“I feel terrible saying for saying this,” said Late Night’s Seth Meyers when addressing the imminent, long-delayed return of guest and former SNL pal Will Forte’s MacGruber. No, not because there’s anything wrong with being a-giggle with anticipation that Forte is bringing back (one of) his weirdest characters with the Peacock-hatched 2021 small screen return of Forte’s absurdly incompetent super-spy. Having become a cult success for fans of the loopy-brainy comedy of Forte and co-conspirators Jorma Taccone and John Solomon, MacGruber is now making the leap into streaming, with Forte promising that, the COVID nightmare permitting, this iteration of his SNL recurring dangerous dingbat will start shooting in June.
No, Meyers was apologizing for leaping right past the other big (if non MacGruber-related) news in Forte’s life. Forte just turned 50, for one thing, with The Last Man On Earth star bringing out the frankly unnerving COVID face masks his fiancée had made for him as prizes in a socially distanced birthday scavenger hunt. (Yes, there is one immortalizing the time Forte Daniel Day-Lewis-ed his way through most of a season with a vertically half-shaved face.) Plus, he and his beloved—their original wedding plans being scuppered by the aforementioned, eerily Last Man On Earth reminiscent pandemic nightmare—are both expecting a baby (imminently), and planning on getting married (quickly). The latter comes from the fact that that their insurance company suddenly decided it’s not going to cover the unmarried couple’s childbirth costs, with Forte telling Meyers that a drive-thru Las Vegas quickie wedding should satisfy the evil insurance P.T.B. (Forte does promise that, according to the chapel’s website, the drive-thru officiant does give a searching look into each couple’s car to check for true love, so it’s totally legit.)
Still, Meyers was there to hear some MacGruber news, and Forte did him one better, whipping out a ready MacGruber script for a dramatic reading of one pivotal scene. After spilling the news that MacGruber’s longtime love Vicki St. Elmo is now shacking up with his commanding officer (sadly not to be played by the late Powers Boothe this time), Forte acted the hell out of MacGriber’s big reconciliation scene with his boss. MacGruber wouldn’t be MacGruber if he didn’t make an enormous, straight-faced, self-incriminating mess of the ensuing apology, in which the secret agent confesses to all the awful things he’s said about his friend and romantic rival behind his back. Like, seriously terrible, if the copious NBC censoring of what will presumably be heard in all its gravelly, foul-mouthed glory on the Peacock stream-ways is to be deciphered. “We wanted to be a little classier with this iteration of MacGruber,” deadpanned Forte to the teary-eyed Meyers.