Fans of Saturday Night Live funny lady Cheri Oteri can at long last simma-dah-nah. After years of listening to me bitch, moan, beg and plead, SNL has finally released The Best of Cheri Oteri on DVD - and I'm happy to report it was well worth the wait. Not only does it feature such classic Cheri characters as Burger Castle cashier Nadeen, prescription druggie Collette Reardon, porch-dweller Rita DelVecchio and, my personal fave, perky talk show host Cass Van Rye, but we also get a look at her heartbreaking (in a good way) audition tape and a never-before-seen "Morning Latte" sketch. To mark this momentous occasion, I phoned Cheri to gab about the DVD, her awkward run-in with Sarah Michelle Gellar at Cannes and the latest on her sitcom with J.J. Abrams.

How was Cannes?
Cheri:
It was so cool. I mean, the red-carpet thing was just surreal and too exciting. And then I went to the Vanity Fair party, and I was, like, watching Al Gore dance. He's still very white.

How was Southland Tales received?
Cheri:
I don't think it got the best reviews. The New York Times really liked it, but it was too long. Like two hours and 40 minutes.

Yeah, that's long. Who do you play in it?
Cheri:
I play Zora Carmichaels.

Sounds like one of your SNL characters.
Cheri:
I know! She's a neo-Marxist leader, which is pretty much all that's left of the Democratic Party. She's really tough.

One of my colleagues saw a photo of your costar, Sarah Michelle Gellar, at the premiere and said she looked pregnant. What's the scoop?
Cheri:
This is the funny thing. You know Zelda from Poltergeist?

Tangina?
Cheri:
I don't know what her last name is.

No, that's her character's name in Poltergeist.
Cheri:
Oh, well, she's in the movie and she was sitting in a wheelchair next to me, Sarah and The Rock, and Zelda goes, "When are you due?" And Sarah looked at her like... "[ Pshaw]." She was very polite about it, but I felt the need to intervene, so I said, "She's having a bow" - because there was a bow right in the center. I guess that is what made her look [pregnant].

What did Sarah say?
Cheri:
She said, "Oh, no, I'm not pregnant. I must just look pregnant in this dress." And I go, "Sarah, it's the bow." And she goes, "You don't have to say anything, it's OK." And the Zelda goes, "Oh, I'm sorry, honey." You gotta forgive her, but still, haven't we learned never to say that?

Is there anything worse than calling a woman pregnant when she isn't?
Cheri:
Oh my god. I met Morgan Freeman at a restaurant, and I just wanted to go over to him and say how much I've enjoyed him on Electric Company. He was so gracious and so nice and he said, "So, when are you due?" And I go, "I'll tell you what I won't do is wear this shirt again."

Hahahahaha!
Cheri:
And I never wore that shirt again, because it [made me look] pregnant. It would have been nice if I had known. I would have eaten a ton.

OK, let's talk about this wonderful DVD. Did you have any qualms about including your audition?
Cheri:
Oh god, I felt so vulnerable and so exposed. I've never really seen many people's auditions, and it's almost a private experience. It's very exposing, and, in a way, it can be a little humiliating to see yourself like that. But there's something to say, I guess, about committing no matter what.

How scared were you?
Cheri:
The funny thing was, the night before I had gone out with Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan, and I got food poisoning. I was vomiting all night long. I had broken blood vessels in my face and in my eye. So when I went into this audition, I went into the makeup person and she goes, "Honey, what happened?" And I go, "I have been throwing up all night! I got food poisoning!" She just put a ton of makeup on me, and, luckily, it was dark and I was far enough away. But it was just so funny because I always said my legs could be broken, but if I had to go out there and perform, I would.

How did you find out you had been cast?
Cheri:
Lorne wanted to meet me at the Paramount office in L.A., so I went with Will - because his appointment was after mine - and Lorne said, "Cheri, we want you to come to New York." And I thought, "To shop? For the weekend?" I was like, "Finish the sentence!" But he never did, and I never asked. Will [found out] right after me and we went to the parking lot and started screaming.

Sounds like a moment you'll never forget.
Cheri:
Never! We couldn't even wait. We stopped at a restaurant to make phone calls; we didn't even have cell phones. It was just one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

Do you keep in touch with any of your fellow alums?
Cheri:
Not really, but whenever I run into people, it's so fun! We hug, and we talk, and it's always great, but god, I think when you're in close quarters for that long, it's like graduating.

Have you heard about Aaron Sorkin's SNL-like show, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip?
Cheri:
They wanted to meet me about playing a cast member, but it was just too close to home. I feel like, what am I playing? Myself? But I was so flattered to be considered, and I thought the script was so good.

Do you feel like you have closure with SNL now that this DVD is out?
Cheri:
Yeah! That is exactly it. It felt like I had closure. It felt like I could just let it go, be proud of what I did and just kind of celebrate what I did and feel good about it.

Do you still watch the show?
Cheri:
I'm not a night person. On SNL it was really, really hard for me to stay up that late. And so I knew once I wasn't doing the show anymore, I was gonna be sound asleep.

Where do things stand with the J.J. comedy?
Cheri:
J.J. and I have a new idea. We are going to collaborate more [this time around]. Last time, he was so busy with Mission: Impossible III when we started that he really could not give as much as he would have normally given, and that sucked because it's his input that is so valuable. But he said to me, "Please, just wait until I'm done with Mission: Impossible, and we'll attack this." The commitment is still there and the excitement for me is still there, because I think he is a genius, and he's got an amazing sense of humor. Amazing sense of humor.

I'm assuming you can't talk too much about what the new idea is.
Cheri:
Nooooo. But you know what? When I do, I'm comin' to you!