Matthew McConaughey Explains The Origins Of His Iconic Catchphrase ‘Alright, Alright, Alright’ During ‘SNL’ Monologue
When you think of Matthew McConaughey, three distinct and iconic words pop up into your brain – “Alright, alright, alright.” The 46-year-old Hollywood actor used his time on his SNL monologue to explain the origins of the classic line in a back story he calls, “At the right bar at the right time.”
During his Saturday Night Live appearance, Matthew expounded on how he was discovered and cast in his first acting role for the film Dazed and Confused. With a stroke of luck and love for free drinks at the Hyatt hotel bar in Austin, Texas, the then student at the University of Texas at Austin’s College of Communication met and bonded with Don Phillips, a casting director. They got so plastered that they got kicked out of the bar, but Phillips thought Matthew would be a perfect fit to play David Wooderson.
“My character, David Wooderson, he has three lines in the entire film, says McConaughey. “Alright, but one of those lines is what I like to call a launch pad line. Now what I mean by that, a launch pad line is a line that if a character really believes it, then I can feel like I can write a whole book on this character.”
“The scene goes like this, Wooderson’s hanging out at a pool hall with some buddies, some girls walk by, he smacks one of them on the ass and his buddy says, ‘Man you’re going to go to jail for that, Wood Man.’ And Wooderson says ‘Nah. That’s what I love about those high school girls, man. I get older, but they stay the same age.'”
The actor was brought in for a wardrobe makeup test, where he first met director Richard Linklater. The director was amazed how ideal of a Wooderson that McConaughey was. “Oh my God, you look great man, this is Wooderson, this is exactly who I hoped you’d be,” Linklater tells McConaughey. He is so impressed with McConaughey that he puts him in another scene where he hits on a red-headed intellectual girl.
“Next thing I know, I’m in a car, getting ready to shoot the very first scene of my film acting career, unscripted. Am I nervous? Damn right, I’m nervous,” McConaughey reveals. “So I’m thinking, ‘Who is Wooderson? Who is my man? You know, what’s he about?’ “And I tell myself,” ‘Wooderson’s about four things: he’s about cars, weed, rock ‘n’ roll, and chicks.'”
“I look around, where I am, well I’m in my 70’s Chevelle. That’s one. I’ve got Slater riding shotgun, so I’m definitely getting high, that’s two. And we’ve got Ted Nugent playing Stranglehold on the 8-track, well that’s three.”
“At this point I hear over the intercom, ‘Action!’ And I look up across the drive-through at this red-headed intellectual and I say to myself, ‘Buddy, you got three out of four. Alright, alright, alright!'”
There you go. That was the start of an Oscar-winning career.
You can see McConaughey’s audition for Dazed and Confused here.