Since it debuted in 1975, Saturday Night Live has launched the careers of some of comedy's biggest names. Over the years, many of the show's actors, writers, and creators have sat down with Terry Gross to talk about their auditions, the culture of the show, and life after SNL.
Tina Fey's new memoir Bossypants contains her thoughts on juggling motherhood, acting, writing and executive producing 30 Rock. Fey joins Fresh Air's Terry Gross for a wide-ranging conversation about her years in comedy, her childhood and her 2008 portrayal of Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live.
Comedian and writer Seth Meyers discusses Saturday Night Live's treatment of the recent presidential election. Meyers has been with SNL since 2001, and currently serves as co-anchor of the show's "Weekend Update" segment.
As the brains behind the hip-hop parody group responsible for digital shorts like "D--- in a Box," Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer have produced some of the funniest Saturday Night Live material in recent memory. Here, they talk about comedy, Yo! MTV Raps and adolescence.
After soaring to fame with Saturday Night Live, Dan Aykroyd built a solid film career. But he's still capitalizing on his early hit, The Blues Brothers (now available in a 25th-anniversary DVD). He serves on the board of the "House of Blues" restaurant and concert-venue franchise, and last year he published a book as his Blues Brothers alter-ego, Elwood, interviewing blues greats. (This interview was first broadcast on Nov. 22, 2004.)
Martin Short established himself as a comedic actor on SCTV and Saturday Night Live. He's famous for his physical humor, celebrity impressions, and the memorable characters he invented, like Ed Grimley. Short has since graduated to the silver screen, starring in movies like Innerspace and Three Amigos. Terry interviewed him in 1989.
Will Ferrell is a regular cast member of Saturday Night Live. Last weekend the show began the new season in a somber tone, opening the show with Mayor Giuliani surrounded by a group of New York fire fighters, police and EMT workers. Ferrell has portrayed President George Bush on the show as well as Janet Reno, Alex Trebek and Robert Goulet; his other send-ups include musical middle school teacher Marty Culp, and Spartan cheerleader Craig.
Robert Smigel (SMY-gull) is a writer and creator of animated comic episodes for Saturday Night Live, including “X-Presidents” and “The Ambiguously Gay Duo.” His newest effort is the new Comedy Central series “TV Funhouse,” described as a broken kid’s show for adults. The Funhouse combines real animals, puppet animals, short films and animation (Wednesday nights at 10:30). Smigel has also written a new comic book based on the X-presidents filmed shorts (called “X-Presidents”/Villard Books).
He's nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor in the film Lost in Translation. Murray, originally a Second City alum, got his start as a cast member on Saturday Night Live. Notable film appearances include The Royal Tenenbaums, Kingpin, Groundhog Day, Ghostbusters and Caddyshack. Hear two interviews from 1991 and 1999.
The comedian spent seven seasons on Saturday Night Live and went on to star in the raunchy comedy Bridesmaids. Now she's exploring what's funny about parenting in the new movie Friends with Kids and the TV series Up All Night.
This weekend will be Hader's final romp on Saturday Night Live. He joined the cast in 2005 and has been nominated for an Emmy for his character Stefon, an obsessive clubgoer. Hader talks about not understanding how people do standup and about watching old films, which sparked his interest in Hollywood.
After a shakeup in the original cast, Saturday Night Live hired Piscopo, who became known for his impressions of celebrities like Frank Sinatra and Bruce Springsteen. Now an alum of the program, he joins Fresh Air's Terry Gross to talk about the next phase of his career.
It's hard to focus right now. So recommending a book can seem, well, out-of-touch. Unless, that is, the recommendation is for a novel that's so absorbing, so fully realized that it draws you out of your own constricted situation and expands your sense of possibilities. For me, over the past 10 days or so, the novel that's performed that act of deliverance has been The Glass Hotel, by Emily St. John Mandel.