Live From New York Book Excerpt

ROSIE SHUSTER: My dad really mentored Lorne in terms of comedy. Lorne had a partner and did radio shows just like my dad had done, and then did CBC specials just like my dad had done. I saw the whole thing unfold, and felt like Saturday Night Live was so much a part of something that grew from my home. Something about the show came from inside my family. Lorne visited my dad inside his little showbiz pup tent where he shared his wild enthusiasms. Lorne was a very avid, eager sponge for all of it; he heard all of the names of everybody backstage at the Ed Sullivan Show, and all the ins and outs of the movies. My dad grew up watching the Marx Brothers and Chaplin. He was just spellbound by all of that, and he shared that love with me and with Lorne.

LORNE MICHAELS, Executive Producer: I grew up in Canada, where we had all three American networks and later a Canadian network. So I was watching CBS and ABC when I was eight or nine, and grew up on the same television that everybody else grew up with. I saw the same kind of movies, but my grandparents owned a movie house and my mother worked in it and my uncle had been a projectionist - the Playhouse on College Street. My mother, who died in 2001, could still play music from the silent movies, from the sheet music the movie companies sent around. My maternal grandmother, who was an enormous influence on me, and my aunts and uncles and my mother of course, all talked about movies and show business in whatever form, and books. That was all a part of my growing up. I don't think I ever thought that's what I'd be doing with my life, although when I was at my peak seriousness, at twentytwo or twenty-three, I thought I'd be a movie director. In 1972 I had presented this pilot to the CBC. They said they were thinking about it, but the head of the CBC- whose name I am clearly blocking - said to me one afternoon when I was talking passionately about why this show would be a breakthrough show, he said, "If you're that funny, why are you here?" And I thought, "Oh my God, it's that Canadian thing of 'If you're good, you go to America.'"

SANDY WERNICK, Agent: When I met Lorne, he was in Canada, producing and starring in The Hart and Lorne Hour with his partner, Hart Pomerantz. I remember when I met him that I didn't think he was that good. The other guy was the funny one, you know, which is typical in our industry. But I remember being impressed with the meeting. I had never met anybody who had a gift of gab like Lorne. He would just mesmerize me with what he was talking about. If you talked about comedy, all of a sudden he would just light up and turn on. I remember introducing him to Bernie because I knew that would be a marriage.

BERNIE BRILLSTEIN, Manager: I met him when he was working on Laugh-In with his partner, who wound up going back to Canada. We were doing the Burns and Schreiber summer show with Jack Burns and Avery Schreiber, and there was a spot for a writer. Sandy Wernick from ICM told me Lorne was available. I said to bring him in to fill the last slot. And I fell in love with him. He wanted to know about old show business, and he had done a short film, The Hockey Puck Crisis, which was great: Hockey pucks grew on trees, and there was a blizzard that destroyed the crop, so they couldn't play hockey in Canada that year. Being a hockey fan and a comedy fan, I thought it was hysterical.

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