ALAN ZWEIBEL: I guess Gilda and my secret was that we weren't sleeping with each other. Our relationship was platonic. It had, with the exception of the sex part, everything else that a boy-girl relationship has. Emotions, the ups, the downs, the yelling, the screaming, the highs, I mean everything. She had said something very early on, when it was close to not being platonic, she had said something along the lines of, "Look, every relationship you've had and I've had with the opposite sex has pretty much ended in disaster or crashed and burned. And we have a good thing going here creatively; let's try not to be boy-girl." That made sense, you know. Years later, now, I think she just wasn't attracted to me. The first generation of Saturday Night Live is remembered for more than its comedy or its cleverness or its revolutionary contributions to television. Most of the cast members and writers had come of age in the sixties and hewed to that era's values - turn on and tune in, if not quite drop out. These were heady days, some of the headiest ever at NBC. Open an office door in the SNL suite on the seventeenth floor and you might well be enswirled in marijuana smoke. Harder drugs were used as well - at least one cast member freebased cocaine, others dropped acid - right there in the haute-deco halls of the RCA Building.
CHEVY CHASE: Fame is a huge thing that is in your life, and we know now that taking drugs is self-medicating. What are we medicating? Something that is hurting us. Usually it's a depression of some kind or some sort of sadness or something stressful, right? That's what we're selfmedicating. Fame is extremely stressful. That's why so many people who become famous so fast self-medicate. And what is there to selfmedicate with? A hundred-dollar bill and, if it's 1975, some cocaine, or some pot or something. The point is that it all follows, it's as natural as a guy going home and having a drink at the end of a stressful day. But this kind of stress, this fame thing I was talking about, is huge. I was already thirty-two, I had already been through many, many years of writing and working and being around this business, so in my own mind, I should have been able to not lose any perspective. And, of course, in retrospect, I had lost all perspective. I think if there is one perception that the public feels about people who become famous, it's that it is a great, wonderful, marvelous, magical thing. And that's true up to a point. But in fact it's also a very, very frightening thing, because it's one of the most stressful things. There's a certain amount of post-traumatic stress involved in being a regular guy and then suddenly an extremely famous one. By and large, people who are performers are looking for some sort of immediate gratification to begin with, some validation of what their identity is, who they are, some acceptability. They're not novelists who are waiting after ten years to see how they did. They want it right away. They're children, basically. And in all children there's this reservoir of self-doubt and guilt and sense of low self-esteem, I think. And so one lives with this kind of dualism, this disparity between the marvelous magic of becoming accepted by so many so fast and, at the same time, a lingering sense that one doesn't deserve it and sooner or later will be found out.