now

  • moz

    it does seem kind of arrogant for an outsider to be like "hey everything great you guys do is as a team, but i think your team would be better without nick"

  • GershMershTersh

    I feel bad for this guy, but I also hope that this group doesn't monopolize SNL the way The Lonely Island did.

    • Scott Johnson

      How is one digital short per show a monopoly?

      • GershMershTersh

        When you have 3 people working as a team, that means you have at least 2 people already supporting you when you go to pitch a sketch. That may not seem like a majority, but it is when it comes to comedy – especially if there is a nice amount of indifference in the room. The fact that Samburg was also a performer carries additional weight as well.

        Overall, I definitely think you can see their influence in many sketches, beyond the digital shorts. There was a lot more repetitive humor and a lot of stuff that lacked substance when compared to the work of some of their contemporaries. I really enjoy the movie "Hot Rod," but I get burnt out on on them quicker than I do Will Ferrell, Maya Rudolph, or Bill Hader. I feel like there were a decent amount of moments that relied on Andy Samburg mugging at the camera and just saying a line loudly in lieu of a punchline. I also didn't like how Jorma and Akiva got screentime while other cast members were neglected – I think that points to how much power the group actually had. I can't name too many other writers/non-performers that got as much screentime as they did.

        In fairness, the Digital Shorts rejuvenated SNL and gave the show a true presence during the start of viral videos. They also probably help change the environment of that production since adding another pre-taped segment relieved some of the pressure of preparing a 1.5-hour live television show every week. It was something that Lorne Michaels was very resistant to 10-15 years earlier.

        • jim

          Okay, barring the Digital Shorts, how much actually screen time did those guys get? Samberg never really had a recurring character to lean on, so he found his niche in the Shorts.

          And, I don't think Lorne Michaels was resistant to pre-taped segments. They've had a long run of parody commercials, Robert Smigle cartoons and a bundle of other, pre-taped segments…

          • GershMershTersh

            I never watched their shows live. I saw some on Hulu and most on Netflix and both services remove some content due to licensing. So, that may be why it seemed like they were on a lot more than they were.

            Samburg doesn't have a lot of reoccurring characters, but he tends to lean on a few personality traits. You still get a lot of the same stuff in whatever he appears in. If you recall, Adam Sandler (Samburg's idol) didn't have a bunch of reoccurring characters either, but he has a few key mannerisms that he is synonymous with. I think you can see a lot of Sandler in Samburgs work.

            RE: Pretaped – I was listening to Jay Mohr speak about when he was on in the early 90's and, with the exception of the commercials, he said there was a lot of resistance to pre-taped stuff. Building upon that, the commercials are not necessarily coveted spots, but they tend to be the most memorable – Chris Parnell used to get shoved into a lot of them because the hours were incredibly shitty. Lot's of waking up early to film in New Jersey at 5 AM. I believe he speaks about this on "Bullseye with Jesse Thorne."

          • jim

            You're kidding about Adam Sandler, right? He has a ton of recurring characters… Cajun Man, Opera Man, Canteen Boy, the Gap Girls, His "Denise Show" character and many more…

            Plus, if he really was resistant to it, I believe, as the Executive Producer of the show Lorne would have the power to cut them out. It's part of his persona to be the ornery producer.

          • GershMershTersh

            Yes, but the characters are identical, overall. Characters were not Sandler's thing, which is why they all are named so non-chalantly. Judd Apatow said as much in a recent interview.

            I don't know what to tell you at this point. I've supported my logic. It may not match yours, but that's okay. I enjoyed speaking with you.

            Do you have a take on the SNL diversity claim?

  • Anne Idiot

    John Mulaney.

  • Chris

    Lorne Michaels screwed over Good Neighbor fans by leaving out an integral part of the group that we grew up watching. The whole situation was bullshit. It made no sense to not take him. He's one of the best writers/performers out there right now and would have been a great contributor.

  • Agendas are my game


    • Will


      • Will

        Sorry i meant to say "Jaws". I friggen love that movie

  • Cory Williams

    Ruggerbuns is the best there is the best there was and the best there ever will be.

  • JohnsonMulrooney

    Every time I see Beck and Kyle on SNL I'm going to feel bummed Nick isn't with them. It's a kick in the balls to all the fans who have been watching them for 6 years. I can't believe they didn't negotiate to bring the whole crew or walk. They already had their own show lined up with fuggin Ferrell and McKay producing so it would be a win win either way.

  • crewmember

    Nick is / was the Heart & Soul of Good Neighbor. Nick wrote many of the skits & directed, too. He is as equal to Kyle & Beck in acting. Nick promoted Kyle & Beck & never wanted to leave them behind & didn't leave them behind. But Nick did not promote himself. There is now no more Good Neighbor, no more Theater of Life. If Nick ever gets a new group together for Good Neighbor, perhaps he should call it "Loyal" Good Neighbor".
    A crew member who knows.

    • jim

      I don't think he was the director. That was Dave's job.

  • Will

    "but he talks about being disappointed that SNL hiring the rest of Good Neighbor means the group's Will Ferrell and Adam McKay-produced Comedy Central pilot, The Good Neighbor Show, won't be moving forward."

    Could this be some kind of strategic move for Lorne Michaels? Intentionally sabotaging the competition? Maybe some bad blood between him and Will Ferrell?

  • Chamuel

    Watching Good Neighbor throughout the years, I always felt like Nick was the weakest link of the three. He isn't a natural performer like the other guys. I think writing is his calling. He looks and sounds like a writer.

  • A

    Lorne is a teeny weeny baby bitch boy.

    • Hunter Boyette

      Gee, I wonder why Splitsider got rid of their comments section.

      • Stephin

        the Teeny Weeny Baby Bitch Boy thing is an inside joke on Nick/Beck's Youtube series, Theatre of Life. It's basically an insult they throw at each other.

  • hssly

    i have no idea what they were thinking joining snl instead of starting their own show.
    goodneighbor sketches were so much funnier than snl.

  • jack

    when a group auditions for snl they know theres a possibility of not all of them making it.. they all decided to audition in spite of this and also knowing that they had a tv pilot in the works(which everyone knows 99% of shows never get picked up). There was definitely a conversation between the group and nick decided to support them in a guaranteed job and who knows, maybe after snl good neighbor can come back and make a show with a bigger audience. I think it would have been selfish to ask 2 comedy performers and a director to say no to a historic comedy show for the possibility having of a decent tv show. Its been a couple months and kyle and beck have been successful on the show so it was a good move by them and based off this interview nick seems to be dealing with it ok, ive seen him on some things like pete holmes show too.

    • Not those guys

      That typ of mentality is what has people dicking their brothers for SNL. SNL is not funny, and that's completely fair to say. I compare SNL's Goodneighbor skits to Goodneighbor's Goodneighbor skits and it's clear to me. It was clear before Goodneighbor existed. And whoever wishes to work for Lorne Michaels will get what they deserve. The guy is a douche….on screen. This is hope and change. NIck didn't go low, his bros did.

  • assclown

    How can a show with performers of the quality of bobby moynihan and taram killam think nick wasn't good enough? Good neighbour show would've been way better TV than SNL. Now we only get to see kyle and beck doing small bits in a couple of skits every couple of weeks

    • Not those guys

      Yeah the whole thing is snotty. Beck and Kyle made a shit decision in my opinion. Not brothers of Nick. I hope Nick continues doing his thing because he's got more room than any of them to stay sweet. Kyle, Beck, here's lookin at you cause I can't anymore (har har), good luck.

  • notthoseguys

    WHAT THE FUCK? Anyone ever heard of physical karma? Jainism?
    2014: SNL vs my own show: My own show wins.
    Nick isn't shitty.

  • Guy

    What a fool Lorne is, those three have excellent chemistry together.

  • kickass

    SNL is dog shit, I wish they had of made the show with Will Ferrell I bet they would be more successful now. SNL is SO FUCKING LAME it even manages to douse the hilarity of kyle..

    • Mike

      Sooo fucking agreee!!!!!!!!!!

  • Mike

    FUCK SNL AND FUCK LORNEY OR WHATEVER HIS NAME IS. Good Neighbour stuff was wayyyyy funnier than all of SNL stuff put together!

  • Mike

    If they went to MAD TV when it was around all 3 OF THEM! it would have been sooooo fucking funny!!