Archive for the ‘"Saturday Night Live"’ Category

Anne Beatts’ Archive Interview Now Online— Original “Saturday Night Live” Writer and Creator of “Square Pegs”

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

“I remember once at Saturday Night Live having spent the night in my office. There was a heavy snowfall overnight, and I looked out the window onto 5th Avenue and I saw that the entire street was covered with pristine fresh snow. I just felt very joyful and I thought the eight-year-old me always wanted to stay in the city— when you would be going to FAO Schwarz and the Museum of Natural History— and I was always like, ‘someday I’m not going to leave.’ I thought if someone had said to that eight-year-old well, yes you will do this, you will have this moment, I would have been just thrilled.”

Anne Beatts was interviewed by the Archive of American Television on May 7, 2009, click here to watch the entire interview.

Interview description:
Anne Beatts says of getting her break in comedy writing: “I always say very freely when people ask ‘how did you get into comedy?’ I say ‘the same way that Catherine the Great got into politics.’ It wasn’t like some Machiavellian scheme on my part, it was just that I was attracted to people who were doing things that I wanted to do.” Anne Beatts was among the original writers of Saturday Night Live and created and executive-produced the influential comedy series Square Pegs. Beatts talks about working on the “National Lampoon” magazine with then-boyfriend Michael O’Donoghue. She describes how the two of them were hired by producer Lorne Michaels for Saturday Night (Live). For SNL, she looks back on working with the original cast members, and describes sketches she wrote, several of which were problematic for the network’s Standards and Practices. She recounts how she left SNL and came to create and pitch Square Pegs to CBS. On Square Pegs, she describes the casting of the leads and gave insight into serving as the series’ executive producer, including hiring an all-female writing staff. On being one of television’s first female show runners, she admits that she was treated “with some degree of disbelief and disrespect. I don’t think it was easy.” She comments on her difficultly in producing the first season of A Different World, and her satisfying experience as executive producer/writer of The Stephanie Miller Show. Additionally, she relates how she came to write an episode of Murphy Brown and serve as one of the writers for the reunion special Saturday Night Live 25. Jim McKairnes conducted the two-hour interview.

TV Academy Hall of Fame: 2010

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Tonight, seven new inductees will be added to the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Hall of Fame at a special ceremony at the Beverly Hills Hotel— actress Candice Bergen, art director Charles Lisanby, announcer Don Pardo, show creator-producer Gene Roddenberry (posthumously), performers Tom and Dick Smothers, and game show creator-producer Bob Stewart.

Television Academy Chairman-CEO John Shaffner notes: “Each year, the Television Academy has the privilege of honoring television greats that have contributed to the development and success of this ever-evolving medium.” “This year’s inductees have challenged and shaped popular culture, changed television for the better and entertained us royally while doing so. We are very pleased to be able to induct them into the Hall of Fame for their many achievements.”

The Archive of American Television has conducted interviews with several of the new inductees, click on the links below to view their interviews.

Charles Lisanby – Art Director

Don Pardo – Announcer

Tom and Dick Smothers – Performers

Bob Stewart – Game Show Creator/Producer

See also the Archive’s newly posted pages for:

Actress Candice Bergen

Show Creator/Producer Gene Roddenberry.

Music legend Paul Shaffer’s Archive interview is online

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Watch the Archive’s fun and informative interview with David Letterman and early-SNL music guru Paul Shaffer. Among our favorite moments: he plays an impromptu theme song for his new memoir (see the clip below):

Interview description:
In his Archive interview, Paul Shaffer talks about serving as a musician/performer on Saturday Night Live , as well as his long association with David Letterman as music director of Late Night with David Letterman and The Late Show with David Letterman. Paul Shaffer was interviewed in New York, NY on June 24, 2009; Dan Pasternack conducted the three-and-a-half-hour interview.

Manager Bernie Brillstein Has Died

Friday, August 8th, 2008

Bernie Brillstein, who represented many comedy legends and helped shephard classic television programming, has died at age 77.

Bernie Brillstein full 8-part interview will be online soon and can be viewed in its entirety at Academy Headquarters.

Interview description:
Brillstein talked about his experiences growing up in the various entertainment worlds of New York City, and how he eventually landed a job in the mailroom at the William Morris Agency. He discussed his meeting with WMA client Elvis Presley, and fondly remembered his first meeting with eventual client, puppeteer Jim Henson. He explained his reasons for leaving the agency to become a personal manager, and the work that he did on behalf of his various clients. He described his role in creating the long-running syndicated series Hee Haw, and his efforts at getting The Muppet Show on the air. He also spoke about his representation of writer/producer Lorne Michaels, and his involvement in the early years of Saturday Night Live. Brillstein reminisced about clients including John Belushi and Gilda Radner, and later explained his move into the executive suites at Lorimar. Finally, he talked about his partnership with Brad Grey, and the clients and programs that they have represented. The interview was conducted by Dan Pasternack on November 14, 2001.

Comedian George Carlin Has Died — Archive Interview Excerpt Online

Monday, June 23rd, 2008


George Carlin, whose career as a stand-up comedian is legendary, but who also appeared on his own sitcom and was the very first host of Saturday Night Live, has died at the age of 71. He is a five-time Emmy nominee for his specials and received Daytime Emmy nominations for the children’s show Shining Time Station.

The Archive interviewed Carlin just last December; his interview can be viewed at Academy headquarters and an excerpt is viewable online here.

Full interview description:

Comedian George Carlin described his early comedic talents and how, as a teenager, he would record bits on a tape recorder and play them back for friends. He talked about his influences from the movies (particularly Danny Kaye’s films) and early television (such as the variety series Broadway Open House) on his comic sensibilities. He then chronicled his early life through the Air Force, as a disk jockey, and as half of a comedy team with Jack Burns, that led to his first professional appearance on television on Jack Paar’s Tonight Show. He noted the various “breaks” along the way that got him seen and furthered his career. He talked about going solo and working as a stand-up comedian for several years before he got back into making television appearances on such programs as The Ed Sullivan Show. He spoke in detail about his infamous “Seven Dirty Words” monologue and the FCC case that resulted from it (filed against WBAI radio, for obscenity). He recalled his appearance as the very first host of Saturday Night Live. He talked about his HBO specials and how they resurrected his career. He touched on his later work as an actor in Kevin Smith’s movies and on such shows as the PBS series Shining Time Station, which earned him two Daytime Emmy nominations as Outstanding Performer in a Children’s Series.

"It’s Saturday Night Live…" Don Pardo Interview Posted

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

The third season of Saturday Night Live comes out on DVD today. The Archive interviewed long-time announcer Don Pardo, whose voice has been closely associated with the show since its debut in 1975.

Click here to view Don Pardo’s entire eight-part interview.

Interview description:

Pardo talked about joining NBC in 1944 and defined his duties as a staff announcer. He listed several of the radio and early television series on which he worked and described his trademark announcing style. He talked about his long association with several game shows including the original The Price Is Right, Choose Up Sides (where he appeared on-camera as “Mr. Mischief”), and the original Jeopardy! (that launched the pop culture catchphrase: “Don Pardo, tell her what she’s won!”). Lastly, Pardo spoke in great detail about the series for which he is most closely associated, Saturday Night Live. He then acknowledged leaving his post as staff announcer at NBC having held the position for a record 60 years and 6 months.