Live from New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live

Authors: Tom Shales, James Andrew Miller
Date of publication: October 2002
Publisher: Little Brown & Company
Length: 566 pages
Comments: Oral history of SNL. Jon is quoted three times in the book.

Thanks to Anita R. for transcribing the quotes.


Page 480:

It was the first time Iíd been asked to host, and I jumped at it immediately. I didnít bring any of my own writers with me; theyíve got plenty. Theyíre very, very talented people over there who already know their thing, and hopefully I went into it thinking Iíd bring a little something to the process and shape it in a way that would give this show a little different flavor than it had the week before. We had a great time doing all that stuff. Itís a very collaborative environment. I really had just a mind-blowing good time.

I thought the process that they used to hone material was really smart. The way the show came into focus makes complete sense. Itís very linear, itís not arbitrary. Thereís obviously politics associated with any organization, especially one thatís been alive for that long. As the host you obviously are a guest, and itís a different atmosphere. But when youíre around some place for a week, you can pick up whatís what and whoís what and whereís what and that kind of shit.

Page 514-515:

As much as Iíd like to think I understand television production and understand what it takes to put on a show, I was absolutely knocked out by how they put that show on, just knocked out. The ability of each fiefdom to know their shit, do their shit, and execute at the level they execute was remarkable ≠ really, really impressive to watch. Itís unprecedented, it really is.

You donít really think about what effect your presence on the show is going to have. The shit comes all so fast, you donít have time to think about reactions, and if you start thinking about it, about the effect, youíre sunk. All you can think about intuitively is, ďThat looks good, yeah, thatís funny, Iíll go with that, or that seems a little too didactic.Ē

Youíve got to be into the thing. If you start thinking like, ďMaybe thatíll get picked up by the wire services,Ē then youíre fucked.

Page 540-541:

Lorne doesnít have much of a track record, so thatís why it was really hard to trust him that everything was going to be okay, but I though, ďWell, Iíll give this kid a shot and see what he can do for me.Ē

I think the thing that probably strikes me most is, heís a guy who clearly doesnít have to work this hard but still does. And you can only attribute that to either heís insane or heís still excited about the show, he still enjoys it, he still has passion for it, and he still wants it to be good.


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