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Kissing Jacob Elordi, dancing with Julia Stiles and becoming Timothée Chalamet: Chloe Fineman’s buzziest ‘SNL’ sketches

By Alli Rosenbloom, CNN

(CNN) — Chloe Fineman might be known by some as the chief impressionist at “SNL,” but she says that she might walk away from the 49th season with a new moniker.

“I’m ‘Girl who’s hoisted by hunky men’ this year, and I’m really not mad about it,” she joked to CNN recently, making reference to two memorable sketches that had her jumping into the arms of “Aquaman” star Jason Momoa and “Euphoria” star Jacob Elordi, respectively.

Indeed, it has been quite the season for Fineman, who has been on the long-running sketch show since 2019. It’s seen her do street ballet with Julia Stiles and come face-to-face with Timothée Chalamet after doing an uncanny impression of him.

In the midst of promoting her new campaign with NÜTRL Vodka Seltzer, Fineman spoke to CNN about some of her buzziest sketches from what has arguably been her best season yet.

Scrambling to ‘Save the Last Dance’

It wasn’t until roughly 11:30 p.m. on the Friday night before the live taping of a December episode of “SNL” that Fineman got word from a producer that the “Save the Last Dance” sketch she had pitched was a go.

And as the clock struck midnight, the first call was made to the 2001 movie’s star Julia Stiles to see if she was available to make a cameo in the sketch that paid homage to the film. Luckily, Stiles was not only up at that hour, but she was down to rally.

“She just happened to be in New York and was like, ‘Sure, yeah, I’ll get a sitter!’” Fineman said.

The last-minute decision to move forward with the sketch left little time to prepare before showtime.

Reading cue cards while simultaneously performing choreography on a live show was a new challenge for Fineman, so she worked hard with a choreographer to learn the dance on the day of the live show “in this weird gym we have in 30 Rock that supposedly only Seth Meyers works out at.”

Stiles arrived around 5 p.m. to rehearse with Fineman, and she came ready to “practice and get it right.”

The sketch features Stiles and Fineman demonstrating that her idea of the perfect “intimate” holiday gift is the pivotal Juilliard audition dance that Stiles’ character performs at the end of the movie. Fineman explains the plot while performing her hilarious spin on the routine.

At the end, Stiles was met with raucous cheers and applause when she took the “SNL” stage to perform with Fineman in the surprise cameo.

“For the audience to freak out the way they did,” Fineman said, “I thought it was so special and so cool.”

While the sketch was a success, the final product wasn’t how it was initially intended. According to Fineman, it was originally written for Adam Driver, who hosted the episode and would’ve been the recipient of her steamy holiday “gift” until the sketch changed direction to include Stiles instead.

“I did a table read and Adam Driver’s just looking at me and I’m like, ‘Another day at the office making a fool out of myself with, like, the greatest actor of our generation. Cool, cool, cool,’” she recalled, laughing.

Timothée, meet Timothée

The first time Timothée Chalamet hosted “SNL,” Fineman appeared in a sketch doing an impression of him.

So when Chalamet returned to host “SNL” for the second time in November and appeared in a sketch with Fineman once again playing him, it was not the first time he’d gotten to witness Fineman’s take on him up close.

The sketch was a pre-taped segment that aired during the live broadcast and featured Fineman and various cast members doing impressions of celebrities auditioning to be the audiobook narrator of Britney Spears’ 2023 memoir “The Woman in Me.”

Fineman opens the sketch with her iconic impression of Spears before she appears as a laughing, mumbling Chalamet. Fineman’s version of Chalamet in this sketch hilariously can’t read his lines, but it was an impression that she had some trepidation about doing.

“At first I was like, ‘I don’t want to do this, I don’t want to make him uncomfortable because I really love him,’” she admitted. But the team of seasoned writers on the show encouraged her to just trust the process.

Their advice paid off.

“He really got a kick out of it; he was really laughing!” She said. “My favorite [thing] is he laughs the way that my impression laughs, so then it’s sort of this meta, crazy thing.”

Fineman came up with the concept for the sketch shortly after Spears’ buzzy memoir was released. She worked with “SNL” writers Jake Nordwind and Mike DiCenzo on the angle, picking which impressions to include and who on the cast could portray them.

“It’s kind of the joy of the show: You have all these amazing people who can surprise you with their impressions,” she said of her cast mates, highlighting Molly Kearney’s impression of actor Kevin James and Mikey Day’s Steve-O. “I love a sketch like that because everybody scores.”

At the end of the day, the celebrities Fineman does impressions of are chosen carefully and always done in admiration. “I’m never going to do an impression of someone who I think has no sense of humor or who’s fragile,” she said.

Hoisted by hunks

Fineman isn’t quite sure how she got the lucky role of playing a character that shares an on-screen kiss with Jacob Elordi during a January sketch, but she has one sneaking suspicion.

“I also got the lucky role with Jason Momoa, getting hoisted by a hunk,” she said of a sketch that aired in November when the “Aquaman” actor was the episode’s host. “Maybe it’s because it went so well with Jason Momoa they were like, let’s try it with Jacob.”

In the Elordi sketch, Fineman’s character is the lead on a dating reality show geared toward men of less-than-average height. She ends up choosing the 6 foot 5 tall Elordi, who she engages in an over-dramatic kiss with at the end.

It was all in good fun, according to Fineman, who said Elordi and Momoa are “some of the nicest hosts we’ve ever had and so easygoing” about the intimate sketches.

“To be honest, they were like, ‘Yeah, sure, whatever,’ and knew that it was funny. It was just easy,” she said. “They were lovely and so tall.”

Fineman, a self-described “short queen,” admits that she had to practice some self-restraint when coming into close contact with some of the show’s hunkiest hosts, equating her nerves to that girlish high school feeling one may get when running into a crush.

“I’m just like, ‘just play it cool,’” she joked. “I just try and not be weird, which is obviously the hardest thing to do when you’re hoisted by Momoa.”

The Elordi and Momoa sketches were written by Nordwind and DiCenzo but Fineman revealed that she, too, had written and pitched a sketch for Chalamet’s episode “where he hoisted me and we had to kiss.”

Alas, the Chalamet sketch got cut during the episode’s dress rehearsal, but it became clear to Fineman that a pattern was emerging.

“I feel like part of it is that if it’s my idea, it doesn’t happen. If it’s someone else’s, then I don’t know, maybe it just works out,” she hypothesized.

“SNL” airs Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. EDT/8:30 p.m. PDT on NBC. This week’s host is comedian Shane Gillis with musical guest 21 Savage.

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