For more than 30 years, we’ve seen Wally Feresten emerge from time to time, from just off-camera to on camera, as the longtime cue card guy for Saturday Night Live (as well as NBC’s Late Night franchise).
When TV went into quarantine in March, and resumed broadcasting from home, that left Feresten as one of many behind-the-scenes workers without a job.
Feresten figured out a way to keep making bucks, $55 at a time. He began offering customized cue cards for sale online at Cue Cards By Wally. He cannot write “Live From New York” or other copyright material, but out of more than 200 orders so far, many have asked him to write “Live From ____, it’s _____!” or anything else they might like on a 22-inch by 14-inch piece of cardboard.
“I thought of the idea last summer, but launching the business during the coronavirus lockdown made perfect sense,” the 54-year-old from Livingston, NJ, told the New York Post. “I wanted to bring a little light relief and joy into people’s lives.”
Feresten’s older brother, Spike, you may know as a writer for SNL, David Letterman and Seinfeld who briefly had his own late-night talk show, Talkshow with Spike Feresten, on FOX from 2006-2009.
But back to Wally. As he explains on his website:
Let me first start by saying I’m not allowed to write copy- righted material onto these cue cards. I’m, sorry, but I can’t write “Live from New York, It’s Saturday Night” on a cue card and sell it to you, or any other SNL saying, catch phrase or character used at any time on the show.
What you can get is anything else you want written on the same cue cards we use on SNL and the other late night shows. Be original, clever or I can help you decide what to write. If it’s your best friend’s birthday, I can write “LIVE FROM MIAMI, IT’S KATIE SMITH’S BIRTHDAY!! Or…LIVE FROM QUARANTINE, IT’S ME GOING CRAZY!!
These can be great birthday, graduation, anniversary gifts for you or your friends and family. Okay, so here are the payment options for you to consider.
Option 1: A personalized cue card written by Wally and autographed if you so desire. I’ll take a picture of me holding the card after I write it. I’ll email the pic and mail the cue card to you anywhere in the continental United States for $55 dollars. Alaska and Hawaii would be a slightly higher price to cover shipping there, as will out of the country. I have mailed a cue card to London and it cost $30 dollars just to cover the postage, so unfortunately, if you live in a different country and want a cue card, the price would be $85…$55 for the card and $30 for the postage.
Option 2: You get everything in option 1 but you also get a video of me writing up the cue card and I’ll deliver a personal message to the gift recipient that you write out for me. I’ll email both the video and the picture to you and when the gift arrives, you can send them the video and the picture. The cost for this is $80.