While we’re all sitting around daydreaming about an ernate reality in which the coronavirus doesn’t exist, it may be interesting to mix it up for a second and try to envision a world in which Samuel “Screech” Powers – the scrawny, Lisa Turtle-obsessed goofball on Saved by the Bell – was played by late night talk show host and comedian Stephen Colbert instead of actor Dustin Diamond. Colbert says he auditioned for the role of Screech in the 1980s and was rejected for a pretty humorous reason. Watch him tell the story below.
Around the 3:00 mark in this video, The Late Show guest Ryan Reynolds makes a joke about Saved by the Bell, sparking Colbert’s memory about the time he tried out for the role of Screech and didn’t get it.
“I auditioned for Saved by the Bell!” he exclaims. “That was my first professional audition. 1986? [Editor’s note: this must have been when they were auditioning Good Morning, Miss Bliss, which was eventually reworked into the hit show Saved by the Bell.] They came to Chicago. I was a student at Northwestern University, and I don’t know, somebody had seen me do something, somebody had scouted me at school. I got called down to a casting agent on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, I walk in, they hand me the thing, and I was auditioning for the part of – was the character’s name Screech?”
Reynolds bursts into laughter and thinks Colbert is messing with him, but the late night host swears it’s real. “I’m not joking!” he continues. “I auditioned for this part of Screech, and let me tell you how big I was. Imagine how that character ended up in broadcast. I did my audition, and they said to me, ‘There’s a term you’re going to need to know about as a professional. It’s called over the top. You just went over the top. Don’t do that anymore.’ And I saw the subtle interplay of status dynamics that Dustin Diamond brought to that part.”
Saved by the Bell was a massive show for a certain generation, and its actors – Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, Mario Lopez, etc. – will always be remembered first and foremost for the characters they played on that show, regardless of whatever else they’ve done in their careers. Imagining Colbert playing the wacky, ineffectual Screech is sorta blowing my mind right now, and needless to say, I think everyone on Earth is glad he didn’t land that role. Except for maybe Dustin Diamond, who may have been better off in life if he didn’t get the job, either. To avoid a depressing rabbit hole, it’s probably best not to look into what became of him after that show went off the air.
Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert are to host a major television event to help end COVID-19 airing across NBC, ABC and CBS as well as a number of international networks.
The trio will front One World: Together at Home featuring a slew of A-list stars on Saturday April 18 between 8pm and 10pm. The event, which is curated by Lady Gaga, has been put together by social action platform Global Citizen and the World Health Organization.
It builds on a series of live online concerts, organized by Global Citizen, where stars such as OneRepublic, Coldplay's Chris Martin and John Legend have performed at home.
The global entertainment special will celebrate the efforts of community health workers and promote the fight to end the global pandemic. It will feature multimillion-dollar pledges to the WHO's Solidarity Response Fund.
It will feature appearances by Alanis Morissette, Andrea Bocelli, Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, Burna Boy, Chris Martin, David Beckham, Eddie Vedder, Elton John, Idris and Sabrina Elba, J Balvin, John Legend, Kacey Musgraves, Keith Urban, Kerry Washington, Lang Lang, Lizzo, Maluma, Paul McCartney, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Shah Rukh Khan, Stevie Wonder and friends of Sesame Street.
It will be produced by The Voice and Songland exec producer Audrey Morrissey and her production company Live Animals in partnership with Global Citizen.
In addition to NBC, ABC and CBS, it will air on BBC One as well as Disney, NBC and Viacom stations around the world. The full list of broadcasters includes Bravo, E!, MSNBC, NBCSN, NBC News, NBC News on YouTube, Peacock, Syfy, USA, ABC News, ABC News Live, Freeform, Nat Geo, Channel 5 in the UK, Network Ten in Australia, and Telefe in Argentina, BET and MTV globally across more than 180 countries, CMT, Comedy Central, Logo, MTV2, Paramount Network, Pop, TV Land and VH1 in the US as well as Bell Media platforms in Canada, MultiChoice, and Ireland's RTE.
It will also stream online via a number of platforms including China's Alibaba, Amazon Prime Video, Apple, Facebook, Hulu, Instagram, LiveXLive, Tencent, Tencent Music Entertainment Group, TIDAL, TuneIn, Twitch, Twitter, Yahoo and YouTube.
Money raised will go to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, run by the UN Foundation, to support and equip healthcare workers around the world, and to local charities that provide food, shelter, and healthcare to those that need it most.