Live From New York Book Excerpt

DAN AYKROYD, Cast Member: I went through so many auditions. Live auditions, tape auditions. After the first one, I thought, "I'm not going to get hired," and I ended up driving across country with John Candy to do Second City in Pasadena. We went from Toronto to L.A. in thirty-eight hours in a big old Mercury Cougar with me and him switching off driving. And then we got to Pasadena and I started my first week of rehearsals and Lorne called and said, "Well, come back out." So at my own expense, I got on a f------ plane, flew back to New York, and had this other series of tape auditions. I think I did like newscaster guy, announcer guy type of thing, and if anything got me on the show it was that type of fast-rap announcer, the Ron Popeil sort of thing.

There was one audition in the summer, a live thing, a cattle call. I came down with a friend from Toronto. We had a song prepared, but then I saw all the people lined up, waiting outside in the hall there. There were a hundred people waiting to get in, and I was at the end of the line. And I thought, "Boy, it's three o'clock now, it's going to be seven o'clock at night when we get on. This song ain't going to go over too well."

So I just kind of cut through the line and busted into the room- because I knew Lorne from Canada - and walked up. "Hey, how are you boss, what're you doing, nice to see you." I said, "Well, I'm here," and I did a sort of quick five-minute kind of fast rap and then got out of there. And I think they were impressed. After that audition, it was clear I had the job. I went home to Canada, got my motorcycle, and drove down into the city for the first season in '75. I had just turned twenty-three.

PAUL SHAFFER: Gilda and I had both worked on the National Lampoon Radio Hour here in New York, so we became friendly with John Belushi and Doug Kenney and this cast of characters associated with the Lampoon. I remember Gilda was trying to get Belushi hired for Saturday Night Live. A lot of people were telling Lorne he had to hire Belushi. And I remember seeing Gilda with Belushi one day, and she said, "We're sitting shiva because Lorne won't hire John."

CHEVY CHASE, Cast Member: In fact, Belushi was an afterthought. I mean, he had told Lorne at some point that he was not enchanted with TV per se and he didn't want to do TV. And Lorne didn't particularly care if he saw him or didn't see him. Then John did an audition and Lorne said, "Well, he's funny, and we could use somebody who looks like him."

DAN AYKROYD: Lorne was concerned that Belushi and I would be a duo that would give him a lot of trouble. He thought, "Oh, get these guys together and their strength will be my weakness, because they'll be rebels." And you know, in a way, he was right. Certainly there was an energy around us.

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