79 Brutal Takedowns of Lorne Michaels for His 79th Birthday

79 Brutal Takedowns of Lorne Michaels for His 79th Birthday

If comedians only roast the ones they adore, then Lorne Michaels is going to really be feeling the love on his 79th birthday this week. With that many candles creating a dangerous fire hazard, we decided to decorate the cake of the legendary Saturday Night Live producer with 79 sick burns from the cast, writers and celebrity guests who helped him ascend to his lofty comedy throne. Happy birthday, big guy.

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Journalist Chris Smith

“Executive producer Lorne Michaels still hasn’t figured out how to put the fun back in dysfunctional.” (New York Magazine)

Jenny Slate

“I have no idea how Lorne felt about me. All I know is, it didn’t work for me, and I got fired.” (InStyle)

Jane Curtin

“I would say, ‘Why aren’t you doing something about John (Belushi)? I found him going through my purse. He set your loft on fire. His behavior is reprehensible. He’s not coming to rehearsals, or if he does come, he comes three hours late. Do something!’ And he didn’t. He would just sort of throw his hands in the air. Lorne doesn’t deal with issues.” (Live From New York: The Complete Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live )

Authors Doug Hill and Jeff Weingrad

“(Lorne) became a different man: imperious, even regal. … No longer a slightly scruffy, ambitious, romantic Young Turk. … He would withdraw into his own center. He created an enormous black hole, an impermeable mirror.” (Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live

Adam Sandler

Between seasons, I heard a rumor
That I was getting the sack
I tried to call Lorne Michaels
But he never called me back

Julia Sweeney

“I could not take one fucking more Friday night, trying to get in to see Lorne, outside of Lorne’s office on the ninth floor, with this bevy of girls, and their latest outfits and their magazines and their fingernail polish, on the phone, making sure that Steve Martin got the flowers on his anniversary, even though he’s broken up with Victoria Tennant, and the hilarious note that Lorne wrote to Steve Martin that has to go with the flowers, which must be birds-of-paradise! They’d slip in and out of Lorne’s office going, ‘Shush! Lorne’s in a very bad mood today.’” (New York Magazine)

Rosie Shuster

“Talking to Lorne is like talking to tundra.” (New York Magazine)

Albert Brooks

“Once the show took off and the Not Ready for Prime Time Players had started to become famous, having me out on the other coast was… I really wasn’t needed anymore. I wasn’t part of (Lorne’s) group. And because I had contractual demands about when and how the films would run, I just became a pain in the neck. I was resented.” (The Playboy Interview: Funny People

A ‘Recently Departed ‘SNL’ Star’

“You could always tell when the Knicks or the opera were in town. That’s the only time Lorne made sure the Wednesday-night script read-through started on schedule.” (New York Magazine)

Norm Macdonald

“He is quietly confident, smart, funny, and he always carries a dagger. These four qualities combine to make for an intimidating man.” (Based on a True Story: Not a Memoir

An Ex-Cast Member

“Lorne wants people to feel insecure. It’s the same techniques cults use — they keep you up for hours, they never let you know that you’re okay, and they always make you think that your spot could be taken at any moment by someone else.” (New York Magazine)

Conan O’Brien

“He has a standard joke if you’re a rookie writer and he doesn’t know you that well. He passed me in the hall once, and he said, ‘Still with the show?’ Then he acted mildly surprised, as if to say, ‘I thought we got rid of you.’ And that’s his little joke: ‘Still with the show?’” (Live From New York: The Complete Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live )

Mark Hamill

“I was asked to host Fridays, which was ABCs answer to SNL. And I think — Im not sure, again, Im just speculating — but I have a feeling that that might have been a factor in not being thought favorably of by Lorne Michaels." (Esquire)

Tina Fey

“When you work for SNL, Lorne is such a huge part of your life. It’s like the movie The Paper Chase. The guy idolizes his professor and thinks the professor is messing with him. At the end of the movie the student finally has the courage to talk to him, but the professor doesn’t even know who he is. That’s what it’s like with Lorne.” (The Playboy Interview: Funny People

An Ex-‘SNL’ Star with Personal Experience

“To your face, Lorne always wants to be the hero and Santa Claus. But if you try to do a movie that Lorne’s not producing, Brillstein-Grey will let you know he’s not happy.” (New York Magazine)

Bob Odenkirk Being A Little Facetious

“You’re the boss, so you must be out-of-touch. I find you to be distant, cold, imperious, unnecessarily intimidating.” (Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama: A Memoir )

A Man Who Knows Michaels Well from the Early Years of ‘SNL’

“He wants to be a legend, and he would have LEGENDARY tattooed in his underwear if it were possible.” (New York Magazine)

Michael Shannon

“I think Lorne Michaels is scared of me or thinks I smell funny or something.” (Variety’s Awards Circuit Podcast)

A ‘Longtime Friend’

“He thinks of himself as the fundamental sophisticated New Yorker. It’s one of the weird keys to Lorne’s real personality.” (New York Magazine)

Carol Burnett After Years of Being Dissed by Michaels

“I would not be interested (in hosting SNL). That’s all I can say.” (Fox News Digital)

A Man Who Knows Michaels Well from the Early Years of ‘SNL’

“Lorne always wanted to be admired — revered, even. Which is different from being famous. Different from being rich. And different from being sexy.” (New York Magazine)

Chris Rock

“Lorne hired me because I was funny and because In Living Color had just come on. I don’t think it was coincidence.” (The Playboy Interview: Funny People

Ellen Cleghorne

“There’s no Black writers on the show — this is 1995, and I feel like I’m in a really bad sci-fi movie where all the Black people already got killed, and I’m next.” (New York Magazine)

‘SNL’ Stage Manager Joe Dicso

“He always had an answer, quick and offhanded, not friendly. Lorne was full of ‘exactlys’ and ‘ahhs’ and ‘of courses.’ ‘Ahh’ meant he’d made a mistake. There were no apologies.” (Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live

Jon Lovitz

“Personally, I didn’t think it was fair (missing out on a movie role), because my contract was up and I thought, you know, I did a really good job for five years and I just asked him to miss the first two shows. Lorne later admitted it was a mistake and he should’ve done it that way. For me personally, it’s kind of upsetting, because I really wanted to stay.” (Live From New York: The Complete Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live )

Jennifer Aniston

“I was so young and dumb and I went into Lorne’s office and I was like, ‘I hear women are not respected on this show. I don’t remember exactly what I said next, but it was something like, ‘I would prefer if it were like the days of Gilda Radner and Jane Curtin.' I mean, it was such a boys’ club back then.” (The Hollywood Reporter)

Rob Riggle

“I’m always grateful that I got the dream-come-true to be on that show. But I wouldn’t say it’s not dysfunctional.” (Daily Beast)

Michaela Watkins

“Everybody was presented with contracts except for two people. It is a little rude. It’s like (Lorne said), ‘I just want to say, I love everybody but two of you.’” (Daily Beast)

Sarah Jessica Parker

“I’d come into his office, and he’d put his head down and not pay attention. I decided I wouldn’t take it personally that he wasn’t talking to me. If I had been my normal self, I would have really flipped out, because I would have thought, He doesn’t like me at all.” (New York Magazine)

Jay Pharoah

“They put people into boxes. And they want you do what they expect you to do.” (Hot 97)

Rudy Giuliani After Michaels Asked If ‘SNL’ Could Go Back to Being Funny After 9/11

“Why start now?” 

Paul Mooney on Writing Richard Pryor’s Notorious Job Interview Sketch

“Easiest sketch I ever write. All I do is bring out what is going on beneath the surface of that interview with Lorne and the NBC execs in the jai alai greenroom.” (Becoming Richard Pryor

David Spade

“One of the many wise things Lorne tells each cast member early on is that ‘people will tell you you’re the funniest person on the show. You’re not.’ That kind of cold reality really takes your legs out from under you right out of the gate.” (Almost Interesting)

Jay Mohr

“To some people in the entertainment community — and certainly many former cast members — Lorne Michaels was downright diabolical. To them, Lorne was a man who would step on his grandmother’s throat to make a nickel. He was daft and put on airs. He was completely out of touch, notably with how uncool he had become. He also had no recollection of how cool he once was.” (Gasping for Airtime: Two Years in the Trenches of Saturday Night Live

Tina Fey

“I could have never guessed that in a few years I’d be sitting in that office at two, three, four in the morning, thinking, ‘If this meeting doesn’t end soon, I’m going to kill this Canadian bastard.’” (Bossypants)

Harry Shearer

“I would say that when the first words that a guy says to you when he’s offering you a job are, quote, I’ve never really hired a male Jew for the company before. I’ve always gone for the Chicago Catholic thing,’ unquote, that puts you on a certain notice that the relationship is going to be interesting.” (Live From New York: The Complete Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live )

Groundlings Comic John Paragon

“I was told that Lorne had a way of punishing and rewarding. He would pull a sketch or replace an actor in a sketch, depending on whether or not they pleased him — like Captain Bligh. My experience was that he was totally hands on and a control freak.” (You Might Remember Me: The Life and Times of Phil Hartman

Colin Jost

“There was zero rehearsal for what was probably one of the most important moments in all of our lives. I remember that halfway through the auditions, I was so angry at Lorne for not letting us rehearse that I actually got better. My skills were sharpened by rage, like Mel Gibson in Braveheart, or Mel Gibson in The Patriot, or Mel Gibson during a routine traffic stop.” (A Very Punchable Face: A Memoir

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