Twitter steps up its game yet again.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Monday, October 22, 2012
Some how, some way I found time to finish reading "Live from New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live" and it was a great ride. Hundreds of pages of stories from the people, both behind the scenes and in front of the camera, who made SNL the institution it is today.
Veteran authors Tom Schales and James Andrew Miller clearly did an exhaustive amount of research and hundreds of interviews, and paint a balanced portrait of the shows highs and lows. Interviews including series creator/executive producer Lorne Michaels, producer Marcy Klein (Calvin's daughter), network executives like Don Ohlmeyer and Dick Ebersol all provide great behind the scenes insights, but of course the best stuff comes from the performers and stars that were in the cast, wrote or hosted and it's a venerable laundry list of comedy legends. Quotes and stories from personalities like:
They all give candid tales from politics backstage, on-air controversies, great anecdotes and stories on how characters came about. The only shame is talents like Gilda Radner, Phil Hartman and Chris Farley aren't available to share.
At roughly 700 pages, there's just so much information to get out of the book and I look forward to reading it again because it's certainly something you can find out something new on every time you pick it up.
In all the only two things I didn't like about the book was one, Eddie Murphy refused to do an interview which is too bad because there's basically a whole chapter devoted to his meteoric rise on the show in the early-80's and two, the book only goes up to 2002. It would've been great to have tales about Kristen Wiig, Justin Timberlake, Digital Shorts and the 2008 election.
All-in-all this is a must read for any fan of the show and comedy in general.
- The tales of Belushi and Farley are incredible.
- Nealon might be the most underrated comedian of the last 25 years. Every time he pops up in the book he's gold. Story in the book notes that a fan sent a death threat to Nealon via the mail and called him a "big-headed idiot" so naturally Nealon walked around the office for two weeks asking people "Do I really have a big head?"
- One person was quoted as saying Lorne "likes Irish Catholics a lot". Judging by the list of names above this is true. But who doesn't love Irish Catholics, right? RIGHT?
- It's a three-way race for who comes off as the biggest jerk in the book between Chase, Shearer and Franken (spare me your political opinions and read the book) who all come off as angry and unfunny.
- It's funny, possibly ironic, to hear Oteri say that no one uses drugs on the show anymore, when it's since came out that her once cast mate Darrell Hammond was abusing opiates while on the show.
- Dozens of pages devoted to Michaels, and it's a fascinating character study, although it's too long.
- Kattan mentioning that he constantly has to tell people that he's not gay was a highlight.
- Interesting to read Fallon wasn't sure if Lorne liked him or not and here we are all these years later and Michaels hand picked Fallon to replace O'Brien for the Late Night show.
- Yes, most movies about SNL characters are bad.
- You really get the feeling nobody saw the success of Tina Fey coming, not that people didn't have sterling things to say about her, but people didn't speak of her like she would become the star she has.
- Michaels likes to name drop. A lot.
- Not too much is mentioned of Hartman's murder, which is understandable, but it's very noticeable how they just skate past the issue.
- Ferrell's audition story is hysterical.
Great book, great ride. 8.5/10.