‘SNL’ alum can still nail her famous Barbara Walters impersonation
Cheri Oteri, a former “SNL” cast member, revealed Saturday during CNN’s New Year’s Eve coverage that she was posing as the late journalism icon Barbara Walters.
Oteri, who once interviewed Walters for The View, told co-hosts Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen that the journalist had a knack for creating newsworthy memories, describing her as part of the fabric of her childhood.
Walters died Friday at the age of 93 and tributes from across the media industry have poured in to honor the legendary broadcaster.
“She was there for every newsworthy memory,” Oteri said.
Oteri, who has spilled her identity during CNN’s New Year’s Eve coverage for the past few years, later revealed what she originally thought when she tried her hand at Walters on “SNL.”
“I was like, ‘Oh my god, this is such a big responsibility,'” Oteri said.
“I didn’t want to do it, but then I was like, ‘Wait a minute. That would be such an honor.” So I studied her like I’ve never studied anyone before.”
She added: “So when I had her blessing and was on The View, I was just blown away. She’s broken every journalistic barrier for women, and here she’s asking me, ‘Cheri, how are you doing me?’”
Oteri later recalled telling Walters that she usually gives “three compliments and then” when giving an interview [goes] ready to kill.’”
You can see Oteri’s imitation of Walters at the 1:48 mark in the video below.
Oteri isn’t the only Saturday Night Live alumni posing as Walters.
Gilda Radner’s recurring “Baba Wawa” character helped define her time with the NBC comedy sketch show between 1975 and 1980.
Radner’s impersonation, Walters once said, was the first time a comedian had made fun of a news anchor.
“Gilda was the original and of course I laughed at everyone as long as it wasn’t me,” Walters said.
“When Gilda started doing ‘Baba Wawa’ I hated it. I didn’t like it… I don’t speak like that and I pronounce my R. Why did my parents have to call me Baba Walters?”
Walters recalled later hugging Radner when she met her in France.
“It was beautiful and it was sweet, I’ve loved her before and I’ve loved her ever since.”
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