The first episode of Saturday Night Live’s 26th season aired on October 7, 2000, and ended like any other—with the cast gathered onstage while the host thanked everyone for a great show. In this case, the host was Rob Lowe, who was flanked by Eminem and Ralph Nader. Brendan Fraser was also there.
Eminem’s attendance made sense, since he was the musical guest. Nader had earned his spot onstage, too; he had played himself in a sketch where Lowe’s inner monologue reveals that he has no idea who Nader is (“Was he in St. Elmo’s Fire?” “Is he one of my agents?”). Fraser’s looming presence over Lowe’s left shoulder as the credits rolled was more of a mystery.
To be fair, Fraser did technically have a cameo in the episode. When Chris Kattan geared up to compete in the “Looks at Books” event during the “SNL Olympics” sketch, Fraser showed up to give him a quick pre-performance muscle rub and pep talk. This totally silent part lasted all of 25 seconds, just long enough for everyone to wonder why Fraser was there at all.
As CinemaBlend reports, Lowe was just as baffled as viewers. While interviewing former SNL cast member Vanessa Bayer for a recent episode of his podcast Literally!, Lowe revealed that Fraser’s appearance during the goodbyes came as a surprise (though he did thank him for being there, along with Eminem, Nader, Dido, and Tim Meadows). As soon as Lowe had finished his closing spiel, Fraser started shouting “Bedazzled! October 20th!” over the instrumental music. It was a plug for his upcoming comedy film, which was titled—you guessed it—Bedazzled.
“I’ve spent many years trying to figure out what was going on with Brendan that night, and the nearest I can come to is that he was somehow promised a walk-on during the show, and the show ran long, and he just was like, ‘F*** it, I’m gonna go up and yell Bedazzled behind Rob Lowe’s head,’” Lowe said on Literally!.
Lowe’s explanation suggests that he didn’t know about Fraser’s role in “SNL Olympics,” which, fleeting though it was, did sort of justify his hopping onstage for the closing ceremony. Whether Fraser was set to star in a more substantial sketch that got cut for time is anybody’s guess—maybe Fraser will tell his side of the story on a future episode of Lowe’s podcast.