There are many things that remain uncertain in this ever-tenuous existence, but one concrete thing that we can lean on is that Christopher Walken does not need more cowbell. The actor and frequent Saturday Night Live host is known for many things, but for some his role as a guy demanding “more cowbell” in an SNL sketch.
Walken has said in the past that he’s extremely done with fan reaction to the sketch, in which he plays someone constantly demanding the band Blue Oyster Cult add more cowbell to their hit “Don’t Fear The Reaper.” Will Ferrell plays the proverbial cowbell player, and Walken’s demands and Ferrell’s space work made the sketch a classic.
But according to someone very close to the actor, it’s had a negative impact on his public life, to the point where he apparently has avoided travel because he’s afraid of interacting with fans who only want to shout “MORE COWBELL” at him rather than let a king live.
In an interview with the Toronto Sun, director Tim Hill commented on the reaction Walken has seen from fans who really, really love that sketch. Hill, who directed Walken in The Deer Hunter, says overzealous fans have basically ruined air travel for Walken:
“I think that’s sort of why Chris is reluctant to travel to make movies, because he’s always stopped in the airport: ‘Oh, there’s Chris Walken. More cowbell!’,” the filmmaker tells WENN, referencing a funny 2000 Saturday Night Live skit starring the actor. “He said he just couldn’t do that any more. People just want to do (an impression of) him or ask him to repeat those lines.
It’s wild to think the reason we may have seen fewer movies from Walken in recent years is because an SNL sketch made him too visible a heckling target in airports. There is enthusiasm for a funny sketch and someone’s work, and then there is menacing someone in the TSA line because he can carry a scene. As it turns out, Walken is a pretty easy-going guy and doesn’t want to be known as someone from a single sketch:
“He’s pretty easy going and I wouldn’t say he resents it, but he doesn’t want to just be the guy who says those lines that people know him for. In this film, he just wanted to be who he is.”
The pandemic has certainly limited both travel and making movies for basically everyone, so perhaps this isn’t a big concern right now. But when a somewhat normal life emerges once again and you happen to see Walken in an airport, please leave him alone. Or maybe ask about Fatboy Slim instead.
(Via Toronto Sun)