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Posts tagged as james downey

'SNL's James Downey on Working with Norm Macdonald and Getting Fired for Making Fun of OJ Simpson

Saturday Night Live has employed hundreds of comedy writers in its four decades on the air, but no writer has been associated with the show longer — or had more of a lasting impact — than James Woodward Downey. If Lorne Michaels is the face of Saturday Night Live, Downey is its behind-the-scenes creative force. 

Called by Lorne Michaels the best political humorist alive, Downey has been responsible for most of the political-centered pieces during Saturday Night Live’s run (many of which he co-wrote with now Senator Al Franken), starting with Jimmy Carter in the mid-’70s and ending, six administrations later, with Barack Obama. The power of Downey’s political comedy extends [...]

Saturday Night's Children: Jim Downey (1979-1980)

Aside from having the best set of lines in Billy Madison, Jim Downey is best known for having a long writing tenure at SNL second only to Lorne Michaels. Downey joined the show at the same time as Bill Murray in 1976, and with only a few exceptions (including a break in the early '80s to serve as head writer at Letterman), he was a regular fixture on the writing staff until the end of last year, serving as the show's longest-running head writer from 1986-1995 and knighted ruler of SNL's political cold open sketches. Despite being better remembered as a writer, Downey also spent a single season [...]