Jodi Upton is a sign language interpreter for Heritage High School in Catoosa County, and has accomplished many other things in her career, and she can now add NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” to her resume’. She was featured in a musical video on the December 3rd episode, and has quite a story to tell.
Here’s what happened, in Jodi’s own words:
“A friend of mine moved to New York City a few years ago and she does stand up comedy. She got an email last Wednesday from SNL Casting asking if anyone knew of a sign language interpreter who might want to appear in a skit. She told them about me, and they sent me an email with some lyrics, asking me to interpret them and send them a video.
A few hours later, I heard back that they wanted me, and could I be in New York the next day to film a music video for Saturday’s show. Before I accepted, I asked to be sure that I wouldn’t be taking a job that could go to a deaf actor. They assured me that they just wanted an interpreter to go along with their Christmas singers.
I flew to New York City on Thursday, leaving Chattanooga at 7 a.m. and arriving four hours later. At SNL, they were SO nice. Everyone was incredibly helpful. They had food there, and invited me to sit and eat while I waited. I was later taken to wardrobe where they changed my outfit several times. I was told to bring some 80s/90s Christmas type clothing and they originally put me in one of my really tacky Christmas sweatshirts, but the head wardrobe woman didn’t like it so I ended up changing into their white sweater. They also gave me those hideous glasses and the earrings. I sat and watched them film that caroling scene a million times. They had me get up and do four takes of the entire chorus of that song. It was surreal, I was standing on the risers and the makeup people came flying up to me. I had two women working on my face and hair, they fixed my face and put gel in my hair and then they clicked the clapboard and started filming. They played the prerecorded music and I interpreted the song four times.
I was finished after that, and I was very paranoid about missing my flight home so I was dismissed to check my clothing back into wardrobe and leave. Had I not been worried about my flight back, I would have stayed and met more people. When I went back to turn in my clothes, I opened a door and they were shooting some behind the scenes stuff, so to get out of the way, I ducked into the makeup room. Aidy Bryant (my FAVORITE) was getting her makeup and hair done. I wanted to say something to her so badly but I didn’t want to be a “fan girl” and get kicked out.
I got back home after midnight in Chattanooga and had to be up at 7 to present a workshop. It was such a fun experience – the crew was AMAZING and so professional. I had an absolute blast. Even though they showed only a few seconds of all that filming, I was happy with that because I had been so afraid of how they would portray me. A great thing for my resume!”