Since joining Saturday Night Live's writing staff in the fall of 2011, Zach Kanin has quickly found his footing on the show and created some memorable sketches, not that it comes as any surprise to those who'd been following his career before that. Before being snatched up by SNL, Kanin was editor of The Harvard Lampoon, a contributing cartoonist for The New Yorker (his cartoons are archived here), and author of The Short Book, which offers a humorous look at what it's like being 5'3". Now, with only a season and a half at SNL under his belt, Kanin already has a bevy of funny and popular sketches to his name, in addition to an Emmy nomination and two WGA Award nominations. This season, he teamed up with fellow SNL writer Rob Klein and New Yorker cartoonist Paul Noth create an animated short for SNL called "Cool Drones," which looks like the start of a new line of animated segments for the show. I recently had the chance to talk to Zach Kanin about animated shorts, his favorite sketches he's written at SNL, and drawing for The New Yorker:
Let's talk about the animated short you wrote for the show with Rob Klein, "Cool Drones." Has this been something you’ve wanted to get on the show for a while?
Rob (another writer at SNL), Paul Noth (a fellow New Yorker cartoonist) and I have been working on some animated short ideas off-and-on for a few years now, and “Cool Drones” was one that we started working on this August.
How did the idea for the short come to you?
We work very collaboratively. Every month or so we’ll each come up with 10-20 ideas for shorts, and then we’ll meet up and whittle them down to what we might want to make. I think Paul had the initial idea to do something about drones, and we all agreed it seemed promising. The three of us threw around a bunch of ideas (the drones go undercover, they’re like Power Rangers) and in the end Rob came up with the brilliant idea of them being a boy band and he wrote up the initial script. So it’s a real team effort — everyone brings something to the table and it’s been really fun and exciting to work together on these cartoons. READ MORE
Season three of Happy Endings has been humming along quite nicely, even if it is flying a bit under the radar. With the recent news of Happy Endings and Apartment 23 replacing the slot left by 666 Park Avenue on Sundays at 10pm, it seems clear that ABC is looking to burn through its remaining episodes from this season. It's not certain death for the show, however — ABC needed to make room for other shows to premiere. But still, not great news. But on the bright side, with both comedies slated to be off the schedule by March, at least we won't have to wait until the summer for the entire third season.
The biggest change from last season to this one has been in its structure. In season two, we got to see a great comedy series that didn't care about multi-episode story arcs or recurring themes throughout the season — we just got fast-paced episodes filled with jokes and brilliant one-liners. This season, the series has started to lean more in the other direction. We're seeing some arcs and themes (Penny and Pete, Brad's manhood) show up across multiple episodes. READ MORE