Live From New York Book Excerpt-

CRAIG KELLEM: We were beginning to get some action out there in that first year, but people were not making a lot of money. Then some guy came along - I cannot remember his name - who was doing commercials for the United States military, and the Saturday Night Live gang were hired to appear in these commercials. And Lorne, being a kind of a born snob, wanted no part of dealing with these people, but it was a good way for everybody to earn money. So I became the guy who was the link to the commercial guy and did all the coordinating and producing, as it were. And we actually made a series of commercials for the military. I never saw them. I've never even heard about them since. But it's a fact. This guy spent thousands of dollars on this thing. Belushi did them because he wanted that money, and fast. They all made money, including Lorne, but Lorne kept a very pronounced arm's length from the whole venture.

BERNIE BRILLSTEIN: I knew Belushi was going to be a hit when Paul McCartney called and offered me $6,000 for Belushi to perform his Joe Cocker impression at his birthday party. John was making $800 or $1,000 a show. Six thousand dollars to sing like Joe Cocker? Oh my God, oh my God, he was so happy - not the money, just singing for McCartney. Oh my God.

LORNE MICHAELS: I remember exactly how much money I made in 1975. I made $115,000, and it was more money than I'd ever imagined. I'd been offered the season before four Flip Wilson shows, four specials, for a little over a hundred thousand dollars and I said I would do one. The experience wasn't a special one for me. It wasn't a show I was terribly proud of, but it did a 46 share, and what I remember learning from that was if you did a show you really cared about, it didn't matter if anybody watched it. But if you did a show that wasn't any good, it was much better if everyone saw it. If it was highly rated, you knew you'd be able to work again.

JEAN DOUMANIAN, Associate Producer: I didn't start working for Saturday Night Live until the eleventh show in 1975, because I had been working on the first show called Saturday Night Live, with Howard Cosell on ABC. We were canceled after the seventeenth show, and Lorne called and asked if he could use the title of the show.

CRAIG KELLEM: That was a signature issue as far as Lorne was concerned: he wanted to call his show Saturday Night Live. It totally pissed him off that the title was taken by Howard Cosell. And when the other show went off the air and he got the title back, I kind of chuckled inside, thinking how Lorne had decided that he wanted that title and he was going to get that title. And you know what? He ended up with that title. That's Lorne Michaels to a T.

JEAN DOUMANIAN: Lorne had one corner office. And I had the other corner office. I liked Lorne a lot, we got along very well. But I was never intimidated by him. And I was never part of the family. I didn't do drugs, and I had a life outside the show.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...