We’ve always known the New York Times—aka “The Grey Lady”—as a collection of irreverent goofballs yucking it up in newspaper format, and so it comes as no surprise that when tasked with interviewing SNL alum and comedic actress Kristen Wiig, they chose to run with the classic mad-lib format; and snub their nose at traditional—
The New York Times used a wacky mad-lib? To interview Kristen Wiig? That’s crazy, right? What happened to your integrity, Grey Lady? If it wasn’t for the baby iPad, this would surely be the day’s foremost sign of the apocalypse.
But not so fast. It turns out, the whole thing is pretty hysterical. Writer Stephen Sherrill prepared the text, using familiar entertainment journalism tropes (like the “hey, I’m at a meal with a famous person and here’s what she’s eating” intro) but leaving off certain key passages. He then sent the text to Wiig, who filled out the missing nouns, verbs and adjectives on her own. The result is glorious, and includes passages like these:
Soon she got the call from New York. Lorne Michaels wanted her to audition. “I was really (emotion) confused,” she says, “but at the same time really (emotion) confused. In the interview, Lorne was (verb) two-stepping,” she says, “and told a (adjective) 7 hour story about (TV personality) The California Raisins.”
The whole thing is quite funny, and Sherrill deserves special props for teeing her up with suggestions like “style of dress that signals a resistance to narcissism” and “hopeful-sounding but sort of meaningless statement about the trajectory of life.” Also, he completely nailed Lorne Michaels, giving Wiig the hint “cryptic though gracious non sequitur” as a suggestion for the luminary’s parting words when she left SNL.
Her choice? “Bye Gail!”