Live from New York, it's Sue Sylvester!
The iconic, sardonic gym coach she embodies each Tuesday on Fox is sure to figure into at least one of the episode's sketches, and the actress has confidence that executive producer Lorne Michaels and company know just how to make it happen.
"I think they're going to be careful," Lynch says, reasoning that the track-suited, tough Sue already is a creature of parody to a degree. "I've never seen them do anything where they've hit the nail on the head and it's not interesting, so I hope it'll work out well." The musical guest will be Bruno Mars ("Just the Way You Are," "Billionaire," "Nothin' on You").
Lynch maintains she'd had no idea "SNL" had made the approach to enlist her until "Glee" executive producer and co-creator Ryan Murphy let the cat out of the bag ... "prematurely, I guess," Lynch muses. "It was great news, and like any milestone in my life, it excited me but also scared me. But I'll do it! I like being scared, actually. It pulls the best out of you."
Though she's been more accustomed lately to working in front of cameras than live audiences, Lynch believes her experience in staying nimble and flexible from doing movies directed by Christopher Guest ("Best in Show," "A Mighty Wind," etc.) could come in handy for her Saturday night gig.
"Christopher is 100 percent improv," she says, "but thank goodness, 'Saturday Night Live' isn't. You can't go back and re-edit. Hopefully, I'll be good on my feet."
It also helps that Lynch is a "Saturday Night Live" fan anyway. "I'm very familiar with it. I know there are some new members, but it's a great cast and I'm a fan of a lot of them Kristen Wiig and Fred Armisen and so on. I'm sad that Will Forte has left, because I think he's amazing and I would have loved to work with him, but it's a great group."
The complete first season of "Glee" was released recently on DVD and Blu-ray by Fox Home Entertainment, and now that Lynch is into her sophomore year as Sue, there are some fresh highlights for her already. She's relishing playing off Dot-Marie Jones, newly present as McKinley High football coach Shannon Beiste, who's giving Sue a run for her sarcasm.
"She's amazing," Lynch says. "She's about 6-4, so she's got about 4 inches on Sue -- and she steals every inch of it. She's very much her own brand of person; in fact, she's probably more redeemable than Sue.
"It's really nice to lock eyes with someone who's a really great actress, and who gives Matt Morrison (alias Will 'Mr. Schue' Schuester) and me an opportunity to team up against someone. Sue is a warrior, always looking for the next fight. Also, we have John Stamos in now (as a cast regular), and I finally have a scene with him in the fifth episode. He's fabulous."
On the horizon is a "Glee" guest appearance by television legend Carol Burnett as Sue's previously mentioned mother. Lynch first worked with Burnett in last year's movie "Post Grad" and recalls, "We had a lovely time together. I really got to know her, and she was so generous and so kind, I'm thrilled to be able to work with her again."
Lynch actually had dual Emmy nominations this year, since she also was up for a guest stint in her recurring role as Charlie's (Charlie Sheen) psychiatrist on CBS' "Two and a Half Men." Lynch says "doing that show just pleases me," but the award ended up going to one of her forerunners for hosting "Saturday Night Live," the omnipresent Betty White.
Noting that her "Glee" Emmy win still feels great, Lynch adds with a laugh, "You move on! It feels wonderful, but you know, you still go to work the next day. I totally mean this: Just being nominated, and being in that company (which ranged from the aforementioned Wiig to Julie Bowen and Sofia Vergara, both of ABC's 'Modern Family'), meant the world to me."
Such accolades -- plus the "SNL" date -- indicate the leap Lynch has made in her career, following a wealth of reliable performances in television ("The L Word," "Party Down") and movies ("Julie & Julia," "The 40-Year-Old Virgin") that date back to the early 1990s.
"It's completely different from where I was even a year ago," Lynch acknowledges. "I still feel like the same person, but I'm recognized more on the street, and I have a lot of gratitude for the job that I have and the way people respond to the show ('Glee').
"It's a great joy to run into a 14-year-old girl who's in her school choir, and she gets so excited. She'll say, 'You don't understand how much this show means to me.' And I'll say, 'I do! I do!' "