''I'm naturally pretty cutting,'' David Spade says with typical understatement. He uses that biting wit as a power-mad assistant in NBC's Just Shoot Me. But the Tommy Boy costar hasn't given up on movies: In April's comedy Eight Heads in a Duffel Bag, he plays a med student taken hostage by mobster Joe Pesci (''We're gonna get the guys from ILM in to make it look like I'm still in my mid-20s,'' quips Spade, 31). Over breakfast at a Manhattan diner, the Now Ready for Prime Time Player discussed life after SNL:
Why did you take a smaller role instead of starring in your own sitcom?
I didn't want the heat. Even if it's good, I don't really want it. It's worse if it does marginally well, and it's like Step by Step you're a millionaire, but no one even knows it's on.
What was it like doing SNL again recently?
It was kinda fun, because SNL has gotten a better rap this year, and ratings-wise it's doing all right. When I was there, we got stomped by a Barry Goldwater roast on C-SPAN. That doesn't look good in the trades.
Why do you do Letterman more than Leno?
I just have more of a Letterman sensibility. Last time I was on Leno, I told this dry story about going to London and I just got stared at. And in the commercial, Leno goes, ''Don't worry we're going to cut that out in editing.'' I don't think that's ever happened!
Is Eddie Murphy still mad at you for dissing him in SNL's Hollywood Minute (''Look, kids, a falling star'')?
Chris Rock told me, ''Spade, Eddie's got his biggest movie in 10 years, a beautiful wife, and he still can't shake the fact that you took a swipe at him.'' I said, ''Tell him three words that'll change his life: Let it go.''
Will you ever do another movie with Chris Farley?
I'd like to. He's like, ''Dude, you said you'd never do another movie with me.'' Which I did, because we were just so sick of each other. And I go: ''Well, Chris, you're like surgery. I don't like it at the time, but then later I'm happy, because I have a new nose.''
What's the biggest difference between doing SNL and a sitcom?
I have to memorize lines, which I've never had to do before. Like, a whole script! On movies, I can just learn my lines day by day, and I still can't do it. That's my biggest drawback aside from being talentless.