Watching Phil Hartman’s audition tape for Saturday Night Live is such a bittersweet experience. Mostly sweet. To know that you don’t have to be a kid to get your big break in show business — Hartman was 38 when he joined the cast of SNL. To see the precision, vision and versatility in his audition — even though it’s hack now to do Jack Nicholson, Hartman still found a way a generation ago to make his takes seem unique and fresh, even when you watch them now. To see his friend, Jon Lovitz, lend a hand — Lovitz joined SNL in 1985, Hartman in 1986 — and gain a deeper appreciation for Lovitz stepping in at NewsRadio after Hartman got killed by his wife in 1998. Watch Hartman make the most of his SNL moment:
Related: A YouTube tribute to Phil Hartman’s voice work on The Simpsons.