Live from New York, it’s … that Jersey touch!
Meet Kim Kachougian, a Jersey City-based, Emmy-winning set decorator for Saturday Night Live, who is back for her 10th season of the iconic sketch show this fall when the 48th installment premieres on October 1. Kachougian oversees the film unit for SNL, which creates the beloved music videos, faux commercials and other pre-taped segments that are sprinkled throughout each week’s live show.
“It’s super intense and super insane,” Kachougian says of the work, which happens very quickly each week in time for Saturday’s episode. Pre-Covid, the film unit would often shoot on location, but for the past few seasons, including the current one, they’ve worked out of a Brooklyn studio and built sets for each shoot.
She says the NBC program is unlike any other gig in showbiz in that “it’s different every week. There isn’t a script until there’s a script and then that script can also change…and then you have to shift. That typically does not happen on a TV show or a movie; there are usually pre-approved scripts well in advance.”
In addition to her work on the film unit, Kachougian incorporates another passion of hers into SNL: flowers. She creates some of the floral arrangements that are seen on TV, and is also the brains behind the stunning arrangements the show’s high-profile guests receive in their dressing rooms.
When deciding which blooms to place for each celeb backstage, Kachougian says she finds “inspiration” in “what [project] they’re working on, or what they’re interested in.” When splashy pop star Lizzo hosted the show, for example, Kachougian created a hot-pink arrangement; for Kim Kardashian, she went with pale-pink roses.
This season, Kachougian will have a bevy of big stars to work with. Miles Teller is set to host the October 1 premiere, alongside musical guest Kendrick Lamar. Brendan Gleeson is hosting the following week, with musical guest Willow, and Megan Thee Stallion is playing a dual role as host and musical guest on October 15.
Outside of the show, Kachougian runs her own floral design studio, Mac & the Mushroom, in Hoboken, where she used to live. The SNL shooting schedule, which Kachougian says pretty much follows the school calendar, allows her the time to run her business, which creates floral arrangements for weddings, events and custom projects.
But when Kachougian herself got married earlier this year, she let someone else handle the flowers. “All of my other floral designer friends were like, ‘Don’t do it.’ And I was like, ‘OK, you’re right.’ It would’ve been too much. It’s a job.” Indeed, it is.Click here to leave a comment