'SNL' Creator Reflects on Decades of Laughter


| LAST UPDATE 12/21/2021

By Molly Houghton
Lorne Michaels Talks SNL
Matt Winkelmeyer / Staff via Getty Images

As the year comes to an end and we get closer to the holidays, Saturday Night Live co-creator Lorne Michaels is reflecting on 47 years of SNL and even more than that, in comedy. Here's what the mastermind had to say during a sit-down with CBS Mornings.

It's hard to imagine an episode of SNL without hearing that familiar tune and the famous line, "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!" Yet for co-creator Lorne, writing those words that have become synonymous with comedy television was just another day in the office. "I wrote it out as a line cause I wanted to get the title in," he casually explained to CBS's Gayle King. "It's now just part of the culture." Touches of Michaels' creativity can be found throughout the series' weekly episodes and all over Studio 8H.

The comedy giant started his TV career as a writer for Canada's Broadcasting Corporation. But in 1975, NBC and their director of weekend late-night programming, Dick Ebersol, came knocking. The duo got to work on a comedy variety show initially named NBC's Saturday Night. "It was gonna have music; it was gonna have news, it was gonna have pretty much the format that we have," Lorne recalled. And, perhaps most crucial to its magic, the show was always intended to be live.

And after nearly five decades making life magic and just as many filled with recognition and awards, Lorne revealed it took him quite a while to realize just how special SNL had become. "I think it really, for the first time, really hit me on the 40th anniversary," Michaels admitted. "Just seeing all the generations of the show. You can't put anyone in the cast that you don't have complete faith in. You may not know how it'll turn out, but you want that decision to have been pure of heart."

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Saturday Night Live Cast
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And as much faith as he has in the cast, the relationship goes both ways. You know you're a good boss when people like Kenan Thompson, SNL's longest-serving star, refuse to leave. "If it wasn't for SNL and Lorne Michaels, like, I don't know where I would be floating in-between the kid universe and the adult universe," Thompson said.