Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Anne Beatts Off

Like many of you, I watched the mammoth 3 &1/2 hour long Saturday Night Live 40 Year Anniversary Show.

Unlike many of you, and in a tip to today's amazing technology, I did not watch the live show live. And instead watched the semi-live, semi-taped show at my convenience off the DVR.

While I greatly enjoyed the show, I'd be lying if I told you I didn't feel the pain of melancholy and nostalgia.

More so than most I suspect.

Because Saturday Night Live was more than just a weekend diversion, a reason to sit around with college buddies, get stoned and laugh like a cranked up hyena.

For me, it was a dream.

I didn't know how it would happen or when it would happen, but I was certain I was going to get a job as a writer at 30 Rockefeller Center. Talk about naive, clueless and entitled.

One cold snowy night in Syracuse, in the foggy haze brought on by a 6 pack of Genny Cream Ale and some brownies baked with Adirondack Green (hemp that would have been more useful for making rope), I decided to begin my campaign. I wrote a letter to one of the original writers on staff -- Anne Beatts.

Why Anne Beats? Because you can't make lazy masturbation puns with names like O'Donohue and Zweibel.

I don't have a copy of the initial letter, but it's safe to say it was sophomoric, cheap and riddled with grammatical and spelling errors. Not unlike the previous 1200 posts on this blog.

You can imagine my shock and my joy, when I received a personally written letter in return. Signed and sealed on official Saturday Night Live stationary. Anne Beatts was impressed with my ability to work her odd name into so many sentences that all ended with...Anne Beatts off.

I pictured her and the rest of the SNL writing crew gathered on the couch at Studio 8H, drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes and reading my missive aloud. I imagined loud guffaws. Spit takes. And Lorne Michaels getting on the horn with the folks in HR…

"Draft up an offer letter. I'm sure we can get this Siegel character to drop out of college and start working here immediately."

Of course that's not how the real world works at all.

Ms. Beatts had 10+ years on me at the time, on the cusp of becoming the prototypical Cougar. She was probably thinking, maybe I can get this young college kid to come to my Chelsea town home, slip him a stiff drink and throw me a good one.

Or maybe not.

The correspondence went back and forth a few times. But stopped when it became clear I had nothing else to offer but lame chicken-choking euphemisms.

The truth is, that while I wanted so badly to be a writer for SNL, I wasn't ready. And passion is a poor substitute for a portfolio.

Five years later, I still wasn't ready.
Ten years, nope.
Even twenty years later, still not ready.

The irony is, only now do I feel I could walk into those hallowed hallways and knock out a commercial parody. Or a skit. Or even a newscast that could compete with what goes on the air.

Maybe I should fish my old IBM Selectric II typewriter out of the garage and dash something off to SNL.

If I could only find a clever way to work in Lorne Michael's name with the phrase -- making stomach pancakes.

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