Louie Zakarian

Makeup Artist


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his one-hour interview, Louie Zakarian talks about his early interest in makeup and how he came to learn the craft through his own research and experimentation. He discusses his first job in television, on the show Monsters, and how he broke into NBC and the union through work doing makeup on Donahue. He then talks about getting the opportunity to work at Saturday Night Live, including appearing on-camera in one of his first episodes. Zakarian then goes into detail on Saturday Night Live, including a typical workweek for the makeup department, how quick changes work during the show, cast shakeups during his tenure, and his rise to head of the makeup department. He also talks about working with hosts and Lorne Michaels, doing the makeup for Digital Shorts, and specific sketches and characters, including Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer and Alec Baldwin as Donald J. Trump. He concludes by giving advice to aspiring makeup artists and reflecting on what he enjoys about the fast pace of Saturday Night Live. B-roll consists of a tour of the makeup storage facilities at Saturday Night Live. Dan Pasternack conducted the interview on March 26, 2019 in New York, NY.

"The best part about Saturday Night Live is immediate gratification. We have two days to build it. The show airs Saturday night. If it worked, it worked. If it didn’t work, okay, we gave it our best. And we’ve got the next week to make up for it."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Louie Zakarian on a typical workweek for the makeup department at Saturday Night Live
Louie Zakarian on advice for aspiring makeup artists
Louie Zakarian on doing the makeup for Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer on Saturday Night Live
Louie Zakarian on early lessons he learned doing makeup at Saturday Night Live, and on Lorne Michaels' preference for seeing the cast member under the makeup
Louie Zakarian on figuring out how to complete an extremely quick change into Cleopatra makeup for a sketch on Saturday Night Live
Louie Zakarian on the power of makeup to transform actors into their characters
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on being self-taught as a makeup artist, and on television he watched growing up; on his first job in television, on the show Monsters
On doing makeup for Donahue; on how he came to work at Saturday Night Live; on being assigned as Adam Sandler's makeup artist, and how makeup artists plan out their cast member's changes and touch ups during the filming of an episode
On becoming a full-time member of the makeup team at Saturday Night Live; on lessons he learned early on at Saturday Night Live; on the challenge of doing makeup for an "Avatar" sketch; on how the various departments work together on Saturday Night Live
On becoming head of the makeup department at Saturday Night Live; on a typical workweek at Saturday Night Live
On working with hosts on Saturday Night Live; on the challenge of bald caps; on doing Cleopatra makeup for a sketch; on Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer on Saturday Night Live
On Donald J. Trump hosting Saturday Night Live; on Alec Baldwin as Trump; on his work on some specific sketches, and on the 40th anniversary special; on his seven Emmy wins
On advice to aspiring makeup artists; on the power of makeup; on destroying or saving molds and casts at the end of each season, and on the intense schedule of the show

Chapter 2

B-roll: tour of makeup molds stored behind the scenes of Saturday Night Live; molds of makeup artist Dick Smith; hairpieces and hairpieces from the show
Shows

Donahue

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Louie Zakarian on doing makeup for Donahue

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

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Louie Zakarian on his seven Emmy wins for his makeup work on Saturday Night Live

Saturday Night Live

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Louie Zakarian on how he came to work as a makeup artist at Saturday Night Live in 1995, and on his first assignment: creating exploding heads
Louie Zakarian on his first time doing makeup for the live show of Saturday Night Live, and on how he came to appear in a sketch on the show
Louie Zakarian on being assigned as makeup artist to Adam Sandler on Saturday Night Live, and on how being assigned to a specific cast member works during the run of a show
Louie Zakarian on becoming a full-time member of the makeup team at Saturday Night Live, and on the change in the cast from the 1994-95 to the 1995-96 seasons
Louie Zakarian on early lessons he learned doing makeup at Saturday Night Live, and on Lorne Michaels' preference for seeing the cast member under the makeup
Louie Zakarian on doing makeup for an "Avatar" sketch on Saturday Night Live
Louie Zakarian on how the makeup department coordinates with other departments on Saturday Night Live
Louie Zakarian on becoming head of the makeup department at Saturday Night Live, and on how the team works together
Louie Zakarian on a typical workweek for the makeup department at Saturday Night Live
Louie Zakarian on doing makeup for Digital Shorts on Saturday Night Live
Louie Zakarian on doing makeup for the run-through and live show of Saturday Night Live
Louie Zakarian on working with hosts on Saturday Night Live, as head of the makeup department, and on the challenge of bald caps
Louie Zakarian on figuring out how to complete an extremely quick change into Cleopatra makeup for a sketch on Saturday Night Live
Louie Zakarian on doing the makeup for Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer on Saturday Night Live
Louie Zakarian on his association with the Trump family, and on Donald J. Trump hosting Saturday Night Live
Louie Zakarian on doing makeup for Alec Baldwin as Donald J. Trump on Saturday Night Live
Louie Zakarian on doing the makeup for the Phil Hartman Saturday Night Live sketch "Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer", and on some of his favorite moments from working on the show
Louie Zakarian on doing makeup for the 40th anniversary show for Saturday Night Live
Louie Zakarian on his seven Emmy wins for his makeup work on Saturday Night Live, and on his long tenure on the show
Louie Zakarian on destroying molds from Saturday Night Live at the end of each season, and on items he's saved, and on the intense schedule of the show
Louie Zakarian on behind-the-scenes tour of the makeup department storage at Saturday Night Live
Topics

Advice

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Louie Zakarian on advice for aspiring makeup artists

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Louie Zakarian on being self-taught as a makeup artist and how he learned about makeup from books, magazines, and testing on himself

First Big Break

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Louie Zakarian on his first job in television, on the show Monsters

Pivotal Career Moments

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Louie Zakarian on being self-taught as a makeup artist and how he learned about makeup from books, magazines, and testing on himself
Louie Zakarian on his first job in television, on the show Monsters

Television Industry

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Louie Zakarian on advice for aspiring makeup artists
Professions

Makeup Artist

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Louie Zakarian on being self-taught as a makeup artist and how he learned about makeup from books, magazines, and testing on himself
Louie Zakarian on his creative process doing makeup for Saturday Night Live
Louie Zakarian on the challenge of bald caps, particularly on Saturday Night Live, which is so fast paced
Louie Zakarian on figuring out how to complete an extremely quick change into Cleopatra makeup for a sketch on Saturday Night Live
Louie Zakarian on advice for aspiring makeup artists

Stylists

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Louie Zakarian on being self-taught as a makeup artist and how he learned about makeup from books, magazines, and testing on himself
Louie Zakarian on his creative process doing makeup for Saturday Night Live
Louie Zakarian on the challenge of bald caps, particularly on Saturday Night Live, which is so fast paced
Louie Zakarian on figuring out how to complete an extremely quick change into Cleopatra makeup for a sketch on Saturday Night Live
Louie Zakarian on advice for aspiring makeup artists
Genres

Late Night

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Louie Zakarian on doing makeup for Saturday Night Live
People

Alec Baldwin

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Louie Zakarian on doing makeup for Alec Baldwin as Donald J. Trump on Saturday Night Live

Dave Chappelle

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Louie Zakarian on makeup he repurposed for Dave Chappelle when he hosted Saturday Night Live

Phil Hartman

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Louie Zakarian on doing the makeup for the Phil Hartman Saturday Night Live sketch "Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer"

Melissa McCarthy

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Louie Zakarian on doing the makeup for Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer on Saturday Night Live

Lorne Michaels

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Louie Zakarians on Lorne Michaels' preference for cast members being visible under their makeup on Saturday Night Live

Donald J. Trump

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Louie Zakarian on a gig he had in his twenties, taking care of an aging Fred Trump, and on working with Donald J. Trump when he hosted Saturday Night Live
Louie Zakarian on doing makeup for Alec Baldwin as Donald J. Trump on Saturday Night Live

All Interviews

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