Live From New York Book Excerpt

DICK EBERSOL: Some of the auditions took place in a Steinway rehearsal hall on West Fifty-seventh Street. When we came back over to 30 Rock, even after John's incredible audition, Lorne was really troubled about how one could discipline him. John was always the best person available in New York, bar none. But he always made it perfectly clear that he thought television was s---. Everything about television was s---. And yet he kept showing up for all these meetings and auditions. And Lorne was very worried about it. Finally, on the day the decision was made, the three of us - Michael, Anne Beatts, and I - really argued for John in a big way. And I think Lorne said at the time, the thing that finally turned his mind was I said I would take responsibility for him. I made a vow to Lorne that if he's the nightmare some people think he'll be, I'll take care of him. I'll be the minder of Belushi- which led to some awfully fun stuff for me, including him almost burning my house down. He did the same thing to Lorne's place in New York.

JUDITH BELUSHI: Just before John and I were married, I kicked him out of the house for this or that, and he went and stayed at Lorne's place. He fell asleep with a cigarette going, and the mattress caught on fire. He didn't burn the whole place down, but I'm sure it caused some damage. Lorne called me afterward and said, "Can I send him home now?"

BERNIE BRILLSTEIN: I went down there after the fire, and there were odors I had never smelled before in my life. I mean, it was terrible. I was an old guy. I was used to comedians in tuxedos and ties.

CHEVY CHASE: John was wonderful. He was trouble later on for me. Jesus, oh God, was he trouble.

GARRETT MORRIS, Cast Member: I'd been a licensed schoolteacher, taught two years at PS 71 in New York plus five years at the projects with drug-addicted kids. And you know what, I hadn't worked in like a f------ year and a half. I'd done Cooley High and that was it. I left the school system to go back into a thing called Hallelujah Baby. My license had even expired.

I didn't have a job. I was starving. So Lorne offered me a job. I won't tell you how much it was, but it was good money.

LARAINE NEWMAN, Cast Member: I worked for Lorne the first time on a Lily Tomlin special. He had come to see me when we had just formed the Groundlings and we had our theater over on Oxford and Santa Monica. It was just the armpit of Hollywood, and he came to see the show. I was doing my characters and my monologues. They really were looking for men for the Lily Tomlin special, they didn't need any more women. But they ended up hiring me. And that was just thrilling. I was twenty-two. The following year, Lorne told me he had been approached to do a weekend replacement show for The Tonight Show and said it would be a cross between Monty Python and 60 Minutes. And I thought, "I'd watch that," you know. It was a big break and I thought, "This'll be great."

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