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David Spade Reveals How Getting Shut Down By Patrick Swayze’s Assistant Inspired A Famous ‘SNL’ Character

David Spade was on WTF with Marc Maron this week, and it’s definitely worth a listen. Spade has always been underappreciated as a stand-up and is generally a lot more interesting than he gets credit for. (People tend to confuse his smug dick characters for the actual dude.) He’s also full of interesting stories — about Farley (natch), about becoming a father, about the time his crazy assistant tried to kill him (yet somehow avoided jail time), etc. I also never knew Spade’s brother Andy is the Spade of Kate Spade purse fame, and might be the richest one of the family.

But if I’m going to leave you with anything, it’s going to be a backstage-at-SNL story, because I can’t get enough of those. Spade revealed that his “Smug Dick Receptionist” character (not to be confused with Smug Dick Airline Steward, Smug Dick Gap Employee…), remembered by his catch phrase “And you are?” was actually based on Patrick Swayze’s assistant (and Lorne Michaels’).

It was just a weird way people were treating me, and I wrote it out. Like being very condescending. And that kind of attitude was funny, because I got it from Lorne’s assistant in L.A. and I got it from Patrick Swayze’s assistant when he was at the show.

They wouldn’t let me see Patrick Swayze. Because you’re allowed to talk to the host if you’re a writer. And it’s three in the morning, and he’s in the writer’s room, alone. And his PR person is standing by the door. And I walk in, and she puts her arm up to block me. She goes, “Can I help you?”

And I go, “Oh, I just wanted to say ‘hi’ to Patrick,” and she goes “And you are..?” And I go “Uh.. I’m David Spade?” And she goes, “And he would know you because…?” And I go, “I’m a writer here.” And she goes “*sigh* riiiight, you’re a writer here at SNL? Mmm, it’s just, he’s so crazy right now. Can you come back in a little bit? It might be a better time.”

And go, “He’s reading People magazine right there. Are you sure?”

“Yeah, it’s just a really tricky time right now.”

And I didn’t even get it. I just thought in my head that was so weird, that whole attitude. So the next time I was in L.A., I called Lorne, and his office goes, “And you are…?”

And I go, is this a real f*cking thing? And they quizzed me, and I had to explain how I was famous and sh*t, and they’re like, “Ooh, yeah, I don’t watch TV, sorry,” and I’m like, “It’s your own show!”

I don’t know if I like the sketch as much as I like that story. If you’ve ever dealt with an actor’s assistant, you know it’s usually them who’s the dick rather than the talent. It seems like the way they get hired is by winning a contest to see who can be the most psychotically overprotective of the client. “Oooh, yeah, is that a sesame seed bun? …Yeah, that’s gonna have to go. Josh will flip if he so much as sees a sesame– OH HI, MR. GAD I WAS JUST GETTING YOU A NEW LUNCH PLEASE DON’T HIT ME AGAIN.”

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