After abandoning it years ago, I re-picked up Live from New York, the oral history of one of my favorite shows, Saturday Night Live.
I had stopped reading it when the book moved into the years Lorne Michaels wasn’t producing because I had a hard time mustering any level of care. Actually, the whole book up to that point had been difficult to stay in to because, as my age more than anything reflects, I didn’t find the early years of SNL that funny.
I’m almost finished. I’ve moved into the Fey/Fallon update years.
I really like the format. The books is basically a huge collection of interviews from folks that worked on SNL: performers, writers, hosts, producers, and even some NBC executives. I just wished the editors would have left more on the floor. I’ve read too many people say nearly the same thing about working at SNL, too many times.
“It’s the worse place to work ever, but I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”
Nearly everyone in the book says something like that at some point. We get it. It’s a magical place and it’s very hard to work there.
Also, one of the things I hated about Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Aaron Sorking’s post West Wing flop based on a late and live comedy show, was how self important all the characters were about thier show. They believed, without one wink or nod to the audience, that they were the most important show on television, perhaps ever on television. No other show influenced politics or American thought more than Studio 60.
Well, now I can see where Aaron Sorkin picked up that premise. Lorne Michaels believes the same about SNL and so do many of the writers and producers that worked on it as well. I’m not denying that SNL has had influence on the public and perhaps even politics. But it ain’t as much as they think. The “controversies” described in the book are made to sound like they were front page stories that the entire country was gabbing about, instead of the (likely) two columns they got in Variety.
I’ll give it a B-, but if your not an SNL fan, a C.