James A. Miller and Tom Shales – Live From New York (2002)

LiveFromNewYork600 pages later and I finally finished this oral history of Saturday Night Live. The entire book is just stories and interviews with people involved with the show from its inception in 1985 to 2002. While I was reading I flagged my favourite parts, so I thought I would share them here.

  1. Chevy Chase speaking with 20/20 hindsight. He is quite remorseful over his inability to get along with John Belushi, and more generally for being an ass.
  2. Everyone talking about Gilda. How sweet and wonderful and funny she was, and how terribly tragic he death seemed. Of course a number of Saturday Night Live Stars have lost their lives prematurely, like John Belushi, but the interviews about Gilda nearly brought me to tears, especially Bill Murray’s and Steve Martin’s.
  3. The process undertaken to hire Eddie Murphy. How much of a stir it caused, how talented and undervalued he was, and how upset everyone was when he left the show. At the 40th anniversary show it was nice to see him come back.
  4. Dan Akroyd talking about John Belushi – “I had eight ears with John, and we had a ball every second. I mean, we had our disagreements, naturally, but we sure made each other laugh. In any group you’re going to have people who precede the others. I just hope he’s waiting for me on the other side. I’m sure he will be.”
  5. Larry David wrote for SNL and none of his sketches made it on to the show. They did however, become future episodes of Seinfeld.
  6. Tina Fey, Amy Poheler, and Jimmy Fallon talking about just starting out on the show and their hopes and dreams for the future. We’re in that future now and with 30 Rock ended, Parks and Recreation ending, and Jimmy Fallon’s Late Night Show, its great to know that things panned out for them

There are so many great stories and tales from the show. The ideas behind sketches, the friendships that were made and broken, the best and worst hosts. It’s revealing and funny, and while long, totally worth the ride.

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