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

gary_kroeger_needlemanIt 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 decided on the spot to make us the new cast. We were so excited we couldn’t contain ourselves. I even did something stupid like announce “Live from the Practical Theatre it’s Saturday Night!” before our finale started.

That’s the good part of the story. The less good part is…we were hired to light a fire under Eddie Murphy, who was already emerging as a superstar. We were introduced to the existing cast and writers, not as an addition, per se, but as competition. We’d do our thing, they’d do their thing.

Problem was, our thing had no credibility yet and we were more or less left by Dick and Bob to fend for ourselves. Perhaps they thought that was the best environment to bring out our best.

It wasn’t. READ MORE