The 2002 oral history of Live From New York by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales will see a new edition, slated for a September 1 publication. The Hollywood Reporter secured several of its politically-focused excerpts, written since it’s original publication in 2003.
The new release features 200 added pages penned by SNL cast, writers and guest hosts, including Tina Fey and the 2008 vice presidential candidate she portrayed, Sarah Palin.
On segments pertaining to the 2008 election:
Lorne Michaels, executive producer: ”We were contacted by, I think, Howard Wolfson from Hillary [Clinton's] campaign, and they wanted to do the first show of the season. [Barack] Obama was heating up, but they called first, so I said OK. You have to play by those rules. And then, the week of, they bailed. I went, “Really? You called us, and we gave it to you.” I think every now and then I get carried away and think we actually do have influence. And then, after that, we put Obama on the date when Hillary was supposed to be on. The sense of entitlement which was following her everywhere at that point peaked for me at the bailing.”
On political impersonations:
James Downey, producer-writer: ”If I had to describe Obama as a comedy project, I would say, “Degree of difficulty, 10 point 10.” It’s like being a rock climber looking up at a thousand-foot-high face of solid obsidian, polished and oiled. There’s not a single thing to grab onto — certainly not a flaw or hook that you can caricature. [Al] Gore had these “handles,” so did Bush, and Sarah Palin, and even Hillary had them. But with Obama, it was the phenomenon — less about him and more about the effect he had on other people and the way he changed their behavior. So that’s the way I wrote him.”
Check out THR’s piece on it here.