SNL boss Lorne Michaels explains why some comedians can’t handle being on show

SNL boss Lorne Michaels explains why some comedians can’t handle being on show

Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels has revealed why he thinks some comedians can’t handle being on the show.

The sketch comedy series has been running for nearly 50 years, giving stars including Eddie Murphy, Mike Myers, Bill Murray, Robert Downey Jr, and Amy Poehler their big break. It’s known for poking fun at celebrities and providing satirical political commentary, including reactions to former US president Donald Trump’s hush-money trial.

But the 79-year-old TV writer and film producer has said not everyone is cut out for it.

“If you were the funniest kid in the class, or your school, and then you’re working professionally and everyone else in the room is that,” Michaels told the New York Times. “It can be upsetting or can be really stimulating.”

Michaels, who is the most Emmy-nominated individual in the award show’s history, added that the ensuing exposure is difficult to handle for some.

“No one can handle the fame. Generally, we’re more tolerant of it,” he continued. “But you know people are going to turn into a**holes. Because it’s just part of that process, because no one grew up that way.”

He also gave advice to those eager to leave the programme to do TV work and movies.

“Build a bridge to the next thing, and when it’s solid enough, walk across. But don’t leave on the first thing, because you don’t know what’s really out there.”

While the cast for the forthcoming 50th season of SNL has not been announced, the Tonight Show producer continued to shut down rumours that he would be retiring.

Michaels shut down rumours he would be retiring (Getty Images)
Michaels shut down rumours he would be retiring (Getty Images)

“I’m going to do it as long as I feel I can do it. But I rely on other people and always have,” he said.

Michaels left the show in 1980 to pursue other opportunities, but eventually returned in 1985 after some of his replacements endured a series of bad reviews.

He appears to have a close relationship with his stars, with John Mulaney recently sharing the advice the writer gave him during his struggle with addiction.

Michaels reminded Mulaney of the death of John Belushi, one of the original cast members of the long-running NBC programme. Belushi was 33-years-old when he died of an accidental drug overdose of heroin and cocaine following a days-long binge in 1982.

The 41-year-old opened up about his recovery during an interview on David Letterman’s new Netflix show, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction.

Having checked himself into rehab in December 2020, Mulaney received an hour-long phone call from Michaels in which the boss offered a warning.

“He goes, ‘I knew John Belushi for seven years. I’ve been talking about him for 48 years, because that’s the shrapnel that happens when someone goes down like that,’” Mulaney told Letterman.