May 17, 09
Read in May, 2009
This is really great dish, especially if you watched this show for any extended period of time in your life. I've fallen away from watching it the past few years, but watched it for decades. So the dish is great. I guess I had this idealized (and erroneous) conception of how the show works. I figured that it was all about camaraderie and friendship and a shared sense of the mission---simply to make people laugh. Okay, and maybe to make them think too. Sometimes. But not too much. But NOOOOO!!! Apparently, it was about ego dominance and survival. Always. Producer Lorne withholds the love to make all the children strive harder and always feel "you just haven't earned it yet, baby!" It's so funny reading these brief confessions from all these people, many of them geniuses. Because so many of them are still so insecure and angry and resentful. Most seem to remember it the way people recall and describe a bad past marriage. So many feel they were never truly loved or appreciated on the show, or feel they were passed over constantly. But that's the life of a comic, right? A few things are repeated so often you're sure they're true, like that performers were expected to write for the show without getting paid for it. Lorne somehow managed to sneak around the Guild on that one. And everyone hated Janeane Garofalo. Okay, not everyone but almost everyone. She tried to sabotage the show quite often and badmouthed it publicly while she was a cast member. Even Paul Simon takes some digs at Janeane. It's so interesting to learn who ran with whom, who formed cabals, who axed whom, etc. If you're a fan of SNL past or present, it's good stuff. But it's odd. Some of the ones that come across as the most arrogant (like Garofalo or Chris Rock, who is not generous at all in describing some other cast members, and especially other black cast members) are often those who went on to amazing careers. Arrogance was often rewarded in that environment. But then you had the quiet survivors who kept their noses out of everything and refused to play the game, like Molly Shannon. There were some class acts who apparently managed that tightrope walk. I find it all fascinating, really. I would have thought these creative minds would be more interested in talking about the art they created, or things they are proud of having achieved, or even what gave them joy and really made them laugh. But almost all of these comics talk about this period of their lives more as a business. They focus on the business end of things, the money and time allotted. I guess many of them saw this as an opportunity to speak their mind to Lorne or other cast members they were still angry at, without looking like a real shitbag for writing their own tell-all. "Hey, somebody was asking me...and I told the truth!" It's sort of exonerative, right lol? Still, it's a good book. It's not literature, it's just dish. But great dish.