Splitsider

Posts tagged as personal histories

The Greatest Joke Ever

"You know my favorite. It's your favorite too," my Bubbe said to me with the same rascally grin she had when she first told me our favorite joke. Though, it was now missing a few teeth, from when she said "fuck it" with her dentures, around when she moved in with parents for hospice care. Still, teeth-be-damned, she couldn't withhold that smirk. See: it's a dirty joke; it's a dark joke; it's a joke that over time has drifted onto the wrong side of political correctness; it's the greatest joke ever.

She first heard "the one about the dead nun" on one of the regional, elderly bus tours she took [...]

Saying Goodbye to Tom Davis and Letting Go of 'SNL'

Studio 8H is a time warp.

I hadn't been there in 16 years, when I interviewed Lorne Michaels for Mr. Mike. Before that, I'd been in 8H many times, starting in 1983. It's the most famous studio on American TV, the recurring cast member of SNL.

When I first walked through those narrow hallways, the original shows came alive in me. I recognized the main doors, dressing rooms, and photo-lined walls. I stood where the first cast performed their backstage bits.

I strolled the studio as sets were built, lighting adjusted, sketches camera blocked. Once I went up on home base, took in the view, then got on all [...]

Laughing at a Funeral: Confronting Grief with Humor

I had my first good laugh only a day after my father-in-law died. Gary’s alcoholism had blown apart everything good around him, including his relationship with his son Jason, my husband. For years, things were toxic. It wasn’t until Gary died that relief washed over us and we cried tears of sadness for his loss. He once was a good dad. We could remember him that way still.

But back to the laugh. It was Jason’s thirty-first birthday. We scrambled to pack our bags. I raced outside to walk our dog Hans, in a hurry to get on the road to make it to Virginia. We have a dog whose anxiety [...]

The King of 'The King of Comedy'

It is the year 2000. I have moved into my grandparents’ basement in Roswell, New Mexico, and am pecking out a skin-peelingly bad novel. I am 23 years old and I am lonely. I work nights down at the local Blockbuster Video, which enables me to catch up on a lot of movies I have yet to see. One afternoon, I watch the 1983 Martin Scorsese film The King of Comedy, starring Robert De Niro and Jerry Lewis. My immediate reaction: “I have never related more to a film’s protagonist.”

It is the year 2010. I have moved into my mother’s guest room in San Diego, California, and [...]

What It's Like Getting Hired – and Fired – by 'SNL'

It was late summer, 1982, and I was driving down Lake Shore Drive in Chicago with Julia Louis-Dreyfus. I turned to her and said, “This must be what winning the lottery feels like.” We had just been asked to join the cast of Saturday Night Live along with Brad Hall (and Paul Barrosse, who would become a writer) and were on our way to our last performance of “The Golden 50th Anniversary Jubilee.”

The show was a collection of our best Practical Theatre sketches over a three-year period and it was a local hit that caught the attention of Tim Kazurinsky. Tim brought in Dick Ebersol and Bob Tischler who [...]