Emma Thompson on Hosting 'SNL,' Why Her Sketch Comedy "Didn't Work Out"

While visiting 'The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon' Friday, the actress also discussed her upcoming film 'Late Night,' out June 7.
Andrew Lipovsky/NBC
Emma Thompson on 'The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon' Friday night.

Emma Thompson may be preparing to host Saturday Night Live for the first time this week, but the actress admits it's not her first venture in sketch comedy. 

While visiting The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon Friday night, Thompson — who said she left rehearsals upstairs to join the late-night host  — admitted that she used to write sketch comedy in her early career. 

"It didn't work out," Thompson joked, explaining that she there were only six half-hour episodes for Thompson that revolved around "all the things I'd ever thought about" including "autocannibalism." "It was kind of weird, sort of dark," she said. 

Thompson also said that she performed stand up as well, but as to how she did "depended on when I did it." She explained: "At the time a lot of my material was about herpes and Margaret Thatcher, who were both very big at the time and kind of similar."

Thompson also explained that she performed stand up at political rallies, including Nelson's Conan in front of 64,000 people, which is where she "died a horrible, horrible death." "You must never do jokes at a political rally because everyone's so cross. Just mad." 

The actress also discussed her upcoming film Late Night, out June 7, alongside Mindy Kaling where she stars as a late-night talk show host. "Everything I know about talk show hosting, I learned from you," she told Fallon. 

Thompson said she was approached for the film by Kaling, who penned the script which she attests is "one of the best scripts I've ever read." "My heart frankly sang," she said of Kaling writing the character for Thompson. "It makes a lot of points without making points." 

To tease the upcoming film, Thompson shared a clip from the film, where she is shown discussing the popularity of Fallon and how he washed a sheepdog with a guest on his show. 

"There's only one thing left to do: Would you like to wash a sheepdog together?" Fallon asked the actress. A sheepdog was then brought out as the late-night host and actress took turns scrubbing the dog with a sponge. "This actually is f—king glorious," Thompson said.