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Live from New York by Tom Shales

Live from New York (2002)

by Tom Shales, James Andrew Miller

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1,311199,624 (3.79)3
James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales's definitive oral history of Saturday Night Live, hailed as "incredible" (Vulture) and "required reading" (People), rollickingly updated with nearly 100 new pages covering the decade since the book's original release. When first published to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Saturday Night Live, LIVE FROM NEW YORK was immediately proclaimed the best book ever produced on the landmark and legendary late-night show. In their own words, unfiltered and uncensored, a dazzling galaxy of trail-blazing talents recalled three turbulent decades of on-camera antics and off-camera escapades. Now a fourth decade has passed---and bestselling authors James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales have returned to Studio 8H. Over more than 100 pages of new material, they raucously and revealingly take the SNL story up to the present, adding a constellation of iconic new stars, surprises, and controversies.… (more)

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This is the second oral history I've read, the first being the Daily Show: An Oral History which came out in 2016, so quite a bit after 'Live From New York'. Different authors, similar format - are these oral history books people are putting out connecting in any way or are people just aping style? I think the Daily Show was put together a bit better, but since it's all interviews they probably just had better material to work with.

This book is prime time fluff, a diet soda of interviews and anecdotes. It was great. I do wish they had cut it off at 1995 (published in 2002) because the perspectives of performers (successful after their run or not) differed greatly from the perspective of performers currently on the show during their interview. It would also allow a second book to be published (in 2022?) covering 1995-2015 which would be really neat since that is more of my SNL history. (yes, I know they updated this book in 2015ish to cover new years, but that's not the copy I have and it will still suffer from the 'currently on the show' atmosphere that dulls reflection). ( )
  sarcher | Mar 22, 2018 |
The book is a series of interviews with cast members, writers, producers, hosts and anyone who had anything to do with the show. It’s written chronologically so you get a good idea how the show progresses over time. The interviews are interspersed with commentary from the authors who provide some good hindsight and fill in some blanks. The best part about the book was reading the different perspectives and experiences from everyone interviewed which paint a pretty honest story of SNL. ( )
  KatherineGregg | Nov 25, 2017 |
I like this show, and thought this book could be interesting. Specially to learn more about the phenomenon and people involved in this, with me being non-American.

But the book didn't grab me. It was a messy read, with interviews instead of clear writing and presentation. I tried to read from the very beginning and jump to the era I'm most familiar with but nah. I gave it up. ( )
  Wilwarin | May 23, 2017 |
Paul Schaefer is a scamp, Harry Shearer is a raging ego-maniac and an all-around asshole (& that's on his good days), Bill Murray (who I love as an actor) is almost sociopathically anti-social and often just plain mean, Chevy Chase is a bad man, John Belushi was a lovable but very messed up lush, Joe P. (who's actorly and comedic talents seemed to decrease in direct proportion to his increasing muscle mass) resented Eddie Murphy's success, and not one single soul has a bad thing to say about Will Ferrell. That's all in the book -- and I haven't even told you the good stuff!

(Teaser in the form of True or False Quiz: Paul Schaeffer is a legal midget; i.e., as tall or shorter than 4'11". TorF?) ( )
  evamat72 | Mar 31, 2016 |
This is a wonderfully updated and expanded edition of a book previously published in 2002. While there have been a number of other books written about Saturday Night Live over the years, and I admittedly haven't read any of them, it's hard to imagine that any gives a greater glimpse into just what makes SNL tick than this 781-page tome by James A. Miller. The chronological narrative (if you could call it that) from idea conception to the present is told via bite-sized quotes, a format which works surprisingly well for the subject. The sheer number of past and present cast, crew, hosts and executives he must have interviewed is astounding. There were many instances in which I wished this could be a multi-media experience -- for example, when reading about a particularly awkward sketch or awful episode, I of course wanted to view the footage in question right then and there. Much of the content focuses on the fascinating interpersonal relationships, an aspect of which the viewer is rarely aware. Whatever you conclude about producer Lorne Michaels' personality, he is unarguably a TV god. Oh, and I'm pretty stoked that Al Franken is now my US Senator. ( )
  ryner | Jan 10, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Shales, Tomprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Miller, James Andrewmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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QUIS SUPERABIT? Who Shall Excel them?

Opening frames. the Charge of the Light Brigade,
Warner Bros., 1936
With undying love to my children, Zachary, Sophie, and Chloe. --J.A.M.

To John Carmody - distinguished colleague, irreplaceable friend. --T.S.
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ROSIE SHUSTER, Writer: Lorne Michaels arrived in my life before puberty, let's put it that way.
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