Live From New York Book Excerpt-

NEIL LEVY: When Buck Henry got nicked by the Samurai sword and everybody started wearing Band-Aids, they all bonded. I think it was the same show where Lorne had done that Beatles offer and they got a phone call that John Lennon was over at Paul McCartney's house and they were both coming over. Lorne was thinking, "What are we going to do when they get here?" He had an idea, he said. "How about this, they get here and they want to play a song and I ask them where their guitars are and they say they didn't bring their guitars and I say, 'Oh. Well, then you can't play, because there's a union rule that you have to have your own guitar.'" His whole thing was to have the Beatles there and not let them play. I don't know if he would have gone through with it. But they never made it, because they realized it was too late. Just the fact that they were on their way was good enough. I was sent downstairs in case they showed up, because there was this old security guard who turned away everybody. He couldn't tell a star, he didn't know anybody. It didn't matter who you were. Not all the stars brought their ID. "Don't you know who I am?" "No!" And Lorne finally got him moved to another entranceway. But I had to go down and make sure that he recognized Lennon and McCartney and let them in. So I was waiting there with the security guard at like twelve forty-five.

TOM HANKS, Host: I remember the first time I saw the show. I was working as a bellman in a hotel and got off late and came home. And one of the first things I saw was a parody of a razor blade commercial. Remember the one? It was in the first season, and it showed this cartoon of here's how it works, the triple-header. And they'd be yanking out this hair and doing this very painful thing. And I honestly couldn't figure out what I was looking at. Who would sell such a ridiculous product? And then I saw the first time they were in their bee costumes, and I could not figure what was going on. I just thought, "Wow, okay, we're into the undiscovered country here, if they're doing this kind of stuff on TV."

LORNE MICHAELS: We wanted to redefine comedy the way the Beatles redefined what being a pop star was. That required not pandering, and it also required removing neediness, the need to please. It was like, we're only going to please those people who are like us. The presumption was there were a lot of people like us. And that turned out to be so. In its first weeks, the show looked little like it does today - different even from the episodes that aired mere months later. The repertory players got relatively little time at first, but that grew along with their popularity. Albert Brooks's films didn't turn out as Michaels had hoped, and there were frequent arguments over the fact that they weren't short enough. Brooks was angry - and is still irked to this day - that in its first review of the show, Newsweek gave credit for some of the clever parodies of network shows included in his short film not to him but to the show's writers and performers. In fact, Brooks was working in a virtual vacuum on the other side of the country. He went on to a brilliant career as comic and filmmaker. The Muppets didn't starve either; soon after being dumped, they were signed by England's Lew Grade to star in The Muppet Show, a hugely profitable, globally syndicated half hour that made Jim Henson a millionaire many times over.

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