Live From New York Book Excerpt-

ALAN ZWEIBEL: Whoever drew the short straw that week had to write the Muppet sketch. The first time I met O'Donoghue, I walked into Lorne's office, and Belushi's there, Aykroyd's there, people the likes of which had never crossed my path before, and I look in a corner of the room and there's a guy I learned was Michael O'Donoghue. What was he doing, you ask? He had taken Big Bird, a stuffed toy of Big Bird, and the cord from the venetian blinds, and he wrapped the cord around Big Bird's neck. He was lynching Big Bird. And that's how we all felt about the Muppets. Franken and Davis and I were the rookie writers, and the others always rigged it so we were the ones who wrote the Muppet sketches.

So I went over to Jim Henson's townhouse on like Sixty-eighth Street with a sketch I had written. There was one character named Skred, and I remember we're reading the sketch, Jim Henson's reading the pages, and he gets to a line and he says, "Oh, Skred wouldn't say this." And I look, and on a table over there is this cloth thing that is folded over like laundry, and it's Skred. "Oh, but he wouldn't say this." Oh, sorry. It's like when I was doing Garry Shandling's first series, we wanted to have Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop on. I said, "Of course we'll fly you out," and she said, "Well, what about Lamb Chop?" What about Lamb Chop?!? She says that Lamb Chop gets a seat. I swear to God, I almost threw my back out giving her the bene- fit of the doubt that she wasn't insane. I laughed and she said, "Lamb Chop doesn't sit in the back." I said, "If I'm not mistaken, are we talking about the same Lamb Chop? Because, you know, it's a sock! It's a sock with a button, okay?!?" And it ended up we didn't use her because it was too insane.

BERNIE BRILLSTEIN: O'Donoghue had the best line about the Muppets. He used to say, "I won't write for felt."

CRAIG KELLEM: There was this shit-or-get-off-the-pot moment when Lorne turned and looked at me and he said, "How do you fire the Muppets?"

HERBERT SCHLOSSER: I remember being at one of the tapings of the show live on more than one occasion when the Muppets were on. Some of the pieces were very good, but the cast was so good you wanted to see Belushi, and Gilda, and Garrett Morris doing news for the hard of hearing. As a matter of fact, we had to take that off because we got protests from organizations that felt this was not fair to the handicapped. And then after we took it off, we started to get letters from people who were hard of hearing saying they loved it, why were we doing that, why didn't we have the guts to keep that on?!

GARRETT MORRIS: A lot of people are very patronizing toward so-called handicapped people. They can take care of themselves. One thing about the kind of comedy we do is that it's a deeper realization of the fact that with all comedy, with all jokes, somebody's on the bottom.

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