Pedro Pascal Revealed What Made Him Break Character on ‘SNL’

Pedro Pascal is having quite the year, isn’t he? The man has played everyone’s favorite intergalactic cowboy in Disney’s The Mandalorian and fought off fungus monsters in HBO’s The Last of Us. But his most viral performance didn’t require any fancy costumes or flesh-eating mushroom prosthetics—just a shaking table and some overcooked steak.

Back in February, the Chilean actor played a dinner party guest in SNL’s “Lisa from Temecula” sketch, which took the Internet by storm. In “Lisa from Temecula,” Pascal broke character and promptly fell into a fit of laughter. The birthday-meal-gone-wrong sketch was undoubtedly funny, but who caused his case of the giggles?

“Frankly, it was Bowen Yang’s fault,” Pascal says in a new episode of “Explain This,” on the occasion of Esquire’s latest cover story, which features the actor. “Instead of going into the nostalgic value of comedy, I’m just going to blame Bowen Yang, because he started laughing, and I looked to my right, and that is a contagious disease. I’m a corpser, as they say in the UK—a giggler—and I never survive it. And if somebody starts laughing, I’m a goner. And that’s what happened.” Pascal starred in the sketch alongside Yang, Ego Nwodim, Punkie Johnson, and Molly Kearny. You can relive the madness below.

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Lisa from Temecula – SNL

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Prior to hosing SNL, Pascal spent a week in New York, training with the cast. Despite starring in a number of hit television series, the actor still experienced some preshow jitters. In his interview with Esquire, the actor said he was able to calm his nerves by confiding in his mother, who died in 2000. “I was so scared that week that I was talking to her,” Pascal explained. “There would be that terror waiting for me—that practical fear of bombing in front of the world. And then I talked to her, and it was really comforting. I had sort of the realization that it would be nice to talk to her more.” During those meditative chats, Pascal would say, “I love you. I miss you. Thank you. I’m scared. I would love it if you would help me believe in myself because I know you do.”

Pascal’s performance, of course, went off without a hitch. “I could not have had a better time,” he said of the experience. His close friend, Oscar Isaac. tuned in that night, celebrating his performance along with the rest of America. “I mean, how could you not just fall in love with him?” he told Esquire. “I think that’s why there’s so much goodwill, because you can feel that big heart bursting inside that chest of his.”

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Associate Staff Writer

Bria McNeal is a Manhattan based journalist who is patiently awaiting B5’s revival. When she’s not writing about all things entertainment, she can be found watching TV or trying to DIY something (likely, at the same time). Her work has appeared in NYLON, Refinery29, InStyle, and her personal newsletter, StirCrazy.  

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