Splitsider

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

"Let me close with the sincere hope that you and everyone you love catches rectal cancer and dies screaming."

Michael O'Donoghue, SNL's first head writer, wasn't known for pulling punches or sugarcoating his opinions. That's made especially clear in this letter that he wrote to the Los Angeles Herald-Tribune's Gregg Kilday in 1985 after he mistakenly attributed the lousy sketches of that season's premiere show (Lorne's first back after a five-year absence) to O'Donoghue, who had only been hired back to write pre-taped short films (none of which were ever shot or aired before he was fired). Dug up by O'Donoghue biographer Dennis Perrin, the letter is a thing of exquisite brutality. A taste:

Let me put it in upper case so that even a screaming jizzbag like you with a Bundt cake for a brain and the I.Q. of an eggtimer can grasp it — I HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH SNL'S FIRST SHOW; I HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE SECOND SHOW; I WILL HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE THIRD SHOW; AND, IN ALL LIKELIHOOD, I WON'T HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH SHOWS FOUR, FIVE AND SIX!!! Can you "dig it," touchhole?? Am I getting through???

In the great Southern California tradition of airhead journalism, I'm sure you don't give a flying fuck about "Truth" nor would you accept culpability (Look it up!) for your errors so I don't expect an apology or a retraction. I write this only as a Zen exercise. And you can return to your work in the flak factory retyping press handouts from the Amanda Foundation.

Holy shit, right? One of the true misanthropic geniuses of comedy. He sure was funny, but you didn't want to get in his way.

  • http://www.twitter.com/becca_oneal Rebecca O'Neal

    After having the Chicago Public Library's sole copy of Mr. Mike on hold for what seemed like an eternity, I finally got and read the book earlier this year – and yea, it's filled with this stuff.

    The only sentence that fits the quotes attributed to O'Donoghue is this: He "wove a tapestry of obscenity, that as far as we know, is still hanging in space over Lake Michigan." From A Christmas Story.

  • http://twitter.com/bradfordevans Bradford Evans

    Michael O'Donoghue's amazing and doesn't get enough credit these days. Referring to that letter as a Zen exercise is a nice touch. I also love that they hired him back to SNL twice after he left, only for him to throw a shitfit and leave or get fired.