ad info

Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback  





Bush signs order opening 'faith-based' charity office for business

Rescues continue 4 days after devastating India earthquake

DaimlerChrysler employees join rapidly swelling ranks of laid-off U.S. workers

Disney's is a goner


4:30pm ET, 4/16









CNN Websites
Networks image

Larry King Live

The Cast and Crew of 'SNL' Preview Their 'Presidential Bash 2000'

Aired November 3, 2000 - 9:00 p.m. ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, they nail the 2000 presidential debates. Get on, and help make campaign humor a very serious business. Joining us to celebrate 25 years of political satire on "Saturday Night Live," the creator and executive producer of "SNL," Lorne Michaels, cast member, Darrell Hammond. Al Gore may have stopped sighing because of him. Tina Fey, "SNL's" first female head writer and a co-anchor of "Weekend Update." "Update's" other co-anchor is with us, Jimmy Fallon. Plus, Jim Downey, writer for the Gore-Bush Debate sketches and producer of "Saturday Night Live's Presidential Bash 2000."

More coming next on "LARRY KING LIVE".

This Sunday night, November 5, two days before the election, on NBC, "Saturday Night Live" will air a special called "SNL's Presidential Bash 2000." We have cast members and writers with us for the full hour tonight. This is Friday, we are closing in on the election.

Lorne, how did this special come about?

LORNE MICHAELS, CREATOR & EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": Well, we did one of these in 1992. And that went well. And then eight years later they called us and asked if we would do another one. And here we are.

KING: And what effect does that have on Saturday night's show?

MICHAELS: I think the two will be operating on separate tracks. We've been, Jim has been overseeing the election special and we've done some pre-taping for it. And also, as we go, as we've been doing debate sketches as we've been doing political pieces in the last few shows, they get integrated into the show if they're, in fact, better than what's already there.

KING: And they do very well, these specials, as I understand it.

MICHAELS: We did well in '92.

KING: You got both candidates to appear.

MICHAELS: Yes, yes.

KING: How did you pull that off?

MICHAELS: I think we asked them.

KING: Oh, the old asking bit.

MICHAELS: I think most things happened because someone calls the office and asks if you would mind showing up and they were great about it. And they came in and they weren't here at the same time, but they were here within the same hour, I think.

KING: All right, Jim Downey, will they from a side standpoint? open the show? the two actual candidates?

JIM DOWNEY, PRODUCER, "SNL'S PRESIDENTIAL BASH 2000": Yes, I don't think I'm giving anything away when I they're right at the beginning and perhaps later in the show, too.

KING: And did they agree to poke fun at themselves?

DOWNEY: After a while, they came to terms with it, yes.

MICHAELS: Actually, I think they were both great about it. And I think that the writing was very crisp and I think that it dealt with the images that they both have been projecting and that we've been doing about them on the show. And they were both, I think, very, very good about it.

KING: From a production standpoint, Jim Downey, is this more difficult than a typical "Saturday Night Live" when you're limited to one subject matter, an election?

DOWNEY: We had -- we have 25 years of material in theory that we can choose from, so, in a way, that makes it hard and easy. If we want to feel that we are being fair, so you have to consider virtually everything that we've done. On the other hand, getting to boil it down to two hours makes me pretty confident that there's a good half hour there, Larry.

MICHAELS: But I think we did a debate in 1976 when Ford-Carter was, I think, the first time we did a debate sketch. And Chevy had been playing the president for the better part of a year. And we went to the Democratic convention, which was in New York City then, and I think it was the beginning, because it was just after Watergate. I think it was just in the DNA of the show that we've been doing this kind of comedy since the beginning. And I think it heats up more as we get closer to an election.

KING: Tina, I know you're the first female writing supervisor in the history of "SNL," right? Do you consider yourself a writer who acts, or an actor who writes?

TINA FEY, HEAD WRITER, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": Well, I got my start at The Second City in Chicago where we do both at the same time, kind of for improvisation. So, I think of myself as both, I guess. The last three years I've been a writer, so now. KING: Darrell Hammond, this is your sixth year with "Saturday Night Live." You've played Gore, Clinton, Giuliani, Koppel, Donaldson, Leno, Philbin and many others. What's your particular -- you look very engrossed in this.


KING: What is your role Sunday night? You will be whom.

HAMMOND: I guess I would be doing probably Koppel and Clinton, you know. Those are primarily...

KING: That's your bag.

HAMMOND: Well, that's primarily the political people that I've played since I've been here, yes.

MICHAELS: I think his Al Gore will definitely be.

KING: You should have been Gore, yes.

And Jimmy Fallon, who has co-anchored the "Weekend Update," joined as a feature player two years ago, promoted to cast member just last year.

What's your role Sunday night?


KING: You'll be a viewer?

FALLON: Yes, I'll be watching the show in my studio apartment Sunday night.

KING: They bumped you.

FALLON: I think I might have gotten bumped off that. I'm not sure, you know. That's what you're going to find out with the show. You kind of just roll with the punches. I'm having a party if you want to come over, Larry. I've got some room on my futon.

KING: Interactive television, you could be a viewer who calls in.

FALLON: We could put that on, now, with the Internet and everything. That's a good idea, Larry.

KING: We will take a break. This big one is coming up Sunday night.

There they are, the "Saturday Night Live" crew. Don't go away.


ACTOR PLAYING GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, well, well, if it isn't the co-mayors of Nerd Town. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's up, George W.? Did you party it up last night?

ACTOR PLAYING GEORGE W. BUSH: Naw, dude, I couldn't. The rents are in town. Spent the whole week going to bed at 8:00 and smoking out the bathroom window.




ACTOR PLAYING JIMMY CARTER: Peter, what did the acid look like?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were these little orange pills.

ACTOR PLAYING JIMMY CARTER: Were they barrel shaped?


ACTOR PLAYING JIMMY CARTER: OK, right, you did some orange sunshine, Peter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very good of you to know that, sir.

ACTOR PLAYING JIMMY CARTER: How long ago did you take it, Peter?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know. I can't read my watch.

ACTOR PLAYING JIMMY CARTER: All right, Peter, just listen. Everything is going to be fine. You're very high right now. You will probably be that way for about five more hours. Try taking some vitamin B complex, vitamin C complex. If you have a beer, go ahead and drink it. Just remember you're a living organism on this planet. And you're very safe. You've taken a heavy drug. Relax, stay inside and listen to some music, OK? Do you have any Allman Brothers?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I do, sir. Everything is OK, huh Jimmy?

ACTOR PLAYING JIMMY CARTER: It sure is, Peter. You know, I'm against drug use myself, but I'm not going to lay that on you right now. Just mellow out the best you can.


KING: Lorne Michaels, do you think having the candidates themselves come on, while certainly a tribute to the program and everything, at all trivializes the election? I mean, you're doing a whole two-hour satire and the people you're satirizing are part of the show. That's really McEwen (ph) come true.

MICHAELS: Right, but when Ron Nessen hosted in April of 1976, he was President Ford's press secretary. President Ford came on and did "Live from New York, it's Saturday night."

KING: And it may have started with George Schlatter old "Laugh- In" when Nixon went on, right?

MICHAELS: Yes, I was a kid writer.

KING: With George?

MICHAELS: Yes, on that show, yes, and I remember being amazed at it, that he was actually just there and he did sock it to me.

KING: Darrell Hammond, do you think it trivializes it at all when they're actually there and now humor is as part of the American political scene as anything else?

HAMMOND: I'm not sure that it trivializes it. I mean, I'm a little surprised when I hear people say that we're affecting the election. I mean mostly because I've never done anything that was meaningful and funny at the same time.


HAMMOND: Yes, I mean, I could get a couple yucks but it was usually, you know, pretty hacky stuff.

KING: Tina, what do you think?

FEY: Well, I think it's pretty amazing that this special is going to be on so soon before the election. That impresses me that -- a lot of times people will come on and do stuff either early before or after things are over. But I think it's a great and easy way -- if you come on and show you have a sense of humor, you're showing right away that you're human and you're intelligent because you get the joke. It's a great way for them to be seen and it's probably a lower risk than it seems like for them. Less risky than a debate.

KING: Jim Downey, you could not have pictured this in, say, Lincoln's time?

DOWNEY: No, there were all kinds of problems with Lincoln doing it. But no, no, I'm shocked that they're doing it. I'm very happy that they agreed. I think it probably has a lot do with what's gone in the last few years.

KING: Comedy is now an essential part -- if you avoid it, you look like you're uptight?

HAMMOND: Yes, and I think that the people who are running are the age of the original audience of the show.

KING: Jimmy Fallon, what do you think?

FALLON: I don't think it's really like -- I think, like, the first time when President Clinton played the saxophone on "Arsenio Hall" or something, I thought that was always bizarre. I said, well, that was interesting that he could do other things besides politics but I'm happy that they are letting us write it as opposed to them thinking up their humor.

KING: Can we say, not just to plug the title of my book, but can we say, Lorne, when you get down to it, anything goes?

MICHAELS: You know, considering that these campaigns are managed, you know, down to, you know, the quarter of an inch, I think that it's not as if they're come in a risky situation. There's probably a greater risk facing Tim Russert or going on your show than there is coming in and doing a sketch that's been written, that they don't really have control over, but that they're just part of.

KING: Let's come back. Let's discuss the effect on the process. On Sunday night, you're going to see lots of highlight tapes over the years of great satire on "Saturday Night Live" and it's been said this year that they've had an effect just by showing Al Gore, how he did in the debate. Gore watched it and apparently changed. Do they think they impact? We'll come right back.


ACTOR PLAYING JIM LEHRER: Mr. Vice President during this campaign you frequently called the Bush tax plan a risky scheme. Why?

ACTOR PLAYING AL GORE: Well, Jim, Governor Bush and I have two very different plans to offer tax relief to American families. In his plan, the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans would receive nearly 50 percent of the benefits.

My plan, Jim, is different. Rather than squander the surplus on a risky tax cut for the wealthy, I would put it in what I call a lockbox.

ACTOR PLAYING JIM LEHRER: Governor Bush, your response?

ACTOR PLAYING GEORGE W. BUSH: I don't know what that was all about.




ACTOR PLAYING AL GORE: Let me here tonight issue a warning to the enemies or potential enemies of the United States. You may think you know the location of the lockbox, and maybe you do or maybe that's a decoy or a dummy lock box.


KING: Jim Downey, concerning the Gore-Bush debate sketches -- and we'll see a few repeats of them Sunday -- "New York" magazine political columnist Lawrence O'Donnell called them the most important political writing of this election year. Gore's aides reportedly showed him the parody first debate to illustrate where he went wrong. And Downey, you wrote some of the sketches. Hammond played Gore, Ferrell played Bush. Would you think you've impacted this campaign, Jim Downey? DOWNEY: I think Larry O'Donnell knew what he was talking about when he said that. I don't want to be in a position of saying that it had any great effect on -- I can't believe that was the only time he was told about certain things he was doing.

KING: But there's something, isn't there, about humor, Jim that hits home harder than if five pundits on "Meet the Press" say we think he could have looked better?

DOWNEY: Well, I guess to the extent you might feel that something you're about doing is getting people laughing at you it's worse than if a they disapprove of it and write thoughtful columns about it.

KING: Tina Fey, now you worked with "Second City," right? So you've been into writing stuff like this, isn't satire the most difficult form?

FEY: Yes, it's easy to come up with your point of view and the rabid thing you want to say, but then the next step of making sure that is still is really funny is the hardest to take. You make stuff that's really funny and says nothing or that makes a point isn't funny, so yes, it's hard to do.

KING: And Darrell Hammond, did -- mustn't satire have a point of view? It must have an opinion.

HAMMOND: I once heard Jay Leno say that an audience probably won't laugh at you unless they basically agree with what you're saying, so I think at least on that level, you know, it has to be pretty meaningful or at least have an element of the truth for the crowd.

KING: You agree, Jimmy Fallon?

FALLON: Yes, yes, I agree with everything Darrell Hammond has to say.

KING: Is that what you do, because you're a viewer basically you just agree with him?

FALLON: Yes, that's why I'm here, actually, just to make sure I get someone's back.

HAMMOND: It's part of his apprenticeship. Another 10 shows, is it.

FALLON: Yes, during the commercial I got everybody water.

KING: What do you think, Lorne?

MICHAELS: First and foremost, it has to be funny. And I think that no matter what it is you're trying to say in terms of how important it is, the audience won't connect with it and we won't put it on unless we feel that it's truly funny. And I think, you know, when it resonates as I think the debates did, people were trying to get a handle on what it was that was bothering them, and I think those -- the first debate piece just, you know articulated what everybody was saying as they were watching it when they were with their families, when they were with their friends.

KING: Is biting part -- let's go back and look at Mort Saul and early Lenny Bruce and Dick Gregory. They were strong stuff.


KING: I mean, they were both funny and hitting hard.

MICHAELS: Yes, and I think that the stuff that Lenny Bruce did that just, you know, stops your heart it's so funny, you're laughing first and then I think you're maybe thinking about it later.

KING: Excellent point. We'll come right back with more. By the way. this special airs Sunday night. There will be a regular edition of "Saturday Night Live" tomorrow night as well. This is a two-hour special on Sunday. The election is Tuesday, and, of course, CNN will be there with you Tuesday night around the clock. Monday night with a big preview as well. We'll be right back. Don't go away.


ACTOR PLAYING GEORGE BUSH: Good evening. Happy holidays to you all. Once against it's that festive season. Tonight our Jewish friends observe the fifth night of Hanukkah, the celebration of a military victory won centuries ago in a part of the world where today 400,000 brave Americans await my order to annihilate Iraq. None of us want war in that whole area out over there. But as commander-in- chief. I am ever cognizant of my authority to launch a full-scale orgy of death there in the desert sands. Probably won't, but then again, I might.




ACTOR PLAYING BILL BRADLEY: What do you got there, Al, Shredded Wheat?

ACTOR PLAYING AL GORE: Yes, Bill, I'm having Shredded Wheat for breakfast. That going to be OK with you?

ACTOR PLAYING BILL BRADLEY: I was just checking, because sometimes you can say Shredded Wheat and you're actually eating Grape Nuts, Liar Face.

ACTOR PLAYING AL GORE: Well, let me get you a heart-healthy breakfast, how about some fried eggs and a cream soda.

ACTOR PLAYING BILL BRADLEY: That's it. I challenge you to a debate.

ACTOR PLAYING AL GORE: I already told you, I'll debate you once a week.

ACTOR PLAYING BILL BRADLEY: Yes, well, I'll debate you twice a week. I don't care.

ACTOR PLAYING AL GORE: I'll debate you every day.

ACTOR PLAYING BILL BRADLEY: I'll debate you infinity.

ACTOR PLAYING AL GORE: I just debated you and you didn't even know it.



KING: Darrell, is Gore easy to do?

HAMMOND: I think he's like the hardest, hardest voice I've ever done. You know, when I started trying to do him last year, you know, it seemed to me that he was just a Southern baritone with sort of a drawl to it. But it's really much more than that. And I'm not a speech therapist or anything, but I think that he shows more sides of himself than any politician I've ever seen. I think that everyone, you know, sounds a little different at different times of the day, depending on whom they're speaking to. And I could be wrong about all of this, but I've never seen anyone, any politician like that, anyway.

KING: From a producing standpoint, Jim Downey, finding these people, selecting who will do Gore, who will do this, I mean, we had some obvious, Dana Carvey was an obvious Perot and Bush, right?

Was it hard to find Darrell as Gore?

DOWNEY: Well, I had been told that Darrell was a speech therapist. You can imagine I'm in a quiet fury I right now. I've been had. But I mean Darrell was the obvious choice for Gore. Darrell is the guy who, he does his impressions out of all these little tiny observations like a guy who makes miniature -- it's like a guy who makes miniature ships in a bottle or something and Darrell was the only guy who can put together a Gore.

KING: Lorne, have you had favorites over the years? I mean, Dana Carvey's Perot and Bush obviously two of your favorites.

MICHAELS: There was a point at which I remember watching Dana do George Bush where he was, in a sense, credible as George Bush. If he was opening the show and talking to the nation he seemed presidential and I think Darrell in the last couple years as Clinton had the same power. I think with Chevy, when we were first doing Ford or when Dan Aykroyd was doing Carter, I think because Chevy made no effort to look like Gerald Ford, or it was tough enough getting him to dress like Gerald Ford, I think that the way he threw it away was truly I funny. And the fact he was as goofy about it as he was, I think, gave it a real style.

I think you can get lost in prosthetics. You can get lost in make-up. And I think that what really works is if you get the attitude right and something seems, you know, the impression is right.

KING: Concerning the update sketches, Tina, do you write them?

FEY: I write for them. There's a few writers upstairs that write them all week and then I usually come in on Thursday afternoon and join them. And I write as many jokes as I can and Jimmy writes a bunch of jokes and they write and then we sort of sit down late Friday night and pick through the best of them.

KING: Jimmy, isn't one of the toughest things about being on "Saturday Night Live" the shoes you step into?

FALLON: Yes, these shoes I'm wearing right now are Eddie Murphy's. We're on a tight budget here.

KING: Some terrific people have co-hosted updates.

FALLON: Yes, the way I looked at it is that it's just another cool aspect of the show that you can learn something. I don't really know much about the news. You know, I don't really pay that much attention to it. But now I have to because I have to read these names.

KING: Are you telling us that you're basically dumb? Are you saying that, Jimmy? you don't know the news?

FALLON: What I am saying is I don't know how to say Slobodan Milosevic.

KING: You and the governor. Anyway, we will have him ponder that a little. We will come back, reintroduce, and we have got an addition coming to the panel as well. Don't go away.


ACTOR PLAYING JIM LEHRER: Last week in Serbian elections, we saw the apparent defeat of president Slobodan Milosevic by challenger Vojislav Kostunica, yet Milosevic refused to step aside. As president, would you apply pressure on Milosevic and openly aide Kostunica and his Novia Serbskaya (ph) party, or by working with neighbors such as Karadon Ragonovic (ph) of Croatia, Istivan Kajnoinsy (ph) of Hungary, or Anton Paslagaros (ph) of Greece?

ACTOR PLAYING GEORGE W. BUSH: First of all, I think that any instability in that first country you mentioned is troubling, and clearly the second guy you spoke of beat the first guy.




ACTOR PLAYING GERALD FORD: And if he has any other competition right up to the end of 1976. Thank you. No problem. And if I don't win, I will continue to run in the primaries, even if there are none. Now for my second announcement, live from New York, it's Saturday night.


KING: This Sunday night on NBC: its "SNL's Presidential Bash 2000." They did one in 1992 as well. Of course, they have been satirizing politics for 25 years. A lot of highlights of those years will be on the show. Let's reintroduce our panel, and we've got an added member, we'll let know about him in a moment. Lorne Michaels is the creator and executive producer of "Saturday Night Live." It's the longest running highest rated late night TV program in television history. And he is the exec producer of the special on Sunday. Darrell Hammond is in his sixth season, and he's done impressions of Gore, Clinton, Giuliani, Koppel, Donaldson, Leno, Philbin and many others. Tina Fey is the co-anchor of "Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update." She was named the writing supervisor in 1999, the first female head writer in the history of the show. Been a staff writer since '97.

Jimmy Fallon is the co-anchor of "SNL's Weekend Update" despite not understanding anything about the news which is how he got that part. He joined "SNL" as a feature player in '98, promoted to cast member in '99. Jimmy Downey is the producer of "SNL's Presidential Bash 2000. He wrote the debate sketches for this season's "SNL," feature player as well in '79 and '80. And now joining us is Steve Higgins. Steve is a producer at "Saturday Night Live" and this is his sixth season with the show.

And what is your role, Steve, Sunday night.

STEVE HIGGINS, PRODUCER, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": My role Sunday night, I'll be with Jimmy on his futon.

KING: You're going to the party. Has Lorne assigned you a specific role?

HIGGINS: To make sure Jimmy's futon doesn't get too messy. Kind of sweep up around the place. I know his doorman, so...

KING: Is this, guys, a thin line? We'll start with you. Lorne, and then go around. This a thin line here between overboard and in good taste?

MICHAELS: I think we're back and forth over that line all the time. When it doesn't work it's the called overboard and when it does work it's in perfect taste.

KING: All right, in that context, was, Jimmy Downey, was Monica Lewinsky tough? The things you had to deal with dealing with her?

DOWNEY: The only thing for me about Monica Lewinsky was it was sort of fish in a barrel and I think it's more fun when you have something that not everybody on the planet is telling you, oh, my God, you must be going to town with Monica Lewinsky. You know, it's just more fun when you get to feel that you discovered something maybe or were part of a small group of people that had some time with it to develop it. That thing hit so fast and so massively, it wasn't my favorite period of political satire, I have to say.

KING: Are some things, Steve Higgins, funny as they are? In other words, there's so much in and of themselves funny that you can't satirize it well?

HIGGINS: Sometimes, you know, but I think you can always, like Jim did on the debates, when you point up something a little more than it happens it's always fun because with the Lewinsky thing it was again, every barroom in America. Jimmy's apartment was crazy during these months, and, you know, so it's nice to just have something that's actually saying that's a little more depth.

KING: But a lot is expected, Darrell, don't you think, people expect thing of "Saturday Night Live." They know if an event -- if George Bush whispers off-stage to his vice president running mate about a reporter, we expect something about that Saturday night, do we not?

HAMMOND: I think so. And, you know, that's part of being on the show. There is some pressure on and I mean, for my part, if I'm learning a voice or something, at least I have Lorne and Steve here to tell me if I'm doing it, you know, well enough. And without that I may -- sometimes I can't tell so I feel very confident when they say they think something is ready to go, you know. I just go ahead and relax or try.

KING: When you find a voice, like let's say, Clinton. Give us a little Clinton?

HAMMOND: Anything in particular?

KING: All right. You want me to ask him a question as an example?


KING: You have not been called upon, Mr. President, by the vice president a great deal to go out and campaign for him. Does that discourage you? Are you embittered? How do you feel?

HAMMOND: First of all, north and south, east and west, we are a great nation and our best days are still ahead. Thank you and God bless America.

KING: Strayed a little off message there.

HAMMOND: Oh, absolutely.

KING: Always stray off message.

HAMMOND: Oh, yes. KING: Tina Fey, is it a thin line? Is it tough to write, say, a sketch when you're dealing with a Monica Lewinsky, because in and of itself you know everyone in America is doing jokes?

FEY: Yes, everybody is doing jokes. It was an interesting time dealing with the standards department too because there were things that were in the Starr report that we're not allowed to say, so there was a lot of finagling over language.

KING: In other words, Dan Rather could read the Starr report, you couldn't?

FEY: Right, because our audience is a young audience. So even though we're on late at night, they kind of stay on us to not be too dirty. And I agree with Jim, it's like shooting fish in a barrel.

MICHAELS: And not to mention parents all across American having to sit down with their children and discuss oral sex. So it wasn't -- for us there was very little to be done with it.

KING: Jimmy Fallon as a viewer, how do you look at it? When you watch it at home with your producer friend Higgins?

FALLON: Yes, we usually talk about oral sex a lot. That's all he talks about, this guy. But I try to tell him to shut up after a while so I can watch the rest of the presidential bash.

KING: We'll be right back. We'll pick right up with that comment whoever was making it, right after this. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Now, Monica, tell me about the sexual liaisons you had with President Clinton inside the White House?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: OK, the last time I saw Bill was like right after Thanksgiving. He had this private screening of that movie Titanic. It was wild. God, that thing was so big and so long I couldn't believe it took two full hours for it to finally go down. I mean, I was really enjoying the whole thing but it really surprised me when it bent in the middle.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Bob Dole would never let the American presidency sink to this level.




UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: You have agreed in an attempt to put your many scandals behind you, to face your accusers in an open forum.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Yes, that is correct.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Everyone, thank you for joining us.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: All this talk about scandals is nonsense.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: All right, now Mr. President, let's give our guests a chance to tell their stories. In your own words, people, what exactly happened?


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Well, they make a good point Mr. President. Any response to these allegations?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Live from New York, it's "Saturday Night Live."

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: All right, all right, Mr. President that's gotten you out of many jams before.


KING: Lorne Michaels, has the network -- I'm going to have Darrell do some more folks and answer the questions -- but does the network come down on you a lot? Did they force to you fired Norm Macdonald, for example?

MICHAELS: It was very, very strongly suggested. I think we had -- yes, is the answer.

KING: They did? And was that painful for you?

MICHAELS: Very, very painful. It's the first time in the history of the slow that the network had stepped in and involved itself in both casting and writing, but it was as I said.

KING: It's their show.

MICHAELS: Yes, and also they had been making their case on this for a couple of years, and I was able to resist and make our case for the better part of two years, and then I think I was not able to.

KING: You do admit, don't you, that it's very tough, when you've had people like Belushi and Chevy Chase and Aykroyd and Murphy and all those, to keep that consistency and quality up? You set a very high standard for yourself early on?

MICHAELS: Yes, and I think it's always surprising when -- because people who do comedy for a living, generally the better ones know they don't know. So when anyone sets themselves up as knowing comedy and being able to say what's funny or who's funny, it's always -- I tend to be more respectful of the process.

KING: All right, Darrell, let's say you're Regis Philbin. Do you want me to ask Regis a question?

HAMMOND: Surely.



KING: Regis, you never get involved much in politics, yet you've had both of these candidates on your program. Has this stirred you now to take a greater interest and might we see more political figures in the future on "Live"?

HAMMOND: Well, you know what, I swear I cannot think of anything funny for that.


Larry, you stumped me.

KING: Is Giuliani tough to do?

HAMMOND: I don't know. It depends on whether or not you think I do it will or not. I mean, I think I do it OK.


FEY: I think you do a great job. I think when you say, "Go Yankees," that's like...

HAMMOND: Oh, "Go Yankees!"


Yes, I mean, I think, to be honest with you, I think they really all are. I mean, I base my whole approach on practicing.

KING: And how important is the look? That's as important as the voice, isn't it?

HAMMOND: I depend on Lorne and Steve for that stuff, and they tell me if the look is right. You know, we experiment around.

MICHAELS: If it looks like you're hiding and that it's just sort of makeup talking, it never works. They have to sense that you have become that person. Sometimes you need a bigger chin or sometimes you need different hair, but it can't be that that gets in the way of the impression.

KING: Are there some that you've found, Lorne, over the years impossible to do, any figures that you just couldn't come up with anyone to do them?

MICHAELS: It was very, very hard doing President Reagan, because...

KING: Really?

MICHAELS: Yes, because, one, there was nothing they didn't know about him, and two, I think he was so good at -- he was in show business, you know. So I think -- Jim did a piece years ago, which was the only sort of piece that I think worked in our years with Reagan, was playing him as a mastermind of the Iran-Contra...

KING: Yes, that was brilliant.

MICHAELS: And Phil Hartman got him brilliantly, but up to that point, there is no, you know -- people had been pointing out that he was an actor and then maybe he didn't know that much, you know, I mean, which -- none of which the audience found surprising at all. And I think you have to have a take, and it was very hard, until we found that take on Reagan, we didn't really have a take. We had sketches. We just didn't have a take.

KING: When we come back, we're going to get the panel's thoughts on the candidates this year and what's going to happen on Tuesday. On Sunday, we'll see them do their two-hour gig.


ACTOR PLAYING GEORGE W. BUSH: Man, it's cool. I'm going to be president. That's wicked.


ACTOR PLAYING GEORGE BUSH: Watch that language there.


Got to watch that language.

ACTOR PLAYING GEORGE W. BUSH: Sorry, dad. Sorry, dad.

ACTOR PLAYING GEORGE BUSH: I know you young people want to be hip. You know, you want to be like the Backstreet Boyz or Christina Aguilera.


You know, I understand, but we've got to get ready to debate Al Gore. Polls say you're neck-and-neck.

ACTOR PLAYING GEORGE W. BUSH: What a joke. He's a wimp.




ACTOR PLAYING JIMMY CARTER: ... just so long as you're here, why don't you take a look at some of my plans for my inauguration?

ACTOR PLAYING RALPH NADER: Terrific. Since I'm not invited, I'd love to see what kind of inauguration you're going to have.

ACTOR PLAYING JIMMY CARTER: I'm going to tell you, Ralph, this is going to be the greatest party this union has ever seen.


My people have been waiting 110 years, but it's time for (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Confederacy to Washington. Finally, the flagrant rape of the Confederacy by the Yankee war dogs is going to be avenged.


On Wednesday night, the fifth division of the Georgia National Guard -- that is the Lillian Carter wing -- of tanks and armored personnel carriers rode north through the Carolinas. It splits here at Raleigh into a pincer claw to be complemented by the George Wallace tactical air wing of the Confederate Air Force.



KING: Lorne, "Saturday Night Live" always has a guest host. By the way, who's the host Saturday night?

MICHAELS: Charlize Theron and Paul Simon is music.

KING: Not bad.

MICHAELS: She's very good.

KING: She's a fairly attractive lady. And is there a host Sunday night? Is there a musical guest Sunday night?

MICHAELS: No, no musical guest, and really I think the two candidates introduce the show.

KING: They're the hosts?

MICHAELS: I don't think they'd...

KING: Give it away, Lorne.

MICHAELS: ... like to think of it as hosts, but they're in the opening of the show.

KING: What's your read on this election, Steve Higgins? Give us a little -- let's play a little punditry. What's your analysis of these candidates?

HIGGINS: I'm pretty sure Harding is going to win. I've done a lot of research with Jimmy in his apartment...


... and the whole Teapot Dome thing, you know, is going to take him down.

KING: I figured I'd get that from you, Steve. Tina?

FEY: Do I -- if I'm right after the fact, do I get a prize or something?

KING: OK. We'll think of a prize. But I mean, what's your analysis? Who do you think is going to win and why? Be a reporter.

FEY: I have a feeling that George Bush might win, because, I don't know, that's my feeling. I think Hillary might win and George W. Bush.

KING: Darrell Hammond, what are your thoughts?

HAMMOND: I tend to agree with Tina. I think...

KING: George Bush and Hillary as well?

HAMMOND: I'm not sure about -- so much about Hillary, only because the last time I heard polls that Lazio had an edge, but I do get the feeling that George Bush...

FALLON: Hey, I do Lazio.


MICHAELS: You know, we have to point out that Jimmy does a...


FEY: He does a very good Rick Lazio.

KING: Jimmy, do you do Lazio?

FALLON: Yes...


KING: Do Lazio.

MICHAELS: He has pretty high hopes for the election.

KING: Hey, Jimmy, I'll ask you a question as Lazio, OK?

FALLON: OK. That's good.

KING: All right. The polls show that maybe you're ahead, some of them as least. What do you make of this? What are your chances Tuesday, Rick?

FALLON: I will come down hard on soft money.



KING: Who do you think is going to win, Jimmy?

FALLON: I don't know. I have no idea. I think there's probably more comedy probably with the Gore-Lieberman thing, so I kind of hope -- I think they might win, Al Gore.

KING: From a comedy standpoint, you'd rather see them?


KING: In other words, it's hard to be funny about Dick Cheney?

FALLON: I think so. I don't know...


FALLON: Yes, maybe just his...


MICHAELS: Yes, but I mean, should Bush-Cheney win, we will...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll find something.

MICHAELS: We'll find something.

KING: Lorne -- Lorne, have you handicapped this race?

MICHAELS: Yes, but you know, I think that part of the fun of watching "Saturday Night Live" is in believing that it's not coming from a partisan place. I think that it's not something I'm going to talk about as to who I think will win the election. I think there are more than enough people filling that role, and what I know about us is that whoever's in charge, that's who we're going to go after.

The country was founded on distrust of authority, and I think we're -- that's what we do.

KING: Jim Downey?

DOWNEY: This could be the election where someone wins, one candidate wins the electoral vote and the other wins the popular vote. And if that happens, it'll be a gigantic surprise to about 90 percent of Americans, who will not understand how come the guy who won the popular vote isn't president. It actually could happen this time.

FEY: That's what...

MICHAELS: Evidently, the country is different than "Survivor," which I think worked on a different set of rules.

KING: Why did "Survivor" work, Steve Higgins? Why?

HIGGINS: Because it was on TV.

KING: And?

HIGGINS: And, as Jimmy says all the time when we hang out in his apartment, I think people like -- they're voyeuristic, and they like to see, you know, people in -- running around nude on an island.

People enjoyed "Gilligan's Island" very much.

FALLON: I never said any of those things.

HIGGINS: Oh, you didn't?

FALLON: No, that wasn't me.

HIGGINS: He does Lazio.

FALLON: I will come down hard on soft money.


KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with the crew of "Saturday Night Live." The special is Sunday night. Figures. Page 8 is on -- no, page is on page -- never mind. We'll be right back.


ACTOR PLAYING BILL CLINTON: Let's stop in here for a second. I'm a little parched from the jog.

KEVIN NEALON, ACTOR: Sir, we've only been jogging for three blocks. Besides, Mrs. Clinton asked us not to let you into anymore fast-food places.

ACTOR PLAYING BILL CLINTON: Well, I just want to mingle with the American people, talk with some real folks, maybe get a Diet Coke or something.

NEALON: All right, fine. But please, don't tell Mrs. Clinton.

ACTOR PLAYING BILL CLINTON: Jim, let me tell you something. There's going to be a whole bunch of things we don't tell Mrs. Clinton.


Fast food is the least of our worries, OK, buddy?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Oh, my god, it's Bill Clinton.


ACTOR PLAYING BILL CLINTON: Hey, how are you doing? Nice to meet you. How are you?

Oh, that's an adorable baby. What's your name, sweetheart?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Her name is Shakira.

ACTOR PLAYING BILL CLINTON: That means African princess, doesn't it?


ACTOR PLAYING BILL CLINTON: Well, she certainly is beautiful enough to be a princess.

Say, are you going to finish these fries?




CARVEY: This here is a business proposition, because, see, I'm going to take 5 percent of everything that goes through this operation from now through perpetuity...


... 5 percent right off the top. Business proposition, pure and simple. Same thing if you elect me president.

Now, see here, President Bush gets...


Now, right, President Bush gets $200,000 a year. Forget it. If I'm president, we get 0 percent growth, you don't pay me nothing.

One percent growth? Hell, a chimpanzee could run this country and get 1 percent growth.


So you don't pay me dime one. Got my own plane. Don't need Air Force One.


State dinners, I pay. It's nothing to me, sand off a beach.


KING: All right, Lorne Michaels, without taking sides, reportorially, who's funnier, Gore or Bush?

MICHAELS: Well, I think that Gore is, you know, in life has a very good sense of humor, and I think that, because his manners, or at least the ones he's shown us, are more formal, he's probably easier to do in comedy. Governor Bush seems genuine and likable, and that's harder to get a handle on.

KING: Of all the hosts you've had, have you had a favorite guest host?

MICHAELS: Larry, it's one of those questions I'm not going to answer, only because...

KING: Lorne, go ahead.

MICHAELS: I have to save something for, you know, my golden years.


KING: How many years is this show going to be on?

MICHAELS: I know I'm going to be there for another five.

KING: So that's a guaranteed 30?

MICHAELS: At least for me.

KING: What are we in for, Darrell, Sunday night? We're going to see lots of highlights of previous shows, and again you don't know what you're doing specifically yourself, right?

HAMMOND: No, and most of the stuff that I do is topical anyway, so a lot of times I don't see...

KING: Something could happen tomorrow.

HAMMOND: Absolutely.

MICHAELS: And probably something will.

HAMMOND: And probably something will.

MICHAELS: You know, I mean, that's -- the great part about -- about doing this live every week is, you know, people like yourself or David Letterman or Jay Leno have to respond on a daily bases whereas we get the full week to think about it and decide what we think the top story is and go after it.

KING: Will there be a weekend update, Jimmy, on this Sunday night show?

FALLON: Actually, there probably could be clips from "Weekend Update," yes.

KING: Clips, but no new "Weekend Update"?

FALLON: No, no new "Weekend Update."

MICHAELS: One this Saturday, though.

FALLON: This Saturday, there will be a brand-new "Weekend Update."

FEY: Yes.

KING: What's the biggest kick of, Jim Downey, of working on this show?

DOWNEY: Well, the special is -- I've been meeting some political figures lately, something I'd stayed away from in the past. It was fun having the two candidates in. I went down to Houston to shoot something with George Bush, the father, and Barbara Bush. KING: Oh, they're on, too?

DOWNEY: They're on as well, yes.



But we're running out of time. So the obvious final question, Jimmy Fallon, based on the past hour, will you watch on Sunday night?

FALLON: Yes, I will be a viewer.

KING: You will watch on Sunday night. And will Steve Higgins be invited over?


HIGGINS: We've got it planned out.

FALLON: We've got it planned -- we've got a fondue party, and you, too, Larry.

KING: Thank you. And Lorne asked me to tell you it was very nice having you on your swan song appearance. I've been saving that.


Only kidding. Thank you all very much.


MICHAELS: Thank you.

KING: Lorne Michaels, Darrell Hammond, Tina Fey, Jimmy Fallon, Jim Downey, and Steve Higgins -- they're all part of the big Sunday night extravaganza, "SNL's Presidential Bash 2000," with both candidates and a former president, we've learned.

Thanks very much for joining us and good night.



Back to the top  © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.