Olympic swimming phenom Michael Phelps expects to be in deep comic waters when he hosts Saturday Night Live‘s 34th season premiere this weekend.
“I’m probably more nervous doing this than I was swimming in Beijing, I’ll tell you that!” Phelps, 23, said Thursday.
Phelps, who won a record eight gold medals, began reading through skits with the cast Wednesday night, and it’s already clear his wardrobe will be kept to a minimum, with parodies of his Olympics moments, his skimpy Speedos, his emotional mom in the stands – and even Phelps as Aquaman.
“There’s some really, really funny skits – anything you can imagine, they nailed just about every topic,” Phelps says.
Seeks Advice from Ashton and Demi
To calm his nerves for his first-time as a sketch comedy actor, Phelps has sought advice from comedians he’s run into while making his post-Olympics press rounds, including tips from former SNL-er J.B. Smoove.
“He said just be myself, relax, have fun,” says Phelps. “He also said if you don’t like something, speak up. Always voice your opinion. That’s some of the best advice that I’ve been given so far.”
He also contacted one high-powered Hollywood couple: “I’ve been playing phone tag and email tag with Ashton Kutcher,” Phelps says. “When we were in L.A. I met Demi, and she said, ‘If you need any help, let me know!’ So I reached out to get some more opinions on everything.”
As for his comic muses, Phelps says his favorite movie is Tommy Boy, and he’s a big fan of both Chris Farley and Adam Sandler.
“When you think about the people who’ve walked on that stage, the names are endless. The list is so long,” Phelps says. “It really truly is an honor for me to have this experience. My circle of friends are like, ‘If there’s one thing that you could do,’ and it’s like, ‘Dude, I’m hosting SNL. That’s one of the coolest things I could do!’ So I’m really looking forward to hosting the show on Saturday.”