Acid Redux? Ashlee Simpson Wants Another 'SNL' Gig

Miguel Nunez Jr. will be Matt LeBlanc's new friend in the second season of
Miguel Nunez Jr. will be Matt LeBlanc's new friend in the second season of "Joey." (By Jim Ruymen -- Reuters)
By Lisa de Moraes
Tuesday, August 16, 2005

One year later, Ashlee Simpson may return to "Saturday Night Live" to host -- and perform. Get ready for a hoedown -- Yee haw!

The gig on the NBC late-night show would coincide with the October release of her new album, "I Am Me, Except When I'm Singing Live and Then I'm Actually the Voice on the Backup Tape."

Okay, it's just called "I Am Me."

"It's not confirmed yet, but I want to do it," she told music trade publication Billboard.

"I've battled those demons," she added, referring to the Acid Reflux Demons who forced her to lip-sync her "live" performance on "SNL" last October.

At least, that was her story: Acute indigestion had robbed her of her vocal talent, necessitating the cheat recording -- about which the world might never have known if not for a tape mix-up. The prerecorded song she had "performed" earlier in the live show began to play again as she started her second song. Recovering quickly, Simpson performed a brief hoedown, and then walked offstage.

* * *

In a desperate attempt to salvagze their ratings-starved "Friends" spinoff, as it prepares to face the most-talked-about new comedy of the fall -- Chris Rock's "Everybody Hates Chris" -- the producers of "Joey" have given Matt LeBlanc's character an actual friend of color.

Miguel Nunez Jr. has been allowed into the exclusive, all-white "Friends" club, playing an actor who becomes Joey Tribbiani's new . . . well, friend.

"We missed that camaraderie he had with Chandler and Ross. . . . We needed a best friend for him," executive producer Kevin Bright told trade papers, referring to the white guys Joey palled around with on "Friends."

The first season's focus on Joey's family -- specifically, his skanky sister and her smothering and borderline-obsessive relationship with her young-adult son -- were "too narrow," Bright said.

Not to mention creepy.

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