Sometimes when someone makes a movie, they open themselves up to the legitimate threat of being sued. This is something that comedian and filmmaker Mike Birbiglia worried about when he was making his movie, Don't Think Twice. It follows an improv group that torn apart when one of them is cast on a live sketch show that takes place on Saturday night. It's obviously based on Saturday Night Live, so Birbiglia thought Lorne Michaels might want to sue him over it. Birbiglia turned to Seth Meyers for advice and told the story on Late Night.
If you're not familiar, it's about a group of best friends in an improv group and someone gets cast in a sort of Saturday Night Live type show. Sort of doppelganger SNL, sort of a doppelganger Lorne Michaels. I was terrified, at the time, that we were just going to get sued by SNL and Lorne Michaels. So when we went to lunch, I thought, 'well here's a great opportunity to talk to the person who is my Lorne Michaels,' and that's you...so I pitched you the movie and you gave me nothing. And when I say nothing, I mean precisely nothing. You didn't go positive, you didn't go negative. You just went 'hmmm.'
Appearing as a recent guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers, Mike Birbiglia recounted for the audience the time he and Seth Meyers got lunch together. While they were eating, Birbiglia decided to ask Meyers -- who has some experience working with Lorne Michaels -- if Michaels would be mad about Don't Think Twice (which is a good movie, in case you're wondering). Meyers hardly seemed concerned about it. "Hmmm" isn't a great answer, so Birbiglia asked Meyers specifically about Lorne Michaels and a lawsuit.
And then when we were leaving, I drop you off at your apartment, I go, 'hey, what do you think? Do you think Lorne would be okay with that movie?' And you go, 'Lorne's never going to see your movie.' It wasn't cruel, it was exactly what I needed to hear.
So if you ever find yourself making a movie that directly alludes to SNL, know that Lorne Michaels probably won't ever watch it anyway. Don't Think Twice doesn't really portray SNL in any negative light, just shows the reality of the business and what different levels of fame can do to friends. Still, it never hurts to tread on the safe side! You can watch Mike Birbiglia tell the story himself in the clip below.