Tuesday, October 23, 2012

IF YOU CAN SEE WALLY AND HIS CARDS YOU KNOW YOU'RE NOT GOING TO DIE:  A recent WSJ A-hed profiles Wally Ferensten, who has been responsible for SNL's cue cards for the past 22 years, and does answer the question of why a show's still using cue cards following the invention of the teleprompter.

related:  With Louis C.K. set to host SNL in two weeks, Splitsider recounts his 19-year history with the show, from his audition to his frequent contributions to TV Funhouse. (Yes, there's video.)


  1. If you don't know and love Tony Mendez, Letterman's cue card boy, you should. He does an online show.

  2. Jordan12:53 PM

    Since they tend to edit the show on the go, I think the margin for error is much higher with a teleprompter. Think Clinton's 1994 State of the Union as the worst case scenario. You just seem to have more control with the cards.

  3. The performer also gets to set the pace with cue cards in a way that they can't with a prompter. Because of how the Stefan sketches are written/rewritten (often, Hader hasn't seen the punch lines until he's reading them, in order to draw a reaction), prompters wouldn't work. You also have much more mobility with a cue card man, which I suspect is very important in a live show.