Live From New York Book Excerpt

He takes the phone book of jokes, opens it, reads the first joke, and goes, "Uh huh." And closes it. And he says, "How much money do you need to live?" I said, "Well, I'm making $2.75 an hour at the deli - match it." So he said to tell him more about myself. He figured before he'd commit to that kind of money, he wanted to know what he was buying. I said, well, Woody Allen's my idol, I love Monty Python, and maybe my career will go like Albert Brooks's you know, short films and then bigger ones. "But," I said, "if there's one f------ mime on the show, I'm outta there." And he gives me the job. The joke that I had as the number one joke in this compilation of jokes was, just to show you how long ago this was - because of the reference in it - was that the post office was about to issue a stamp commemorating prostitution in the United States. It's a ten-cent stamp, but if you want to lick it, it's a quarter. We even did it on the show. I remember we were short on jokes. Chevy might have done it. Yeah, I think he did. I think that was my one contribution to the first show, the one that George Carlin hosted.

ROSIE SHUSTER: I read Alan Zweibel's book of one-liners that came to the Marmont and discussed it with Lorne. I remember talking a lot about Chevy as a writer. Marilyn Miller we knew from Lily Tomlin. Anne Beatts and Michael O'Donoghue were celebrities, especially O'Donoghue, who was, you know, the darling of the Lampoon, so they came presold. O'Donoghue had a lot of charisma and he was very dark. He was an exciting character in his subversiveness. Al Franken and Tom Davis were a two-for-one kind of bargain basement. They were just starting and anxious to get into the business - you know, let's give them a tryout. I was definitely in the conversations about all that stuff.

ANNE BEATTS: I truly think you can say that without Michael O'Donoghue, there wouldn't have been a Saturday Night Live, and I think it's important to remember that. I think Lorne would probably be generous enough to acknowledge that. Because I always said Michael was Cardinal Richelieu. He wasn't very good at being the king. He was much better at being either the person plotting revolution or the power behind the throne, telling the king what to do and think. I'm not saying he was manipulating Lorne. It doesn't always have to be about manipulation. It could be about actual helpful guidance.

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