Live From New York Book Excerpt-

LORNE MICHAELS: I resigned in preproduction over Richard Pryor in December. It was like an absolute "you can't have him" from the network. And I said, "I can't do a contemporary comedy show without Richard Pryor." And so I walked off. There was a lot of me walking off in those days. Richard did wind up hosting, of course. But he wouldn't come into the office until we started rehearsing, so I brought John over to his hotel to see him. John had done his Toshiro Mifune for his audition, and he did it for Richard, who thought it was funny. Richard wanted to do it on the show, and so we wrote "Samurai Hotel."

CANDICE BERGEN: I remember the terror. You know, the total exhilaration of it. I just didn't know you could have that much fun after thirty. It was like the inmates taking over the asylum. Totally. On the Christmas show, we did a skating routine, a sort of Sonja Henie Bee-Capades skating routine. We went down to shoot the Bee- Capades after Rockefeller Center had closed, after the rink had closed, so we were in the elevators at midnight and I was dressed in a red velvet skating outfit with an ermine muff and then Belushi and Aykroyd and Chevy and everybody were dressed like bees. And the elevator operators, who still, after two months of the show, didn't know how to deal with it, just never looked at any of us, never said a word. I think it was like that for a long time. You just couldn't understand how they took control of a place like NBC.

LORNE MICHAELS: The Candy Bergen Christmas show was not as good as the other Candy show, so I went into a tailspin. Chevy and I and Michael went into the office and worked over the holidays, and that's when we wrote the Elliott Gould show, which later won the Emmy for writing that first season. We wrote a sketch where the Godfather goes to the shrink, and we were in a "let's just blow it out" state of mind. By that point, I'd hit stride, we all had, and everyone was focused. The Gould show was our first big show which wasn't about the host. Gould was just a big goofy guy who'd been in M*A*S*H.

ELLIOTT GOULD, Host: The first show I ever hosted was a very good show. One of the sketches was written by Michael O'Donoghue. It was a psycho group therapy session, with Belushi as the Godfather in it. I heard it replayed on the radio recently and it was so funny, it even worked on radio. Laraine Newman being in group therapy with Vito Corleone. I was the psychiatrist. My contribution was that I smoked a pipe. At this point I don't think I would, but then I needed a prop. Also I think it was the first show that I was the head of the Killer Bees, which was very, very funny. Through the show there was a thread where Gilda Radner had a crush on me and at the end of this first show that I did, we married; Gilda Radner and I had a wedding ceremony, and Madeline Kahn's mother was cast as Gilda's mother and Michael O'Donoghue married us at the end of the show. And that was the representative show they submitted, and it won them their first Emmy. I was really pleased to be a part of it.

BUCK HENRY, Host: On the first show I hosted, I made a suggestion for an ending for a sketch, because I came up in the school that says you end a sketch with an ending. And I heard one of the writers behind me say to the others, "Hmm, 1945." And I nodded inwardly. "I see. I get it." It was considered really corny to go for a joke. They thought somehow it was like Carol Burnett.

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