For his “Saturday Night Live” hosting debut, Austin Butler made fun of himself and drew laughs for a “Lord of the Rings” impression, but also touched hearts with a tearful tribute to his late mother.
In the NBC sketch show’s Christmas episode Saturday, the Golden Globe-nominated “Elvis” star poked fun at his “deeper, more Elvis-y voice” – an interview clip from 10 years ago was revved-up to high-pitched chipmunk tones – and also his child stardom on Disney Channel and Nickelodeon shows during his opening monologue.
“I was really into intense immersive acting” like Robert De Niro in “Raging Bull,” Butler, 31, joked. “On set, I’d be like, ‘I didn’t screw your wife!’ And they’d say, ‘Put down the knife. You’re scaring iCarly.”
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Butler recalled being homeschooled as a child (“I was also weird,” he cracked) and the times growing up in Anaheim, Calif., where his mom would have him and his sister take “the day off” and they’d go to Disneyland. “And then the ninth time she did that, we were like, ‘I don’t think she knows how to teach.’ “
He broke out the spot-on Gollum impression that he’d do for his mom, who he watched “SNL” weekly with as a kid with “crippling shyness,” and explained that “being silly with her is what broke me out of my shell” and what started him in acting.
Butler then choked up when he said that “Mom is no longer with us.” He also talked about how proud she’d be that her son “who used to not be able to order for myself at a restaurant is now standing on this stage,” which drew a rapturous applause from the audience.
The actor’s mother died she died of cancer in 2014.
“So any time you see me doing a silly voice or making a funny face, that’s for you, Mom.”
Butler definitely got to have some fun in his “SNL” gig: In a sketch nodding to his recent role as the King of Rock and Roll, Sarah Sherman played Jewish Elvis with Butler as an old grandmother so hot and bothered that she throws her underwear that him.