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Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live by [Hill, Doug, Weingrad, Jeff]
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Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 86 customer reviews

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Length: 595 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Bold and irreverent, NBC's Emmy-winning Saturday Night Live produced many stars (Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Jane Curtin and others) and redefined the limits of TV comedy. In this absorbing account, based on 250 interviews, the authors successfully recreate the chaotic backstage scene where writers and performers from the comedy underground of the 1970s created an "outlaw" show for a generation raised on TV and rock 'n' roll. The on-air shenanigans pale in comparison to much of the manic behavior reported here: frantic last-minute changes in sketches; rivalries between stars; battles with censors; run-ins with more conventional network crews and security guards. At once serious (explaining how "amateurs" managed to break TV's comedic rules) and gossipy (drugs, brawls, etc.), this bright history is bound to please many. Hill and Weingrad have written individually about TV for numerous publications. 100,000 first printing; $100,000 ad/promo; author tour.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

An engrossing, compulsively readable history of the late-night television show, from the early struggle to get it accepted by the network to its most recent incarnation with the return of original producer Lorne Michaels. The book is well written and detailed, and the authors interviewed more than 200 people connected with the show. Most interesting are the first few seasons, when Saturday Night was truly innovative and blessed with the Not-Ready-for-Prime-Time Players and more daring writers. Excerpts from skits punctuate the text, and most are still funny. As the show loses its cult status and goes big-time, however, the story becomes a depressing account of rampant egotism, drug abuse, and, ultimately, the end of SNL 's originality and excitement. For social history and media collections. Judith Sutton, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3315 KB
  • Print Length: 595 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Untreed Reads (December 15, 2011)
  • Publication Date: December 15, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006MNL3K0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,063 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is one of the best behind-the-scenes books I've ever read. Published in 1986, it detailed the first ten seasons of SNL. This isn't a sanitized, cast-only, everybody's-wonderful book, but it's not a gossipy tell-all, either. There's a lot of great stories about all the people on both sides of the camera who put the show on week after week. There are great chapters on how the show got on the air in the first place (they even needed an OK from Johnny Carson), and the battles the show fought with censors, critics, even the White House. And there are chapters devoted to the shows four breakout stars--Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Bill Murray, and Eddie Murphy. Hill and Weingrad are clearly fans of the show, but they're still merciless when discussing the show's low points, particularly the 1980-81 season. There are detailed examinations of many of the show's milestones, including a 1978 show with Steve Martin that's still considered one of the series' best. If you remember watching the show back when the Coneheads, the Blues Brothers, and the Nerds were the hottest thing on the tube, you'll want to track down this book. And I'd dearly love these authors to put out a volume II chronicling the last dozen years of the show.
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Format: Paperback
An excellent book, in terms of its breadth and the behind-the-scenes perspective it gives to the Saturday Night Live episodes we have all seen on TV. The writers certainly did their homework, and yet the scores of names, dates, and places mentioned never bog down the flow of this story. It is fascinating to read about the clashes between these stars who were both comic geniuses and petulant egomaniacs, and frankly, it is surprising that any episodes were able to air at all. Despite what you think about Saturday Night Live, you cannot deny the show's existence as a television institution, and reading this book makes you appreciate its innovation then, and longevity now, all the more.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Let me cut right to the chase: buy this book! If you have any love whatsoever for SNL, comedy, guerilla television, and the Golden Years era (1975-85), buy this book before someone raises the price! If you have ever suspected that the entertainment world is a collective act of insanity, this book will confirm everything and double down on the bet.

Saturday Night is a Kindle re-release of the 1986 book by journalists Weingrad and Hill. While lightly reviewed on Amazon, this effort received a lot of attention in 1986. The Washington Post called it "a chilling, real-life cliffhanger." Vanity Fair called it "an anthropological masterpiece." Reviews on other websites have given the print edition at least four stars out of five.

Weingrad and Hill spent a solid two years (1983-85) researching this effort. After reviewing everything written by the Young Turk journalists who had covered SNL, they interviewed over 250 people. NBC cooperated and opened the doors to its facilities and staff. Key players like Lorne Michaels, the show's creator-producer, helped the authors gain access to people who might otherwise have stayed silent. Then Weingrad and Hill got out of the way and let the story and its players speak for themselves. The result is a captivating recounting of all the trials and tribulations that went into the making of a classic era in television history. Their story has a freshness and sense of exhilaration that would probably not be possible today.

I started out to skim different parts of the story just to get a sense for it. That proved impossible. The story kept sucking me in, and I ended up reading entire segments before I had intended to read the book at all. Jim Belushi, Dan Ackroyd, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray...
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Like many, I grew up watching Saturday Night Live, either new episodes or those rerun on various cable channels, marveling at the wonderful humor and originality. I had always heard urban legends surrounding the show, and its earliest moments, and when I discovered this book I knew I had to read it. The authors take you through the first several seasons of the show, showing the reader many aspects of the backstage history, from the dynamics between Lorne Michaels and the cast to the use of drugs in the early days. There are many anecdotes from tales involving the Hell's Angels to the trip Chevy Chase made to the White House to lampoon President Ford, and all of the early greats are covered from Belushi, Murphy, and Chase to O'Donoghue, Franken, and Davis. I laughed recalling many of the skits that are presented in this book, and I sit amazed as I read about many of the sorrowful topics including the decline of Garret Morris and Larraine Newman. This book is older and dated, and many of the actors that were predicted to go into obscurity have resurfaced since publication and have seemingly came into there on. It's very light hearted, even given some of the darker topics, and it is a fairly quick read as it is written in an anecdotal style. Read this book and enjoy.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Looking for something amusing and light I bought “Saturday Night” because I had been a fan of the program, especially the program of the original cast. I got more than I bargained for. On one level, the book tells you all about how Saturday Night Live came about- all the high pressure interworking of network TV. The narrative flows easy and quick. The author teaches you more about the “big business” of TV than you’ll ever need to know. The author makes it interesting and easy to understand.
On another level we get a good long look the founding cast of Saturday Night Live. I, like many Americans tend to idealize celebrities. We forget that in many cases, especially in the entertainment business these people are often self centered, egotistical, selfish, petty and mean. Add in a super dose of drugs to this mix and you have the original Saturday Night Live cast. The author names names, but always allows the accused a say in his/her own defense.
One of the many interesting things about the book is the detail it gives to the extensive drug use among the cast and writers of Saturday Night Live. I couldn’t help but wonder why, with all the drug use going on in the Saturday Night offices in NY, no arrests were ever made. Plenty of kids all over America have been booked for infinitesimal amounts of marijuana, but these great maharajas of TV seemed untouchable. Who paid off whom?
Ample time is given to some of the more famous skits done on Saturday Night Live, that the reader will remember with a smile or a chuckle. The book traces the rise and sometimes fall of the principal cast members, as well as those who came on board later.
Being the nation of TV watchers that we are, this is an important book for all of us because it brings us beyond the TV screen to the reality. It might make us a little more critical of how we evaluate the TV shows we like, and the people who put them in our homes.
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