Tuning in to TV: MacFarlane crossing ‘SNL’ off bucket list

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You might think Seth MacFarlane has a show-biz bucket list.

By now, he’s checked off ventures like his animated TV shows (led by “Family Guy”), his recording of show tunes, live performances at Carnegie Hall and this summer’s film comedy, “Ted,” which he directed, wrote and provided the title character’s voice for.

Now Mr. MacFarlane will serve as guest host this week for the season premiere of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.”

Was this just the next gig on his to-do list?

“Not exactly,” Mr. MacFarlane said Tuesday in an Associated Press interview. “When things come up, I tackle them if they sound fun. That’s how I decide what to do and what not to do. It’s what sounds like it’s going to be a good time.”

But there’s another reason he was reporting to Studio 8H.

“They asked me,” he explained. “It’s the kind of thing you don’t say ‘no’ to if you’re in comedy.”

For a multimedia comedy impresario, Mr. MacFarlane might not seem ideally suited to “SNL,” where he is being treated warmly, but not in his customary role as the boss.

“It’s always a nice break to not be the guy in charge,” he insisted. And with his edition of “SNL” being polished off in just a week, the routine should prove a refreshing change, too. “It’s the complete antithesis of the nine months it takes us to do one episode of an animated series.”

While Mr. MacFarlane arrived Monday with a few sketch ideas, “this is a large writing staff that’s well-equipped to do what they do,” he pointed out. “I sat in on a pitch where writers threw out a bunch of one-line sketch ideas, and there were a lot of hilarious ones. There’s no shortage of fresh stuff.”

But along with comedy, will the silver-throated MacFarlane sing a song on the show?

“Possibly,” he said. “But it’s too soon to tell.”

As the series begins its 38th season on Saturday, Mr. MacFarlane will be sharing the bill with musical guest Frank Ocean.

Looking beyond Saturday, Mr. MacFarlane said future projects he’d like to do include another film and even maybe an on-camera acting role.

“We’ll see if this weekend is a disaster or not,” he hedged. “But I do like trying things I haven’t tried before. It kind of gets the blood going.”

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