Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live
When I saw this book available on Bookins.com, I put it straight into my Wish List. I've always been a fan of SNL, even though I barely watch it anymore. Everyone has their favorite SNL skits; I'm still partial to "Landshark," Eddie Murphy in his prime, and just about anything with Chris Farley or Phil Hartman in it.
The book is an oral history, in the same manner (though ultimately less effective) as Legs McNeil's Please Kill Me. Where that book often felt like a direct smack to the face with the brutal truth being discussed, Live from New York tells a great story with only a few suprises. Perhaps it's how public the show has been, how the lives of most actors have been open books for tabloids and Entertainment Tonight (wait, that might be redundant) - or perhaps it's because the people talking to authors Tom Shales & James Andrew Miller still have careers they care about. Some, like Garrett Morris, are pretty direct - and in truth, Morris sounds like a pain in the ass. As does Chevy Chase - this is information I really enjoyed, and the celebration of Gilda Radner is actually very touching. But often, I felt like there was no "there" there, to repeat a phrase. It's good, and I learned more about Lorne Michaels than I knew, but I'm not sure I needed to learn that stuff. I enjoyed it and actually raced through the book, so it's clearly entertaining. I actually finished the book a week or two ago, and liked it more when I initially put it down. In the short period since, it's waned on me. A cleverer writer would think of an analogy to a SNL skit to compare this to, but I"m not feeling it right now. In any event, like many of those skits, the book has promise which occasionally delivers but ultimately doesn't quite get there.