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Lorne Michaels has been an integral part of Saturday Night Live through a good portion of the show’s run. While he wasn’t involved for a few years in the early eighties, the man helped to get the show off of the ground back in 1975. More than forty years and an entire career later, Lorne Michaels is still helping to shape the show. During a recent panel discussion, he finally recounted what might prompt him to eventually quit the series. Here’s what Lorne Michaels had to say:
There will come a time for me when I can’t do it as well as I had done it and where my judgment isn’t as clear… And then three years after that.
Trust Lorne Michaels to include a joke in an otherwise honest comment like that. At 71, it’s a little surprising that Lorne Michaels is still as spry and involved with the show as he currently is, but as he alluded to, there’s no reason for him to step down when he’s still doing a good job. Saturday Night Live is experiencing a bit of a resurgence now too. The cast has congealed into a truly balanced and diverse unit, and many of the breakout sketches each week are getting huge reach across the Internet on Sunday mornings.
For Michaels, it’s a weird balance right now between honoring the show’s storied legacy and continuing to forge ahead. That split effort was on full display during SNL 40, and it was on display earlier this week when Michaels was an honored guest at the Bush Center for a retrospective of Saturday Night Live’s history covering politics. The event was hosted by former President George W Bush, and it featured tons of glowing praise for Lorne Michaels’ long and storied tenure on SNL, as well as a few great jokes.
Here’s President Bush’s best joke, courtesy of the Morning News…
You probably think that when I mangled the English language, it was natural. It wasn’t. It was to give SNL something to put on the air.
Running Saturday Night Live is a tough job. By all accounts, when SNL is airing, the weeks are long and sketches need to be produced quickly. As happened recently with Kanye West, sometimes celebrities are extremely difficult to deal with. Then, there's the grind of finding new cast members, dealing with behind-the-scenes politics and more. And while the break between seasons is probably a nice vacation, when SNL is in session, it's a lot of work. A lot of work that eventually Lorne Michaels will want to take a step back from.
While Lorne Michaels continues to figure it out, you can catch new Season 41 episodes on Saturday nights at 11:30 p.m. ET.