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Synopsis

Saturday Night is the intimate history of the original Saturday Night Live, from its beginnings as an outlaw program produced by an unruly band of renegades from the comedy underground to a TV institution that made stars of John Belushi, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Gilda Radner, Jane Curtin, Laraine Newman, Garrett Morris, Joe Piscopo and Eddie Murphy. This is the book that revealed to the world what really happened behind the scenes during the first ten years of this groundbreaking program, from the battles SNL fought with NBC to the battles fought within the show itself. It's all here: The love affairs, betrayals, rivalries, drug problems, overnight successes, and bitter failures, mixed with the creation of some of the most outrageous and original comedy ever. "It reads like a thriller," said the Associated Press, "and may be the best book ever written about television." Available for the first time in ebook format, this edition features nearly fifty photographs of cast, crew and sketches.

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Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live
Average rating
4.2 / 5
November 2nd, 2013
From the viewpoint of gaining some unique insights and behind the scenes dynamics of what was a cultural icon during my teen years, this book delivers on many levels. From the dynamics and often contemptuous process of getting the show aired not only on time, but as close to the actual plan established before hand, the reader will often be surprised as to how the SNL staff could maintain this controlled, and sometimes uncontrolled chaos while at the same time breaking the mould, and all the rules previously held in producing a variety show. Interesting anecdotal accounts of the close relationships among the writers, actors, production staff, not to mention the drug use, animosity, if not absolute disdain the stars, including Lorne Michaels had for the "suits" and censors who many believed were in league with evil itself while trying to smother the creative process of a show that set a new bar, established its own protocol for production that were previously thought to be at the very least absurd, while at the same time becoming the prototypical model for success in the new era of irreverent television. While Doug Hill and Jeff Weingrad manage to deliver this chaos to the reader in a direct but many times repetitive manner and terminology of expression, they still manage to come away with a book that peeks through the cracks in revealing the inner workings and the genesis of a comedic and cultural paradigm shift starting with the little known at the time, "Not ready for prime time players". You will never again look at the original cast's shows in the same way after reading about the fights that took place minutes before air; or look at the guest host knowing the atmosphere was thick with disdain seconds before a famous one liner is verbalized for the first time on National television. Well worth the read if you're a SNL fan of the 70's, or even if you're not you can still be amazed at how this small group of comedic geniuses, led and protected by a producer whiz-kid thumb their collective noses at conventionality while teenagers in schools across the continent mimic the latest SNL lexicon and characters memorized for class from the Saturday night previous.
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