I've been reading all of the SNL biographies I can find...
And the one underlying theme is that Lorne Michaels is a total dick. Lots of drugs and pressure but Lorne Michaels seems to enjoy destroying people, stealing what's theirs and then kicking them in the cunt. Yet he still gets his ass kissed.
He's the model for Dr Evil and the horrible head of the drug company in Brain Candy.
I'm currently reading Tom Shales' Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live and that certainly seems to be a theme. Was surprised that Harry Shearer was also a total dick according to several people. Also Chevy Chase, but that was no surprise.
Don't forget Wired: The Short Life and Fast Times of John Belushi by Bob Woodward.
I loved Mark McKinney's version of him in "Brain Candy." Clip at link.
Lorne Michaels owns everything that appears on the show so he gets a big piece of all of the film profits. This is why Mike Myers created brand new characters for his post Wayne's World movies--to keep Michaels' greedy paws off of the cash.
The Tom Shales book is excellent.
He's a piece of shit. There are actors and writers who made him a millionaire many, many, many times over who lost their homes and are in debt b/c that tightwad won't help out. His little affected voice and starfucking are annoying. He's lucky. That's all.
Of course, I doubt SNL would have any ratings in a different time slot. What a joke! 1030pm Satursday. Loren M. is a lucky, smug SOB.
Chevy Chase has *always* been like that. No one knows why -- his dad (Ned Chase, big book publisher) was a class act, a gentleman.
r8 -- that's how the show has survived. As long as he kept salaries low (double scale, I think?)NBC got the same steady profit margin as if they'd done series re-runs but got copyright ownership of 36 years of programming. Only real expense would be music rights.
It still astounds me how little most of the writers and performers are paid, or were, especially in the early years. I think they got like $750 an episode.
Oh, I forgot, the other major asshole in the Shales book, Joe Piscopo. What a deluded douche.
Wasn't that book called "Live From New York"?
That was a fascinating read.
Lorne comes across as a lucky dick.
One thing that always bugs me is the over praise for Jonh Belushi. I think he was an unfunny asshole. I watched his audition on YouTube to see what I was missing. He was coked out of his mind and not funny. Did a wretched Marlon Brando.
I didn't realize he's also one of the producers of Portlandia. So, he gets a cut of anything even remotely related to SNL, right?
I don't think he came off as an asshole in the Shales book. I think he came off as a star-fkking "Daddy" figure whom everyone longed to please. But there are many anecdotes in the book about Lorne trying to help struggling performers, getting them into rehab, etc. He just seems like a spoiled, pompous, lucky person. But not an asshole.
Chevy Chase was abused by his mother and stepfather, which I think explains (some of) his jerkiness. This per a Bio special on him.
The other person who comes off as a flaming jerk was Nora Dunn.
Jane Curtin seemed like the only stable one from that 1970s crew. Maybe Dan Ackroyd, too.
Jan Hooks, whom I loved on the show, comes across as a super-cunt. Even the crazy Christian woman with the baby voice comes across better.
[quote]there are many anecdotes in the book about Lorne trying to help struggling performers, getting them into rehab, etc.
He wouldn't help John Belushi -- Jane Curtin begged Lorne to get some help for the increasingly drug addled Belushi, but it got to the point that every time Lorne saw Jane, he would just run away.
But bullies usually prove to be wussies.
[R16] - details on Jan Hooks please.
[quote]details on Jan Hooks please
I'm not R16, but in the Shales book she openly says she just did not "get" Victoria Jackson because 1) she hates it when women use that little 'baby girl' voice and 2) she's a right-wing fundamentalist loon.
I haven't finished the book though so maybe there's more. But from the above, I totally agree with her.
Nora Dunn came across as a stuck-up prima donna bitch who claimed to have a "special relationship" with Lorne M. so figured she could get away with anything. When the Andrew Dice Clay thing happened, she sent out a press release that she wouldn't perform without even giving a heads up to anyone involved with the show, catching them all off guard. Whether or not she was justified in boycotting the show (I really don't blame her), she was completely unprofessional in how she handled it.
Kill the show; it's been running on fumes for years.
I noticed that, too, R16. I can't stand Victoria jackson's politics now, but she talks about what cunts Nora Dunn and Jan Hooks were. And wasn't Nora Dunn boffing Lorne?
I've heard the Dice incident is what lead to Nora leaving. Lorne didn't like the one-upsmanship. And the affair didn't help matters.
Hooks was a prima donna with a major drug problem. Jackson is a dim bulb but was able to get along with most of the cast and be somewhat likeable. Everyone pretty much hated Nora and Jan Hooks with a passion.
I always wanted to know how she got along with the others on DESIGNING WOMEN. Julia Duffy refuses to discuss her time on the show.
I've read the Shales book and "Wired" and the other SNL history book from the 80's. I always got the impression that Michael's greatest talent was his people skills. There's an anecdote in one of the books about how even before SNL was on the air that someone went to Michaels apartment in NY and Mick Jagger was napping on the couch. He's always aligned himself with powerful or talented people. I imagine if you knew him in high school that he ran with the popular crowd and was a teacher favorite.
He partnered with Dick Ebersole, who was an emerging big shot at NBC at the time, to get SNL on the air to begin with. Even then it only got on because Carson was annoyed that they were dumping his reruns in that time slot.
Michaels is a bit like Don Draper. He knows who is important and that's who he does business with and he speaks their language. Like Draper he's built up his own mythology. He is someone who was going to be successfull in whatever he put his mind to.
I don't remember everyone hating Hooks. I do remember that everyone loved Phil Hartman.
Mel Brooks tells a story on himself that when his son Max Brooks was hired as a writer on SNL, Lorne walked up to Mel at some event and said how happy he was to have Max on the show. Mel didn't know Lorne and asked him who he was!
Didn't Jane Curtin say on the last season of Oprah how Belushi would sabatoge the womens skits, etc because he just didn't think women were funny?
The Sweeney Sisters duets were hysterical and I liked that cast with Jan Hooks. I liked Adam Sandler especially when they put him in a tight speedo. Does Lorne's Canuck dick swing both ways? I thought he was checking me out at the Candace Bergen-Cher taping back in the 80s.
skater slut chillin' at the rink
If you're into SNL bios, I can recommend Tom Davis' Thirty-Nine Years of Short Term Memory Loss. It's really good. Damn, it makes me want Al Franken to run for president.
does he say nice things about Al Franken?
Anyone remember Franken & Davis on SNL? They were funny.
R26: Belushi refused to do anything written by a woman. He was an asshole to all the women except Gilda, whom the fat disgusting slob had a crush on.
Victoria Jackson is a tool, but she was pretty gracious about Jan Hooks in the book. She said that she thought that Jan was amazingly talented and great in everything she did but that Jan hated her guts.
Apparently, Jan Hooks and Nora Dunne were very difficult to work with, even with each other. They hated doing the Sweeney Sisters because it took so much rehearsal to get the songs right.
At a cast meeting, Victoria Jackson stood up and said, "Everyone knows why things are so tense on the set right now. THOSE TWO!" And she pointed at Jan and Nora, who left the room.
When they were gone, she said, "Thanks for supporting me!" to the rest of the cast.
Dana Carvey replied, "You didn't hear anyone say you were wrong did you?"
You had to be aggressive to get sketch time on the show. When male cast members did if, they were considered alpha dogs. When female cast members did it, they were considered to be bitches.
[quote]When female cast members did it, they were considered to be bitches.
This may be true in general, but Nora and Jan come across as the genuine article.
The same things aren't said about the other female cast members.
But, you know, does it not reek of the Victoria we know of today to yell, point and walk out of the room?
I don't blame Jan Hooks for hating her guts.
Is there any word on how Chevy gets along with the COMMUNITY cast? I get the feeling everyone else just sort of tolerates and ignores him. It must kill him to be relegated to second banana status on a sitcom.
I'm curious as to why Lorne is a producer of both 30 Rock and Portlandia. In a "Making Of" special on Portlandia, it sounds like Fred and Carrie's indie sketch videos (Thunderant) were popular enough to get the IFC deal on their own, that they didn't need a powerful producer behind them.
Maybe Fred suggested that Lorne get on board? Or could a Lorne production credit on other shows be part of his contracts with Fey (30 Rock) and Fred?
Jan Hooks was one of my favorite things about that SNL era along with Hartman.
Looking back on it now though, I wonder how everyone got along politically with right-wingers like Victoria Jackson and Dennis Miller going up against Al Franken.
BTW, why don't Franken and Davis talk any more?
r26 and r30 -- Tina Fey said Norm McDonald was the same way.
Isn't part of the SNL performers' deal (Like "American Idol" and Simon Cowell") that they have to agree to an exclusive deal with Michaels? I think I read Fey went bat##$% when she heard about the hour-long "Studio H-something" series Michaels had developed and insisted he do "30 Rock." Notice which one survived and succeeded.
Apparently most people think he's a prick.
The Tom Davis book is good. He was a total acid head and friends with Jerry Garcia and Timothy Leary. Tim told racist jokes which was disturbing to me.
Al Franken is a great guy, very loyal, not weasely, tells the truth. Once, when the Rolling Stones were musical guest and the tix were the hottest commodity out there, Henry Kissinger's secretary called up to get Henry's kid tickets. Al Franken got on the phone and said "Too bad about the Christmas bombings over Vietnam" and hung up on the secretary. This is the ONLY time I've ever heard of anyone calling him out to his face.
John Belushi was a piece of shit and I think the only reason Lorne tried to get help for others was that he was afraid of lawsuits. He's like Jennifer Anniston said, "Missing a sensitivity chip."
NBC won't dare cancel SNL. It's one of NBC few hits and NBC has nothing to replace it with. Besides, SNL is what passes these days for "cutting political satire."
[quote]SNL is what passes these days for "cutting political satire."
Jon Stewart and his dozens of emmys
Early in the show, Lorne was not in a position to scold the cast about drug use.
After all, that was where he was getting his coke from.
Wasn't Candi Slice modeled on Patti Smith?
"Saturday Night: A Backstage History of SNL" by Doug Hill & Jeff Weingrad is kind of a blowjob to Lorne. Some fascinating stories and a must-read for fans of the show, but the authors seem to take glee in the downfall of the show after Lorne left in 1980 and gloss over his failures in Hollywood. Sadly, it only covers the show up until about 1985-86.
The Tom Shales book is good but the anecdotal format left me wanting more. Too often you'd want more background or insight into what the person was talking about.
[quote]Al Franken got on the phone and said "Too bad about the Christmas bombings over Vietnam" and hung up on the secretary. This is the ONLY time I've ever heard of anyone calling him out to his face.
Except that Franken didn't say it to Kissinger's face, he said it to Kissinger's secretary on the phone.
r24, I don't remember that either.
I do remember a couple of the guys going out of their way to praise her as being a professional.
R33, Victoria didn't walk out of the room. Nora Dunn and Jan Hooks did.
[quote]I wonder how everyone got along politically with right-wingers like Victoria Jackson and Dennis Miller going up against Al Franken.
Don't know about Jackson, but Miller was one of those 9/11 conservative converts.
Tina Fey had many good things to say about Lorne. She saw him as a mentor, and obviously it shows that he no longer thinks that women aren't funny.
It sounds like Lorne has mellowed in his old age.
I've seen this show a number of times.
r39, I was just wondering the same thing last night while watching Portlandia on Netflix - even at its absolute worst it's at least "different" in a way that SNL is not usually, and I always chalked SNL's lameness up less to its weekly schedule and more to the heavy hand of an old guy with a lot of power who has totally lost touch with what is funny and interesting.
"He wouldn't help John Belushi -- Jane Curtin begged Lorne to get some help for the increasingly drug addled Belushi, but it got to the point that every time Lorne saw Jane, he would just run away."
What could he have done to help John Belushi? NOBODY could have helped John Belushi. He was a time bomb; for some reason he hated himself, despite being well-liked and loved by many people. He had a hit tv show, a hit album, a hit movie, and he still abused himself out of self-hatred. Why was that? Some people said he always felt inferior because he was a fat, funny-looking guy, but that seems too simple. He must have been manic-depressive or something. It must have been severe mental illness that made him destroy himself.
He never had a "crush" on Gilda. They got along well, and performed well together, but he was never interested in her romantically. As far as I know, the only woman Belushi ever was involved with seriously was his high school girlfriend and later wife Judy Jacklin.
I'm still wondering if they made Jan Hooks look that awful on purpose on "30 Rock" or if that's all her these days.
Belushi in high school was Mr Popular, captain of the football team, theater God. He's the only performer in the history of Second City who bypassed the apprentice stage and started performing right away. He was extremely talented and charismatic and pretty much always had people kissing his ass. When he got famous, people started sucking up to him much worse and giving him free drugs and drinks just to be near him. His ego and his addictions got completely out of control.
[quote]He wouldn't help John Belushi
Finally! Something to be grateful to Lorne Micheals for!
R41, Fey is being disingenuous at best re: MacDonald.
It was well-known and quoted by several alumni that he didn't do sketches generally, not just if women wrote them. He did Weekend Update, and that was it. Occasionally, he'd do something (Celebrity Jeopardy) if he liked it and thought he was good enough. He told writers up front not to write for him. He didn't cut people off at the knees and he didn't kiss anyone's ass. I'd admire him for that even if I thought he was an asshole.
Admittedly, I love him and think Fey is clever- not funny, and totally over-rated.
Part of the problem with him is his dry, Anglo sense of humour. He is like this with everyone, including the cast during rehearsals/writing sessions.
This bit, for example, could easily be taken in a negative way:
He didn't help Belushi because he couldn't. I read Woodward's book and I think he was spot on. Everyone was fucked up on shit in those days; everyone thought they could handle it. The delusions were gone with Belushi.
He did try repeatedly to intervene with Chris Farley, (as did others) but it didn't matter.
Gilda Radner said she was the only person on the planet who cried hysterically in tears while watching her good friend Jane Curtin on Kate & Allie.
Norm MacDonald is funny as hell but I have no problem envisioning him as a cranky-uncle misogynist.
What about Charles Rocket, who was part of the cast during the SNL 80s Malaise era? Does anyone know why he killed himself?
I think Gilda and Belushi had more of a big brother-kid sister kind of relationship. There's a quote from Gilda either in Gilda's book or an old SNL Scrapbook that says, "For John, who can hit me without hurting me and hurt me without hitting me."
I have never read a bad word about Gilda Radner. Everybody who knew her loved her and she just seemed like the nicest person ever. That's one of the many reasons why her untimely death at only 42 was so tragic.
Judging from the Shales book, Lorne wasn't a jerk. He was a Mama's Boy who got lucky. But I don't think he was an asshole. Just kind of a pompous lucky dude.
Belushi actually seemed like a misogynistic ass.
"Gilda Radner said she was the only person on the planet who cried hysterically in tears while watching her good friend Jane Curtin on Kate & Allie."
I don't get it - she cried because she thought it was so shitty that it was sad her friend had to do it?
Tina Fey wasn't being disingenuous. Norm MacDonald has been quoted saying that women can't be funny, and he refused to do "Update" with a female co-anchor when Lorne suggested it, saying he didn't want to share the desk with "some broad." I also remember stories of MacDonald going out of his way to be cruel to female cast members, especially Cheri Oteri.
Norm MacDonald isn't funny. He was sort of cute for two seconds but obviously no personality.
r71, this is Marc Maron's WTF interview with MacDonald.
He explains the reason he turned down the female co-anchor idea. Michaels was pushing the 'she'll be sexy and add chemistry' bullshit (as opposed to her being funny).
It's tl;dr, but that part is about half way through.
As to him being mean to Oteri, he was mean to anyone he thought was talentless or full of shit. Although, I thought Oteri was after his stint.
He also admits to being a general prick when he was younger.
Women like Nora Dunn who are not funny, and only cast because they suck Michaels' dick (literally) or get on due to nepotism like Abby Elliot shut the door for the odd funny woman who auditions.
[quote]He explains the reason he turned down the female co-anchor idea. Michaels was pushing the 'she'll be sexy and add chemistry' bullshit (as opposed to her being funny).
MacDonald has said in past interviews that he doesn't believe women can be funny in the first place, so in that context it seems clear to me that he turned down the idea precisely because he didn't think a female co-anchor could bring anything legit to the table. He also claimed that Jane Curtain (whom he referred to as "that woman") wasn't funny on the original Update, which is bullshit and more evidence that he simply didn't want to work with a woman.
Jane Curtain was funnier than Norm, and she could act/stay in character.
Belushi was raised with real old fashion Old World Albanian views on gender. When Aykroyd first road down from Canada on his Harley to visit, he stopped off to call Belushi at a bar, which happened to be a gay bar. Belushi rushed down in a panic to "rescue" big, beefy Dan in his motorcycle leathers in case there was any misunderstanding.
Belushi was a paradox because although he was very sexist, his wife was a very strong minded woman. Belushi was so enamored of the character comedy writing of SNL's Marilyn Susan Miller he very sheepishly approached her asking to be included more in her sketches.
Yes, I grew up a comedy geek.
[quote]Jane Curtain was funnier than Norm, and she could act/stay in character.
Pretty much anybody, including my middle-aged lesbian aunts whose number one agenda is political correctness and activism, is funnier than Norm.
His "comedy" and/or äcting" consisted of delivering copy monotone, practically like he was reading from a textbook in fifth-grade geography class.
Colin Quinn, from the same school
John Belushi's sister is a famed psychic.
The whole Belushi thing was odd -- BMOC don't usually need comedy -- that was always the realm of the little nerds who developed it as a way to avoid/cope with getting beat up by the Belushis of the world.
Charles Rocket was found dead with his throat slit, and it was ruled a suicide? I've never heard of anyone slitting his own throat.
[quote] Belushi rushed down in a panic to "rescue" big, beefy Dan in his motorcycle leathers in case there was any misunderstanding.
Oh please. Ackroyd used to wear a jacket that said, " I'm a Gay Bikie!"
He wore it during an interview in the 1970s and the interviewer mentioned it.
He's just the producer. The success of the '70's shows were due to the brilliant, offbeat writers like the late Michael O'Donoghue. After he died, the show almost tanked.
Michaels hires comics usually for one good character they do- then he works it to death and casts them aside. It's to their credit that these actors worked hard to create new skits to hang on for dear life (and create several resurgences of popularity for that dinosaur of a show). I bet they all couldn't wait to get outta there.
Michaels had a background in variety tv and he helped invent the format of the show. It took them a few shows to figure out to cut out stand up comedy and cut the music numbers to 2 and to make the news much longer. The format is why the show has lasted so long. If you ever see the dvd of the first season, the seond show is basically a concert with Simon & Garfunkel and Randy Newman and some others. They used that seond week to figure out what worked and what didn't.
[quote]I have never read a bad word about Gilda Radner. Everybody who knew her loved her and she just seemed like the nicest person ever.
There was an anecdote in the Shales book about a new writer (sorry I don't remember who!) who was so intimidated during the first writers' meeting he attended that he literally sat behind a plant so as not to be noticed. Gilda went behind the plant with him and struck up a whispered conversation about how intimidating it was, and he mentioned one of his ideas to her and eventually she came out and pitched it for him, giving him the credit.
She seemed like an incredibly sweet person.
Any word on Laraine Newman? I'll be seeing her perform at SF Sketchfest next month.
I hope she wears a name badge, r84, because otherwise you won't recognize her.
Norm Macdonald also refused to be on the cover of Rolling Stone with Will Ferrell, Oteri, Chris Kattan and Molly Shannon because they weren't in his league or something. On Kattan: I don’t know, but to me he seems gay," Macdonald says. " He claims he’s not, but I’ve never seen, like, a guy who’s not gay seem so gay. I don’t find him funny. What can I say? Never made me laugh."
Macdonald was obsessed with Kattan's sexuality. Last year, Jim Breur taled about MacDonald and Kattan butting heads during a "Twilight Zone"-themed sketch with Pamela Anderson:
"During the rehearsal all week, and into the dress rehearsal Saturday night, Chris was riding Norm about not doing the proper Rod Sterling voice ... Just as everyone in the sketch was trying to concentrate, Norm finally spoke up, unleashing a brutal tirade. 'Hey, ah, Chris, Pamela knows you're gay!' he yelled. 'We all know you're gay. So why don't you just come out of the closet and then you wouldn't be such an angry little gay guy. Christ, you're always in everyone's business! Stop hitting on chicks!' As soon as he finished, we all immediately heard, 'Action!'"
Wow, the SNL set sounds like a miserable battle zone. I worked production on MadTV from 1998-2002 and it was a complete 180. The cast got along great, real camaraderie and no weird antics. Maybe because everything was taped and not done live so there was less tress in that respect. But still, no outright hostility.
R83, that writer was Alan Zweibel, who comes across as a kind of sweet sadsack in the Shales book. As I recall, he was well in his twenties, living with his parents, and driving Billy Crystal or someone all over town to open night mikes at comedy clubs. Zweibel wanted a career in comedy too, but also dreamed of a wife and kids.
He wrote about his relationship with Gilda in a book called BUNNY BUNNY. They remained very good platonic friends for life and he eventually did find a wife and have the family he always wanted.
He's right about Kattan. Fakest straight guy since Clay Aiken.
Zweibel tells a funny story about Milton Berle hosting. Berle knew that Zweibel was a joker writer for older comics in the Catskills. He decided that Zweibel would be his go between for Lorne Michaels - "Tell Lorne I want to do this, Tell Lorne I want to do that". Zweibel tried his best to humor him.
Becuase he was friends with Radner they shared a very small office together. Zweibel was in there with Uncle Milty and for some reason he made reference to Berle's famously large penis. Berle immdeiately said, "Want to see it?" and started whipping it out. He laid it out on the office desk and according Zweibel it was a freakish anaconda. Just when he was trying to figure out what to say Radner suddenly walked in and said, "Excuse me," and turned around and left.
I think Jane Curtin said in the Shales book that caught Belushi stealing money out of her purse.
It's been a few years since I read the book, but didn't Bill Murray almost beat the shit out of Chevy Chase when he guest hosted because of how ugly he was to the cast, then said something to Jane that caused Murray to snap.
Jane was married and living in Connecticut and didn't party or do drugs. I think some in the cast didn't connect with her because she had a normal life outside of work.
Laraine Newman came off nice, but extremely insecure.
Jennifer Coolidge has talked about how she used to "date" Chris Kattan and - without saying the word - makes it very clear he's gay.
Jon Lovitz seems to be another one who can't figure it out.
Hasn't Jon Lovitz been married to his high school sweetheart for 30 years?
I read the Shales book. My takeaways, for those interested:
Chevy Chase was an arrogant, abusive jerk who got drunk on his own fame.
John Belushi was mercurial, lovable, jerkish, loyal, talented, and sexist.
Dan Ackroyd seemed nice enough.
Lorne Michaels was a pompous spoiled boy who liked to associate with other big names and gave the girls a Daddy Complex.
Alan Zweibel was, as another poster said, a kind-hearted sad sack. And in love with Gilda. And funny as hell.
I love Gilda Radner's comedy, but she came off as that girl in high school who had all the boys wrapped around her finger yet still cried to her ugly, single friend that she couldn't get a date on a Friday night.
Jane Curtin seemed normal and together.
Garret Morris was kind of a non-entity.
Laraine Newman was a sourpuss who did too much heroin.
Nora Dunn was a meanie.
Michael O'Donoghue was a genius who could also be a cutting jerk. The guy who sat in the back of the classroom and made horrible, true digs about the teacher, and maybe drove the teacher to suicide with his offhand truisms.
Phil Hartman seemed incredibly nice and beloved. Why, oh why, did he hook up with that insane coke addict wife?
Chris Rock was down to earth and funny.
Adam Sandler was a frat guy who got lucky. Same for his writing partner, Herlihy.
Conan O'Brien seemed very on-point, yet above-it-all in a Harvard way.
Chris Farley was a sweet hot mess.
Marilyn Suzanne Miller seemed spoiled. Same with Rosie Schuster.
Jean Doumanian was in over her head and relied on Woody Allen for everything.
Dana Carvey seemed wimpy but like a nice guy.
Billy Crystal was a talented guy but seemed to suffer from only child syndrome. Pouted like a child when axed from SNL. Then credited himself with reviving the show in the 1980s. However, in fairness, he probably did.
Dick Ebersol was clueless and a party boy.
Harry Shearer was universally derided by everyone interviewed as a cold, bizarre asshat.
I'll try to think of more.
You forgot that Bill Murray has the best line in the book, where he's fighting with Chevy Chase, looks at him and says - 'medium talent.'
I've used that line so many times ...
I thought John Lovitz and Janice Dickenson dated. Am I wrong there?
Can you imagine Belushi's career if he'd lived? Pretty grim. It might have spared us Jim tho.
[quote]I thought John Lovitz and Janice Dickenson dated. Am I wrong there?
She claimed he was the best lover she ever had.
R79, I've known two (both lived, and were later grateful to have been saved, but they were genuine, almost-successful attempts).
Charles Rocket came off as a dick in that Jeff Weingrad book. He totally aligned himself with Jean Doumian and didn't himself any favors. wasn't nice to anyone either.
My dad went to high school with Jane Curtin. At a certain point during the run of the show, my parents had dinner with her and her husband while they were all visiting family in Massachusetts.
Nothing earth shattering to report, except that it's true she stayed out of the party scene. My parents didn't want to pester her with questions, but Jane did imply that she thought John Belushi was a jerk.
And she said nice things about Bill Murray's talent. He was relatively new to the show at the time.
Mostly, she said working on the show was hard work.
Eddie Murphy, arguably the greatest star to emerge from SNL, will have nothing to do with the program. He was the only former cast member still alive who would not take part in Shales' history book.
In the early '80's an HBO production staffer named Micki was in an editing booth with producer Iris Dugow, who punched/slapped her. Nothing was ever done to Dugow (that's HBO's corporate culture.) Several years later then-HBO staffer Risa Bramon called Bill Murray asking for permission to use a clip of his in a show. He cursed her out and told her if anyone from HBO (up to and including Michael Fuchs) ever asked him for anything again, they'd be very sorry.Turns out Murray married Micki. BTW, Fuchs is a friend of Michaels'.
r96, I remember that. Priceless.
I also remember people complaining about the amazing work that went into the bin because the popular characters were driven into the ground.
A lot of innovative stuff was written by people who ended up in the popular sketches as bit players, and that's how they were known, which is sad.
I'd love to have been the janitor and picked through the trash bin (metaphorically speaking, of course, with all the straight males it was gross).
R104, I don't blame him. He does have an ego, but to a large extent, he's earned it. He doesn't get the credit he deserved that lesser white talents (like Will Ferrell) have gotten for their work.
I know he's been in paycheque shit, but no one will write anything decent for him, either. I'd take the money, too.
Eddie Murphy has always said that he owes his success to Dick Ebersol and not Lorne Michaels. He is right on that account as Michaels had nothing to do with the years he was on.
Murphy guest hosted once during the last Ebersol produced season, but has refused numerous times since Michaels came back.
It's amazing to me how unfunny MOST of the alumni of SNL are/were.
I could probably list 20 or so people who were funny enough times to be worth it, and that's about it.
I loved Cheri Oteri and really miss her.
The Shales book was published in 2002. Any gossip about SNL since then?
The only former female cast members who returned as host were Julia-Louis Dreyfuss and Tina Fey
It took almost 30 years for that to happen.
Yeah, it seems most women didn't have a good time there. Even "stars" like Molly Shannon were kind of shoved along prematurely.
But then there's this reverence and universal love for Gilda. I know she was funny. But what did she have that made everyone love her so much?
[quote]But what did she have that made everyone love her so much?
A huge heart.
If anyone's interested, Fred Armisten is doing an "ask me anything" interview on Reddit at the moment
[quote]I loved Cheri Oteri and really miss her.
I loved her too.
She's also a fundamentalist Christian.
Molly Shannon is a devout Catholic, as was Chris Farley.
I'm sure there are others (I guess Dana Carvey was Lutheran) but it is strange to me to see religious people with a cynical, worldly sense of humor, who can still retain their faith. Exhibit A - Stephen Colbert.
Exhibit B-Z, people who aren't famous but are still addicted to church.
Stephen Colbert is also a devout Catholic. He was tangentially associated with the show, doing one of the voices for The Ambiguously Gay Duo. He and Steve Carrell worked with Robert Smigel, but I don't think they were ever cast members. They worked on the short lived Dana Carvey show, which was kind of legendary.
I think Stephen Colbert's devout Catholicism is an act. Sure he attends mass an teaches Sunday School. He is also running for president of South Carolina, doesn't know that he is white (because he doesn't see race -- he simply trusts people who tell him he is white), doesn't believe in global warming or evolution.
He gets away with a lot more by being a "devout" Catholic than he could get away with as an agnostic or atheist. He's a smart guy who knows this, so he attends church and teaches Sunday school the same way he says on TV that he doesn't believe in global warming. It's all an act.
I think losing most of his brothers and his father in a plane crash when he was younger probably made Stephen Colbert religious. I look at him as a Thomas Aquinas type.
When Molly Shannon was a kid, she was in a car wreck that killed her mom and her younger sibling.
Molly Shannon is not a devout Catholic.
[quote] I think losing most of his brothers and his father in a plane crash when he was younger
Colbert lost only two of his brothers in the crash. He had 5 more brothers.
Remember when the Jesuits used to be the "cool" Catholics? They could drink and hang out with all kinds of people and have cool jewelry? I think Colbert's a throwback to those days.
The SNL book says that the all-time worst hosts were Louise Lasser (was crawling around on the floor, searching for drugs); Robert Blake (abusive); Tom Arnold (not mean-spirited, but just a jittery disaster); Donald Pleasance (drunk); and Frank Zappa (intentionally bombed his lines).
Oh, he only lost two of his brothers and his dad in a plane crash. Well, then he should man the fuck up.
You forgot Stephen Segall who kept pitching a sketch about a lady getting raped but then she starts to like it. Surprise! He's a cop now.
Also Paris Hilton didn't even ask anyone something as simple as "How are you?" Her first inkling that she was interested in anything other than herself was to ask Jimmy Fallon if Maya Rudolph was "Italian."
I saw Loraine Newman in Celebrity Autobiography this weekend and she was great. It was obvious she's had a lot of work done, but didn't look to freaky. She's a normal weight now, which looks good on her.
Rachel Dratch was there, too and was hilarious as usual. I really enjoyed the show.
Someone told me that when Molly Shannon first came to NY and was a struggling actress that she called the office of AS THE WORLD TURNS, said she was Meg Ryan's cousin (Ryan was one of the stars of the show at the time) and got a reading for a part. She didn't get the part, though.
Bill Murray hit on me years ago in Minneapolis. I didn't know that he was married at the time, and gave him my number when we met (at the airport after he bugged me for a half hour...even though I told him that I preferred women). He is probably 15 years older than me, and called nonstop. He was polite, but so over the top...it was obvious that he would say anything to get laid. I am biracial, and the funny thing is that he hit on a native American friend of mine in LA a year later. I guess he has a thing for exotic looking women.
Is Oteri a right wing nut job like that loser cunt Victoria Jackson?
SNL is running on fumes right now. The only reason it has lasted this long is because it has no competition.
Of the original cast:
*Chevy Chase is from a very wealthy and educated background--his half-sister is a well-known English professor at Cornell. He was the firts one to become famous (because he was handsome, not because he was funny), and his fame went right to his head.
*Belushi was a mess and disliked women. He kept saying "female isn't funny," which insulted all the women (except Gilda, who was so warm).
*Ackroyd was often fucked up with drugs, but was probably the most talented member of the original cast
*Gilda would have been the other most talented--everyone adored her.
*Laraine Newman was the most insecure and did heroin and coke with everyone else 9except Jane) and tried to sleep with most of the men--she was with Ackroyd for a while.
*Garrett Morris had drug problems and as brought in mostly as a token. He was older than everyone else.
*Jane Curtin was treated badly by Belushi, who called her "white bread." She was hired mostly because she was one of the few really pretty women working in comedy, but she turned out to be (as one producer later called her) "the funniest straight woman in the business since Margaret Dumont." She was the only married original cast member and stayed away from all the drug-taking of everyone else.
*Bill Murray had a huge crush on Jane, though since she was married he treated her very chivalrously. When Chevy Chase came back to host, Chase told Curtin something offensive like, "You always wanted to fuck me, didn't you?" (which wasn't true--he wanted to fuck her), and so Murray hauled him off backstage and punched him in the face. Chase was horrified to learn then the rest of the cast actually hated him--he had imagined up until that time they had admired him and that he had been a huge favorite.
The worst host the original cast ever had was actually Milton Berle, who was unfunny and mean to the cast. They loved Madeline Kahn and Candace Bergen (who was such a great sport).
Laraine's sister Tracy wasn't as charismatic, but probably more versatile when it came to creating characters. She co-wrote the coming-out episode of "Ellen" (and created the horrible Jim Belushi sitcom) -- she's probably much better set than Laraine is these days.
Lorne is a zillionaire. He reminds me of a sleazy porn producer, making millions off of the hard work of damaged people. His weird headgames, the "Lornettes", the shitty deals he makes and his relentless starfucking make him so unsavory. And his "accent" makes Madonna and Johnny Depp's voices seem totally unaffected.
Interesting article on the "Lost" SNL cast members
Mimi Kennedy was pretty funny in In The Loop. I can see how she would have fit with the original SNL cast
Mimi got "3 Girls 3" after her lost SNL audition. She starred in the short lived variety series (from Carol Burnett's producers and writers) along with Ellen Foley and Debbie Allen. It was very highly regarded by critics.
Another actor who almost got in during the Martin Short years was soap opera diva Ilene Kristen, famous as Delia from "Ryan's Hope."