Wednesday, June 10, 2009

[UPDATE] Horror Stories From SNL in 1995

A choice excerpt, because I don't feel like I have sold this piece well yet. Skip to the end, if you don't like Roseanne, but do like stories about Norm MacDonald punching people:
Lately, the extracurricular action in the writers’ room has been more colorful than a lot of the writing.

The show hosted by Sarah Jessica Parker, in November, included a song contrasting love’s higher and lower impulses. Michael McKean sang chastely to Parker, plunking an acoustic guitar; then Sandler cranked up his electric guitar to underscore sophomoric lines like “I’m gonna give ya the wood!”

During rewrites of the piece, Kightlinger jokingly suggested to the group that the song be made even more explicit—and found herself the target of a crude barrage. “A couple of them turned on her,” says a close friend of Kightlinger’s, “with these really vicious, mean sexual things. . . . She’s one of the strongest people I know. Very tough to faze. And it made her cry.”

Kightlinger, who wrote for Roseanne last year, has been reciprocally shocked by the thin skin of her new colleagues. “I’ve had to pare down my sarcasm big-time,” she says, adding that she now feels “really positive” about SNL. “In the writers’ room at Roseanne, you could shit on each other and everybody would laugh. But here, it’s like, ‘Wait a second—that’s a piece I’ve worked on, dah, dah, dah.’ It gets personal in a hurry.”

In December, Ian Maxtone-Graham, a self-described anti-smoking zealot, complained about Norm MacDonald’s lighting up in the writers’ room. MacDonald shrugged it off. So Maxtone-Graham extinguished the cigarette by squirting MacDonald in the face with a water pistol. MacDonald punched Maxtone-Graham in the head, knocking him to the floor.

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