In the age of the teleprompter and smart phones, it’s hard to imagine a need for cue cards anymore — you know, those big, handwritten cards that remind performers of what they’re supposed to say next.

But Wally Feresten has worked for some of the biggest names in comedy giving cues. Seth Meyers and ‘Saturday Night Live’ are two examples of his current clients. (He’s done the SNL cue cards for 25 years.)

Feresten told Studio 360 about the first time he ever did the job:

Feresten’s first assignment was holding six cards on Sept. 29, 1990, in a popular, ongoing sketch called “Sprockets,” in which cast member Mike Myers played a fictional host of a German talk show named Dieter. The show’s host, actor Kyle MacLachlan, also took part in the skit.

“So I was over at a camera holding [cards] and my boss was standing behind me. He was there to make sure I didn’t screw up,” Feresten says. “He said to me, ‘Your entire body was shaking, but those cue cards stayed super still.’ He was like, ‘I don’t know how you did it,’” Feresten says. “And after that, they started testing me. [My boss] threw me in three sketches the next week. And for some reason I just picked up on holding naturally, And, I was good at it.”

What is like to have a front row seat to comedy history? We talk with Feresten about a behind-the-scenes job in live TV that doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

Guests

  • Wally Feresten Owner, NYC Q Cards

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