The heavy door to the office slowly creaked open, and in stepped Michael O'Donoghue.
He wore a mustard-colored overcoat with matching fedora. His glasses were clear, both frame and lenses. He had a pencil-thin mustache. He quickly assessed the cluttered office, smirked, then lit a long brown cigarette.
An office mate of mine quietly protested, but did nothing. I walked up to Michael, introduced myself, then led him to a back room where we talked for a couple of hours.
Michael was effusive, generous, funny, serious. He read some jokes he had recently written, and naturally I laughed. It didn't matter what he read; the fact that Michael O'Donoghue was [...]
Lost Roles is a weekly column taking a different comedian, actor, or writer each week and exploring all of their movie and TV projects that almost happened but didn't.
This week, we turn our attention to Michael O'Donoghue, one of the major creative forces behind National Lampoon magazine and Saturday Night Live during the two comedy franchises' 1970s heydays. After leaving his job as SNL's head writer in 1978, O'Donoghue began working on a variety of movie projects, but given the sluggish nature of the film industry and the fact that O'Donoghue's work is often too daring and edgy for mainstream audiences, most of the movies he wrote never [...]
This is the 35th anniversary season of SNL, yes, but it was 35 years ago today that the show actually debuted. Its first episode was hosted by George Carlin and had two musical guests: Billy Preston and Janis Ian.
Above is the cold open from that first episode, featuring John Belushi and head writer Michael O'Donoghue and ending with Chevy Chase saying "Live, from New York, it's Saturday Night!" for the first time.