"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."
About This Interview
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.
In her two-hour Archive interview, 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 interview in North Hollywood, CA on May 7, 2009.