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Michaels appeared as a guest on the latest episode of Maron’s WTF podcast. For years Maron has been talking about the fateful meeting, never exactly knowing why he didn’t get the job.
“Those of you who listen to this show know this is a pretty big deal,” Maron says in the episode’s introduction.
During the show, Maron went back and forth with the Saturday Night Live creator, recounting what went down on the day they first met.
“What happened?” Maron asked right off the bat.
Michaels explained that the show was in a transitional period, with critics proclaiming “Saturday Night Dead,” and NBC pressuring SNL to make changes.
“The network was ‘you have to change, you’re too set in your ways.’ And the simple fact that different generations come in and make the show their own and they find their own way of doing it, within the same tradition, as opposed to blowing it up and starting over,” said Michaels.
Maron wanted more, he asked if he wasn’t right for the show, to which Michaels replied, “No, no, no. You were fine.”
Michaels continued, “You had a strong point of view and you were clear. You were just part of a mix. There was no idea of so much replacement, as you can only do that gradually. It was whether or not to bring you [on].”
Later in the show, Maron brought up the topic again. “In retrospect, I don’t know if I was necessarily ready for the show and I am in here,” Maron said.
“You needed to spend a certain amount of time onstage to be ready for the show. I think you were ready. I think it was, I didn’t have — I learned early on that if you bring people in and there’s no real spot for them … Writers will always go with whoever came through for them on the last show. And so they will go with the performer that they know can deliver and it’s just harder. Unless you play some other kind of part or unless you bring some other kind of voice that’s clear and can withstand those first five or six shows when the audience is less than friendly.”
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