How David Spade Turned Down David Bowie’s Offer to Switch Roles on SNL

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This amusing backstage story about an unexpected interaction between David Spade and David Bowie on Saturday Night Live back in 1991 is pure comedic gold. Spade shared the hilarious tale during a recent episode of his popular podcast Fly on the Wall with Dana Carvey. Here is a deeper look at exactly what went down when Spade made the difficult decision to turn down Bowie surprising offer for the two icons to switch roles in a sketch Spade had written. We will also explore Bowie witty reaction to being rejected, the aftermath for Spade and how this awkward moment ultimately demonstrated the deep creative passions of two artists at the apex of their respective fields.

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David Spade SNL Background

David Spade is of course a renowned comedian and actor who rose to become one of the biggest breakout stars on Saturday Night Live from 1990 to 1996. He is known for his biting sarcasm and wit delivered with a trademark nasally deadpan. Spade created some of SNLmost iconic characters during his tenure. David Bowie meanwhile was arguably one of the most acclaimed, boundary-pushing musical artists of all time, celebrated for his constant creative reinvention and avant-garde sounds.

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Spade Initial Hilarious Sketch Idea

David Spade wrote an SNL sketch premised around himself playing an arrogant and obnoxious receptionist who stubbornly refuses to allow David Bowie to enter the building he is guarding in 1991. Spade envisioned Bowie simply appearing in the sketch as himself becoming increasingly annoyed and flustered by the rude receptionist attitude towards him. Bowie himself was not actually present in the room when initially pitching the sketch concept.

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Bowie Totally Unexpected Role Swap Request

David Bowie unexpectedly personally contacted David Spade with a surprising proposition - he wanted the two icons to switch roles! Bowie thought the snobby receptionist character was far more comical and would allow him to show off his own little-seen comedic talents. The music legend admitted he was a big fan of Spade signature comedic style and hoped to have some fun with a change of pace role. So Bowie generously offered to play the receptionist while letting Spade portray him instead which would be an honor.

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Spade Reluctant Decline of the Role Swap Offer

David Spade was sincerely shocked and flattered by David Bowie generous offer to switch roles. Spade made the difficult decision to reluctantly decline the proposed role reversal after some careful thought. Spade hoped to make his arrogant receptionist character a new recurring staple on SNL and was hesitant to give up the part he had envisioned playing even for Bowie. Spade also candidly doubted his own acting skills to believably impersonate someone as singular as Bowie compared to Bowie just playing himself. Spade stuck firmly to his original vision though extremely sorry and appreciative of the offer.

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The Aftermath and Consequences of Spade Choice

David Spade controversial choice to reject David Bowie role swap idea ended up having significant consequences. The original receptionist sketch concept was cut from the show altogether that week and Spade appeared minimally in other sketches seeming out of favor. Spade feared he had greatly offended Bowie with his stubborn refusal while also blowing a once-in-a-lifetime chance to work closely with the legend. Spade also felt like he had disappointed his SNL castmates and fans by not appeasing Bowie.

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Bowie Persistently Witty Attempts to Change Spade Mind

The clever David Bowie did not take no for an answer so easily. He began calling David Spade frequently to politely yet doggedly keep lobbying him to reconsider his declined offer hoping Spade would still change his mind. Bowie also cheekily started showing up to SNL rehearsals just to observe Spade performing the receptionist role and offer his unsolicited advice and tips while also cracking some subtle jokes at Spade's expense. This demonstrated Bowie signature wit and playfulness even when rejected.

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Spade Live On-Air Apology to Bowie

David Spade wracked with guilt after the fact over rebuffing David Bowie sketch role request. He decided to formally apologize to Bowie publicly during SNL closing goodnights segment that week. He approached Bowie on stage and gave him a sincere hug, expressing regret for being stubborn and selfish but hoping desperately they could still be friends and collaborate one day. Bowie gracefully accepted Spade apology without any hard feelings.

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This amusing backstage anecdote highlighted how two wildly creative artists from vastly different worlds could have diverging perspectives on comedy, music and life. Mutual understanding and respect prevailed through open communication and humor. David Spade and David Bowie proved great art comes in many wondrous forms. Their awkward interaction contained valuable lessons on compromise and still left the door open for future friendship.

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