Live From New York Book Excerpt

DAVE WILSON: I first met with Lorne up on seventeen in his office, back in the days when he was wearing a T-shirt that said "Dracula Sucks" and jeans and a ponytail. I was there in my interview suit. I remember coming home from the interview and telling my wife, "Well, I guess I didn't get that job," because Lorne kept saying things like, "This is a young person's medium" and "I'm going to go off in a new direction." Luckily, by happenstance he also said, "For example, our first host is going to be George Carlin. Do you think you and he could understand each other?"

What he didn't know, and what I wasn't even sure that George would remember, is that George and I went to camp together as kids. So I said, "Of course, George Carlin and I are old friends - old, old friends, from when we were like little kids." And he said, "I'm going out to the coast to meet with him, I'll say hello for you." I kept praying, "I hope George Carlin remembers me after this whole thing." Turns out he did, and Lorne, I guess, was sort of impressed by that. Then I went for a second interview and got the job.

DICK EBERSOL: We were walking through the rain one night after dinner, sort of going from awning to awning, and Chevy ran ahead. A couple hundred feet away, he goes into a pothole, does a complete ass over teakettle into this immense pothole, and comes out of this thing just soaked. And he walks back and he and Lorne look at me and say, "Now how could you say no to somebody who was crazy enough to do that?" So Chevy became a cast member. And he ended up with a magnificent loophole, since he already had a signed one-year contract as head writer. From the time the show launched, every time the performer contract was put in front of him, it never got signed.

BERNIE BRILLSTEIN: I had to call Gilda Radner in Vancouver and urge her not to do the David Steinberg show, a syndicated show. It was an offer she'd been considering. I had never met Gilda. That's how I got to know her - over the phone. I made her laugh, you know. Lorne, of course, wouldn't make the call himself, so I had to do it. Even then, there was no direct route. Why it's that way with him I don't know. Fear of rejection, I guess. And clean hands - you know, it's like, "I have nothing to do with it."

DICK EBERSOL: Late April, early May, Lorne started laying out the cast. One day he's got this really bizarre guy with smoked glasses, Michael O'Donoghue, and I'm thinking, "Oh God, what have we gotten into here?" And then one day he told me, "This girl is the funniest thing and just a super human being, you're going to be crazy about her," because I had okay over these people. So this thin young woman shows up with a kid who says hello and excuses himself. But the woman is Gilda. And here I am talking to this young comedic actress, and I'm absolutely mesmerized by her. So she's the first person signed to do the show after Lorne.

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