‘Live from …’

Danielle Mahoney, a 2009 graduate of Classen School of Advanced Studies, recently completed an internship in the costume department of NBC’s long-running sketch-comedy show. She is in her third year studying production and costume design at New York University.

“It was so fun to see things like a cardboard box labeled ‘Gaga Dress’ stacked in the corner,” she said.

The 21-year-old Mahoney said she often saw “SNL” cast members when they came in for fittings, but interaction was limited.

“I got really familiar with all their shoe sizes,” she said.

Mahoney said she especially got a kick out of watching sketches evolve over the week. At one rehearsal, she said, guest host Katy Perry showed up wearing a hot-pink pajama onesie.

“After the dress rehearsal Saturday evening, all the important players decide which sketches will get cut,” Mahoney said. “I was always super-curious to see what stayed and what got cut.”

And every sketch came with a wealth of costuming needs. Mahoney’s duties ranged from organizing racks of clothes to picking up garments from stores.

“And everything is extremely organized, from fat suits to combat boots to tiny hats,” she said. “There’s a whole section called ‘Vegas’ just
filled with sequined clothing of all kinds. And anything that can’t be
found in stock or easily obtained in New York gets ordered online and
overnighted to the studio with fingers crossed it will get there in

And sometimes you’ve just gotta improvise. Mahoney said a particular challenge came when the show needed Thanksgiving-themed
patches for a “Weekend Update” segment featuring Fred Armisen and
Kristen Wiig as Garth and Kat. After nothing turned up at several
embroidery and sewing stores, Mahoney was dispatched to see what she
could find at a nearby Kmart.

ended up buying some place mats decorated with large turkeys and
scarecrows, which got cut up and made into vests by the wardrobe team,”
Mahoney said. “Knowing the journey of those place mats from a dusty
Kmart shelf to national television was really amusing.”

Phil Bacharach

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