Live From New York Book Excerpt

LORNE MICHAELS: Bernie's a larger-than-life character. He was also an antidote, because I was deadly serious about everything I was doing in those days. Bernie had the gambler's love of the sheer larceny of it, whether it was Hee Haw or whatever, it didn't seem to matter. He knew the good stuff from the bad stuff, but it didn't stop him from dealing with either - whereas I thought if I was involved with anything bad, it would destroy my life.

ROSIE SHUSTER: I had done television shows with Lorne in Toronto and in Los Angeles. On one of Lily Tomlin's specials we did "Arresting Fat People in Beverly Hills" together. Bernie Brillstein played one of the fat people. Vertical stripes, you know, only vertical stripes. It got nominated for an Emmy.

LILY TOMLIN, Host: Lorne was used to being a star back in Canada. We were quite close at that time. When Lorne worked with me on my specials, he would spend too much time editing and be too fanatical about everything. Jane Wagner would say, "You're going too far and you're spending too much money and the show needs to be rougher." Lorne and I would get into the editing room and get too perfectionistic, you know. I must say I think some illegal substances had something to do with it.

ROBERT KLEIN, Host: I remember before there was any Saturday Night Live, an actually humble Lorne Michaels used to come to the office of my manager, Jack Rollins. Lorne was a kid from Canada married to Rosie Shuster, who was the daughter of Frank Shuster of Wayne and Shuster, the duo that used to be extremely unfunny on the Sullivan show years ago. Lorne was looking for some work, and Jack was very helpful to him.

TOM SCHILLER, Writer: My father, Bob Schiller, was working on this show called The Beautiful Phyllis Diller Show in 1968, and he said there was a junior writer on the show that he'd love me to meet. And I said, "Why?" And he said, "Well, he knows all of the best restaurants in L.A." So one day Lorne comes over wearing a Hawaiian shirt. He seemed like a nice enough guy - a little nebbish, you know. What struck me though was that after my dad introduced me, Lorne lit up a joint right there in the house. I was scared?but I was impressed too, that he had the boldness to do that. We sort of became friends and I started hanging out with him at the Chateau Marmont.

DICK EBERSOL, NBC Executive: In the spring of 1974, I was approached by NBC to come over there and essentially run their sports department. At that time, I was Roone Arledge's assistant at ABC. I said no. I think they were like in shock; how could somebody who was twenty-seven turn that down? But I felt they didn't take sports seriously, that they wouldn't put real resources into it, and besides, I didn't want to compete against the best person who'd ever done it before or since: Roone.

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