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Gasping for Airtime: Two Years in the Trenches of Saturday Night Live

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Now in paperback, the revelatory and surprising memoir of life behind the scenes at Saturday Night Live, by former cast member Jay Mohr his insider account of the inner workings of Saturday Night Live provides the scoop on quirky guests, pitch meetings, fake pitch meetings, rehearsals, cast members, live broadcasts, and of course, getting airtime. Refreshingly honest and l Now in paperback, the revelatory and surprising memoir of life behind the scenes at Saturday Night Live, by former cast member Jay Mohr his insider account of the inner workings of Saturday Night Live provides the scoop on quirky guests, pitch meetings, fake pitch meetings, rehearsals, cast members, live broadcasts, and of course, getting airtime. Refreshingly honest and laugh-out-loud funny, this book will appeal to fans of Jay Mohr, devotees of Saturday Night Live, and young comics yearning for stand-up stardom.


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Now in paperback, the revelatory and surprising memoir of life behind the scenes at Saturday Night Live, by former cast member Jay Mohr his insider account of the inner workings of Saturday Night Live provides the scoop on quirky guests, pitch meetings, fake pitch meetings, rehearsals, cast members, live broadcasts, and of course, getting airtime. Refreshingly honest and l Now in paperback, the revelatory and surprising memoir of life behind the scenes at Saturday Night Live, by former cast member Jay Mohr his insider account of the inner workings of Saturday Night Live provides the scoop on quirky guests, pitch meetings, fake pitch meetings, rehearsals, cast members, live broadcasts, and of course, getting airtime. Refreshingly honest and laugh-out-loud funny, this book will appeal to fans of Jay Mohr, devotees of Saturday Night Live, and young comics yearning for stand-up stardom.

30 review for Gasping for Airtime: Two Years in the Trenches of Saturday Night Live

  1. 4 out of 5

    Giddy Girlie

    I picked up this book on a whim at a thrift store and was excited to read it because I really like Jay Mohr's standup. I was severely disappointed in the story, though, because it is neither a "memoir" nor a "tell-all" book. What kept coming back to me over and over throughout was that Mohr is a complainer type of person and his friends/family were sick of hearing him whine about his SNL experience and so he thought he'd write it up as a behind-the-scenes at SNL story and find a new audience of w I picked up this book on a whim at a thrift store and was excited to read it because I really like Jay Mohr's standup. I was severely disappointed in the story, though, because it is neither a "memoir" nor a "tell-all" book. What kept coming back to me over and over throughout was that Mohr is a complainer type of person and his friends/family were sick of hearing him whine about his SNL experience and so he thought he'd write it up as a behind-the-scenes at SNL story and find a new audience of willing listeners. He paints himself in a very unflattering light, which didn't feel like it was done on purpose. I think you're supposed to commisserate and feel sorry for him, but it's honestly hard to do. He says that he was frustrated with the speed at which he was brought into the folds on the SNL show (he performed in/wrote something like 11 sketches during the 40 shows that were produced in his 2 year stint) and he admits didn't want to "pay dues" or wait any longer - although that is (apparently) the norm for the show. He fesses up that he was not very personable and often stuck his foot in his mouth and then would complain to people's faces about them not liking him. The only time that I ever found myself having any sympathy - or care at all - for the author was when he talked about his problems with panic attacks, which were (too easily, in my opinion) remedied with pills that he ended up using as a crutch. He tells a story at length about being severly anxious and downright angry about being given a costume with no pockets for him to hold his 'emergency' pills - of course, not realizing that pills don't work in seconds and therefore they wouldn't actually help him at all on stage/live TV. There is a single line in the book where he slips in his alcoholism and never mentions it again, though he talks at length about smoking pot regularly. He never seems to make the connection about his dependence issues and why that might have caused him to be a bit unlikable to the rest of the cast/crew at SNL. Instead he blames everyone but himself for not fitting in, and everyone is a villian except the cleaning lady. I'm sorry that Jay Mohr didn't have a good time at SNL, but I also wanted to yell at the book several times "It's a JOB!" and no one loves their job every day forever. Being the new guy is always hard. Making friends with established cliques is difficult. Writing on demand with strict deadlines and round-the-clock schedules is hard. BUT it was a job that you chose to do and instead of adapting, you wanted the established routine to change to fit you. So in the end when he left the show, I felt (as I'm sure he did) neither vindicated nor placated. Due to his bad attitude, his needlessly gossipy stories (none of which are particularly great, if you ask me - plus they're listed on the back cover), his admission of stealing work and generally being a pain in the ass, I'm frankly surprised that he's ever worked again. Which goes to show that maybe the SNL machine isn't as evil as Mohr says it is -- otherwise, shouldn't he be in cement boots somewhere on a crappy WB sitcom?

  2. 5 out of 5

    Neil

    Full disclosure: I did not read this book. I got the book on CD from the public library. By doing so, I think I got a much better product than the written book. A few friends who read this book said that Mohr comes across as whiny, and the reviews on this site seem to concur with that. Since I always thought Mohr was a hack anyway, I didn’t see the point in reading this, although I am a big fan of Saturday Night Live. Only when faced with a long road trip did I decide to give the CD a chance. Mohr Full disclosure: I did not read this book. I got the book on CD from the public library. By doing so, I think I got a much better product than the written book. A few friends who read this book said that Mohr comes across as whiny, and the reviews on this site seem to concur with that. Since I always thought Mohr was a hack anyway, I didn’t see the point in reading this, although I am a big fan of Saturday Night Live. Only when faced with a long road trip did I decide to give the CD a chance. Mohr is a comedian. He makes his money though delivery and timing; these are things that can’t easily be expressed through written words. His timing, along with pretty good impersonations of Chris Farley and Don Pardo, made this book on CD pretty amusing. My suggestion is to listen to Jay Mohr the comedian, rather than read Jay Mohr the author.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Randee

    Once again I am reminded of the Fran Lebowitz quote, "Spilling your guts is about as charming as it sounds." For the life of me, I can't imagine why Jay Mohr wrote this book. I've seen him do stand up and I think he is a pretty good comic. I could understand if he wanted to write a memoir about his two years on SNL and slant it toward the inner workings of the show and his impressions of people he worked with like Chris Farley, Adam Sandler, David Spade, etc. But most of the book is spent compla Once again I am reminded of the Fran Lebowitz quote, "Spilling your guts is about as charming as it sounds." For the life of me, I can't imagine why Jay Mohr wrote this book. I've seen him do stand up and I think he is a pretty good comic. I could understand if he wanted to write a memoir about his two years on SNL and slant it toward the inner workings of the show and his impressions of people he worked with like Chris Farley, Adam Sandler, David Spade, etc. But most of the book is spent complaining how his sketches didn't make the cut to air on the show and his infrequent appearances. It got to be painful and then irritating as in-"Hey Jay, if you are the last person to be picked time and time again by the captain of the ball team, there is a reason. Get a clue." I'm not saying, mind you, that his sketches were terrible (I would have no idea) or that he wasn't funny enough to appear every week. His relentless bitching about it makes it sound that way. He was there at a time when the above mentioned performers were on the show as well as people like Rob Schneider, Phil Hartmann, Molly Shannon, Sarah Silverman, etc. That is a lot of talent. He makes himself sound like the biggest loser to ever be hired for the show. Then...as if that weren't enough, toward the end, he admits to stealing a comic's act that he saw perform in a club, turn in the material to SNL, have SNL use it on the show and guess what happened? SNL got sued by the comic. Lorne Michael's called Jay into his office and asks if he's ever heard of said comic, shows Jay a VHS of said comic's act with the plagiarized bit and Jay lies straight-faced to him and said he's never heard of the comic. Unbelievable that he would do that, unbelievable that he would admit to it in a book. For what purpose? To make himself look like one of the biggest douche bags in show business? I don't get. I gave it three stars because parts of it were interesting in learning about how SNL gets made each week.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mediaman

    This book is proof that SNL is an unorganized mess, filled with writers that don't know how to write. Mohr's writing style is a perfect example--he jumps back and forth between stories, episodes, events with such repetition that it's shocking there wasn't a decent editor who told him to rewrite the book completely in chronological order. By the 10th time you hear about him showing up early every Monday or him repeating stories about running through the streets of New York in a panic attack you'l This book is proof that SNL is an unorganized mess, filled with writers that don't know how to write. Mohr's writing style is a perfect example--he jumps back and forth between stories, episodes, events with such repetition that it's shocking there wasn't a decent editor who told him to rewrite the book completely in chronological order. By the 10th time you hear about him showing up early every Monday or him repeating stories about running through the streets of New York in a panic attack you'll suddenly realize what's wrong with SNL--they hire people like Mohr who have severe mental disabilities. There are great stories, however, that are worth reading. It's quick to discern why so much of SNL falls flat each week--while Lorne Michaels expects people to show up for two pre-set meetings, everything else is on their own with a crazy mixture of drugs, ego, and schedules that go unenforced. It's a lousy way to run a show. It's the inmates running the asylum while the warden locks his door and doesn't want to hear about problems. Mohr's main problem is that he thought he was a god at age 15, sneaking out to comedy clubs and refusing to go to college. He thought he was smarter than everyone else--then he got to SNL where he was the low man in the room and everyone made fun of him. His ego was crushed and he couldn't figure out what was wrong with him. The result was his sudden "panic attacks" and he got rid of them with drugs. He also admits to being an alcoholic. Then he wonders why he was depressed and suicidal. The guy, like everyone else at SNL, has a gigantic ego that overestimates his talent, a smart mouth, and no objective sense of what makes for good writing.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lukas Holmes

    Love him or hate him, the book is interesting and well written.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    This book should be called "Jay Mohr is a crybaby." I like SNL a lot and enjoyed learning some behind the scenes information and gossip, but overall, this book is a joke. Mohr devotes entire chapters to his whiny complaints - my dressing room is too small, the host didn't like my sketch, a group of tourists didn't recognize me in the hallway, they give Chris Farley all the good sketches (gee, wonder why, Jay!). Overall the book came off as bitter and ungrateful. This book should be called "Jay Mohr is a crybaby." I like SNL a lot and enjoyed learning some behind the scenes information and gossip, but overall, this book is a joke. Mohr devotes entire chapters to his whiny complaints - my dressing room is too small, the host didn't like my sketch, a group of tourists didn't recognize me in the hallway, they give Chris Farley all the good sketches (gee, wonder why, Jay!). Overall the book came off as bitter and ungrateful.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ensiform

    Jay Mohr, a "featured performer" on Saturday Night Live from 1993 to 1995, tells of his time at the show in this honest, yet somehow dull, memoir. One thing Mohr is honest about is his spate of panic attacks and anxiety; another is his stealing material, as when he plagiarized another comic's "Irish Bartender" bit and put it on SNL. However, instead of refreshing, these stories simply make him seem like a talentless hack, resentful and bitter. His backstabbing and name-calling hardly endear him Jay Mohr, a "featured performer" on Saturday Night Live from 1993 to 1995, tells of his time at the show in this honest, yet somehow dull, memoir. One thing Mohr is honest about is his spate of panic attacks and anxiety; another is his stealing material, as when he plagiarized another comic's "Irish Bartender" bit and put it on SNL. However, instead of refreshing, these stories simply make him seem like a talentless hack, resentful and bitter. His backstabbing and name-calling hardly endear him to the reader. The brutal honesty doesn't serve him well there, either: Mohr insults a lot of his fellow performers on the show, and has some less than classy comments for some of the guests as well. In particular, he tells stories about Chris Farley that seem to be meant to impress; at least Mohr seems to think they're daring and fun, like the cool things John Belushi got up to the 1970s. But Farley basically comes off here as disgusting and sad. I wish Mohr had let the ghost of Farley rest in peace instead of passing along these bodily fluid-rich stories, which deserve to stay with close friends. So this is an odd book. Although a minor player and certainly not anywhere near Lorne Michaels' orbit, he nevertheless makes himself out to be the most talented guy in the room and, bizarrely, a close confidant of Michaels. But he's unlikeable and egotistical, and the book isn't funny or introspective.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Wade

    I read some reviews on here and I think people give Mohr too tough of a time for coming across as whiny and/or defensive. I didn’t think he was being defensive in this book. Sure, there are times when he tells a story about a skit he wrote that did great at read-through, or killed during rehearsal, and then got cut last-minute, but then he also tells about seasons when he couldn’t write or do anything funny. He talks about people like Chris Farley like they are at the top of the list of the all- I read some reviews on here and I think people give Mohr too tough of a time for coming across as whiny and/or defensive. I didn’t think he was being defensive in this book. Sure, there are times when he tells a story about a skit he wrote that did great at read-through, or killed during rehearsal, and then got cut last-minute, but then he also tells about seasons when he couldn’t write or do anything funny. He talks about people like Chris Farley like they are at the top of the list of the all-time greatest comedians ever and how lucky he was to just be in the same room with those kinds of people… that’s not the voice of someone who decided to write a book for the purpose of defending his career and credentials… that’s the voice of someone who is just being honest. As for him being whiny. I guess that holds to some degree, but not at all to the degree that people are accusing him of on here. (It’s always easy to bash someone in the comments section of some faceless blog or website in a way that one would never do in person… I think there was an SNL skit about that.) I felt like he was just saying how he felt when he was on this crazy show. And, I don’t think it’s fair to say, “Hey, it’s a job… that’s the way jobs work.” It’s not just another “job”. This is Saturday Night Live. This is a live comedy show that can make or break a career for a young comedian in his or her 20’s. This is not your normal, “first job out of college” while working in some cubicle and slowly getting to work you way up the ladder and learn the system and the people. This is national TV and being judged on your ability to do one of the hardest things in acting (make people laugh) within 60 seconds of stepping into the spotlight. I’m not saying he didn’t ask for that, because that’s what it means to join the cast of SNL, but the reality is that it’s not “just another job”, if this was just another job then I never would have read this book. Regardless of trying to dissect Mohr’s motives for writing this book, the reality is that Jay Mohr got to be on the show at a time when the cast was as absurd as it ever was, and as absurd as it ever will be. Which is why I thought this book was fun to read. He had moments on the show when he was funny. He was obviously never going to be a Mike Myers, a Dana Carvey, a Chris Farley, a Chris Rock, an Adam Sandler, etc., but he was a really solid standup performer that understood how to write tight, intelligent comedy. I thought the behind-the-scenes looks were really fascinating. The majority of the anecdotes are genuinely fun to read. For that matter, every single anecdote of Chris Farley off-stage is amazing. Farley was a genius and I love that Mohr called him the Michael Jordan of comedy and talked about how in awe he was every time he got to be in the presence of Farley’s greatness. I do think Mohr was gossipy at times, which I didn’t like at all. But, all in all, if you love that mid-90’s cast of SNL, if you love dissecting humor and really looking at the anatomy of a joke, and if you enjoy someone trying to be honest by relating the story of a really dramatic season in his or her life, then I think there’s a good chance that you would enjoy reading this book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Heather Henke

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I just was not prepared for how much complaining this book would contain or how negative the tone was throughout. I thought it would be funny and full of an SNL insider's stories. It is very easy to discern who Jay liked working with and who he did not. I kept waiting for a positive spin or outcome near the end. Unfortunately, some of my favorite cast members and celebrities were not always portrayed in a positive light so that also made the read difficult for me. In a nutshell, he struggled wit I just was not prepared for how much complaining this book would contain or how negative the tone was throughout. I thought it would be funny and full of an SNL insider's stories. It is very easy to discern who Jay liked working with and who he did not. I kept waiting for a positive spin or outcome near the end. Unfortunately, some of my favorite cast members and celebrities were not always portrayed in a positive light so that also made the read difficult for me. In a nutshell, he struggled with writing sketches that would air as well as obtaining speaking parts in sketches. It baffled me that he states it was the best job ever, but throughout the entire book, complains about the people he worked with, turned down roles in sketches, disliked the writing process for the show, as well as his lack of airtime (hence the title.) I hope he knows there are millions who would give anything for the opportunity he had. I wish I had skipped this read altogether.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Very enjoyable, quick read which covers Jay Mohr's two seasons spent on Saturday Night Live. His fellow cast members were Adam Sandler, Chris Farley, Phil Hartman and Mike Myers, among others, so he has great behind-the-scenes stories. Also interesting are his frank discussions about his panic attacks and his general feeling of unworthiness during his tenure there. A must-read for big SNL fans, but don't go into it thinking it's a humor book....it's definitely a memoir. Very enjoyable, quick read which covers Jay Mohr's two seasons spent on Saturday Night Live. His fellow cast members were Adam Sandler, Chris Farley, Phil Hartman and Mike Myers, among others, so he has great behind-the-scenes stories. Also interesting are his frank discussions about his panic attacks and his general feeling of unworthiness during his tenure there. A must-read for big SNL fans, but don't go into it thinking it's a humor book....it's definitely a memoir.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    Jay Mohr seems like kind of a dick who can't help but get in his own way. However, as I recall there are bits where he seems at least a little human. Jay Mohr seems like kind of a dick who can't help but get in his own way. However, as I recall there are bits where he seems at least a little human.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Justin

    Only recommended if you can bear to spare 20 minutes to read it in its entirety.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Blanche

    Found everything Jay wrote about super interesting. At times, the writing can feel repetitive, which is probably because he had help in organizing the book (see Acknowledgements). Repetitive, however not unnecessary. I also noticed one typo, though if there was one book to put your pride aside for, it would be this one. The details about SNL were gripping, to put it simply. If you ever wanted to know about the show, this book provides very detailed descriptions of everything from sketches to dre Found everything Jay wrote about super interesting. At times, the writing can feel repetitive, which is probably because he had help in organizing the book (see Acknowledgements). Repetitive, however not unnecessary. I also noticed one typo, though if there was one book to put your pride aside for, it would be this one. The details about SNL were gripping, to put it simply. If you ever wanted to know about the show, this book provides very detailed descriptions of everything from sketches to dressing rooms to people themselves. For sketches, you may even make a list of the ones referenced so you can go back and watch them later online. Reading about the panic disorder that Mohr suffered was a fascinating part of the book. In the opening paragraphs of Chapter One, I felt a visceral reaction from the account of a panic-ridden twenty-something-year-old making his way to his first day of work. While I do not have a panic disorder, I can relate to the overwhelming anxiety that Mohr describes throughout the book. While I was reading, I realized that it was nice to be on the outside looking in for once, and not as a victim of the illusion of alarm-level urgency. Though, rather than taking the inventory of the author, I saw every facet of his character as providing depth and complexity and felt a lot of empathy. Try that approach as you read it. This book reads like a movie. The flow is like watching scenes unfold because of how visual the storytelling is; lots of detailed, (but not boring) descriptions of hallways, writing rooms, and of course, dressing rooms. Not to mention it's funny. I laughed out lout at a couple of moments, grinned at others.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Luke Sienko

    While I started off really enjoying the behind-the-scenes look at Saturday Night Live, I quickly began to realize I was viewing the show through the tinted lens of an insufferable wannabe. I’m pretty sure Jay wanted us to sympathize with his struggles of being a “misunderstood comedian”, but I ended up hating him by the end. Throughout the book, Jay is a jerk to his fellow cast mates, avoids them while gossiping behind their backs, refuses to be in sketches if he doesn’t have enough lines, refus While I started off really enjoying the behind-the-scenes look at Saturday Night Live, I quickly began to realize I was viewing the show through the tinted lens of an insufferable wannabe. I’m pretty sure Jay wanted us to sympathize with his struggles of being a “misunderstood comedian”, but I ended up hating him by the end. Throughout the book, Jay is a jerk to his fellow cast mates, avoids them while gossiping behind their backs, refuses to be in sketches if he doesn’t have enough lines, refuses to do the goodnights at the end of show, insults hosts, rips off another comedian verbatim for a submitted sketch - and then spends a good deal of the book scratching his head why he wasn’t cast more. Clearly the guy thought he was hilarious; I just think he need an outlet to vent. For big SNL fans I would recommend checking it out as there definitely are some interesting tidbits to be found (his meeting with Nirvana was particularly interesting to me) but for everyone else I would skip.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Queenmangin

    It took me a little while to get into this book; wasn't sure where he was going to take it and of course, had to familiarize myself with his style of writing and sense of humor. Once we got rolling, I really enjoyed how he broke down the behind the scenes. Most people will never have the opportunity to see how a production like this is created and what goes into it. I appreciated the fact that he suffered panic attacks and presented it in a straightforward manner and I think, helped release it f It took me a little while to get into this book; wasn't sure where he was going to take it and of course, had to familiarize myself with his style of writing and sense of humor. Once we got rolling, I really enjoyed how he broke down the behind the scenes. Most people will never have the opportunity to see how a production like this is created and what goes into it. I appreciated the fact that he suffered panic attacks and presented it in a straightforward manner and I think, helped release it from some of the stigma attached. Of course, the little anecdotes were very interesting and I wanted to hear more. And his analogies were spot-on and clever. Not a "tell-all" by any means, I think he sounded pretty down to Earth and fair-minded. Amusing and informative.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Blue

    Throughout the book Gasping for Airtime, author Jay Mohr projects a self-pitying aura. Over the course of his two-year tenure at SNL, he can't seem to get on air enough to be recognized in public, which bothers him a lot. Generally he seems to consider himself a tragically overlooked comedy genius. Has he ever considered that maybe he just wasn't that funny? I get it, SNL tends to underuse their featured players and it sucks. It can take several seasons for a talented cast member to prove themselv Throughout the book Gasping for Airtime, author Jay Mohr projects a self-pitying aura. Over the course of his two-year tenure at SNL, he can't seem to get on air enough to be recognized in public, which bothers him a lot. Generally he seems to consider himself a tragically overlooked comedy genius. Has he ever considered that maybe he just wasn't that funny? I get it, SNL tends to underuse their featured players and it sucks. It can take several seasons for a talented cast member to prove themselves. But I never felt that Jay Mohr's complaining was warranted. Out of curiosity, I looked up some of the sketches he wrote- "Good Morning Brooklyn," "Rock and Roll Realtor," "Skittles"- to see if they really were the hidden gems he made them out to be. Well, what can I say... I wasn't too impressed. The first two sketches had a few good moments, but came across as pretty fomulaic (in the first one's case) or too annoying to be funny (in the second one's case), while the third one was misrepresented in the book. The way Mohr tells it, he was supposed to perform the fake ad in under a minute, but the audience kept laughing and stretched it into a minute and 20 seconds. What should have been his moment in the sun ended up being a shameful moment as Lorne Michaels called him out for going overtime. However, watching the sketch, I noticed that it wasn't the audience's (sparse) laughter that put the sketch overtime, it was Mohr's in-character pauses- plus, the sketch was over 2 minutes long, so to think of it being pared down to under a minute is difficult. I realize humor is subjective, and maybe Mohr could have written some truly great sketches if he'd stayed on longer, but he sure didn't make it easy for himself. At every turn, he blamed anyone but himself for his failure on the show, outright sabotaging himself by asking to be taken out of sketches if he didn't have a line in them, and expressing impatience that he wasn't immediately a star like his fellow cast members who already had several seasons under their belt and naturally would be more recognizable to the public. At one point, Mohr confesses to resorting to plagiarism, which at the time he did not own up to. He says he feels remorse for stealing material, yet he relates the story so matter-of-factly that it's hard to buy it. It was hard to feel sympathetic for this guy after reading that. The book's main flaw, besides the "I'm the victim here!" narrative, is how it's edited- or rather, it feels like it wasn't edited much at all. Facts are repeated several times as if the reader has forgotten in the turning of a page, the narrative is not structured linearly and becomes hard to follow as a result, and overall it feels like Jay Mohr just had a bunch of anecdotes to tell and decided to string them into chapters held together by the barest of threads. That being said, I do like his anecdotes, particularly the ones about Chris Farley and how he admired him. I could have gone with more stories like that, instead of ones that were colored by "this guy was a jerk to ME, Jay Mohr, comedy royalty!" Maybe I'm being too harsh on this guy. After all, I hadn't heard about him until I found this book in the library (I wanted to read more books about SNL and it didn't matter to me who wrote them), so it's not like I can really judge his character. But this didn't give me a good first impression. When it comes to self-serving autobiographies, maybe less is Mohr.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Meri

    Sure, you could initially think this is just Jay complaining about how he got stiffed during his brief appearance on SNL, but after it was all said and told, he was just telling it as it happened to him. Not everyone is going to experience that powerhouse of a comedy institution positively. The guy couldn't catch a break. Sure, it was most likely because of his kind of humor, but you still feel for the guy. I loved his stories about meeting Kurt Cobain and Chris Farley. Jay's a great impressioni Sure, you could initially think this is just Jay complaining about how he got stiffed during his brief appearance on SNL, but after it was all said and told, he was just telling it as it happened to him. Not everyone is going to experience that powerhouse of a comedy institution positively. The guy couldn't catch a break. Sure, it was most likely because of his kind of humor, but you still feel for the guy. I loved his stories about meeting Kurt Cobain and Chris Farley. Jay's a great impressionist as well - hearing him narrate was a bonus because of that.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer M.

    A fish out of liquids story. Part of me wishes this was written by someone else as fiction because it would be genius. He lets you know exactly why people don't like him, but he is still outraged when they seem to treat him badly by accident. You can tell they are doing all this to him on purpose because he is obnoxious and ignorant (clueless about race and gender) but he seems to show the reader how mean they were after his rude/stupidness and ask us to agree with him. But I loved listening, an A fish out of liquids story. Part of me wishes this was written by someone else as fiction because it would be genius. He lets you know exactly why people don't like him, but he is still outraged when they seem to treat him badly by accident. You can tell they are doing all this to him on purpose because he is obnoxious and ignorant (clueless about race and gender) but he seems to show the reader how mean they were after his rude/stupidness and ask us to agree with him. But I loved listening, and finished it. I like his impressions so audio was fun.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Josh Halpern

    Read this book probably around 2005 or 2006 and it was one of the first books I consciously picked out. I guess it contains everything I wanted at the time: BTS stories of SNL, personal details about celebrities and gossip and a firsthand account of a seemingly normal guy trying to make it at the most popular show on TV. All I can recall is wanting more stories from behind-the-scenes. But, it was an easy read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Fred Parker

    Interesting look into the politics of SNL and his entry into the business. I especially liked the parts about Chris Farley, because - well, it's Chris Farley. Jay does some of the best impressions anywhere and it's a shame he wasn't used more on that show. His candid discussions of his anxiety disorder were insightful and useful for my own life as well. Worth reading if you're an SNL fan. Interesting look into the politics of SNL and his entry into the business. I especially liked the parts about Chris Farley, because - well, it's Chris Farley. Jay does some of the best impressions anywhere and it's a shame he wasn't used more on that show. His candid discussions of his anxiety disorder were insightful and useful for my own life as well. Worth reading if you're an SNL fan.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Bryson

    Excellent insight into the backstage politics and drama on late night's premiere sketch comedy show, but written with perhaps a certain lack of self-awareness, especially when it came to Mohr's surprise at not being bumped up to the main cast or even re-hired after he blatantly plagiarized another man's comedy routine for a sketch and got caught at it. Excellent insight into the backstage politics and drama on late night's premiere sketch comedy show, but written with perhaps a certain lack of self-awareness, especially when it came to Mohr's surprise at not being bumped up to the main cast or even re-hired after he blatantly plagiarized another man's comedy routine for a sketch and got caught at it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Micki Boden

    It's tough to rate because this book is really fun, but it makes you totally hate and cringe at the idea of Jay Mohr. I think Bobby Moynihan said this book was what NOT to do at SNL? Couldn't agree more. It's tough to rate because this book is really fun, but it makes you totally hate and cringe at the idea of Jay Mohr. I think Bobby Moynihan said this book was what NOT to do at SNL? Couldn't agree more.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    It was okay. I wish I had known that this was the abridged version, because now I'm left trying to decide if I want to listen to the unabridged version. (I do, but I think that time will need to pass first so that it's not as fresh in my memory.) It was okay. I wish I had known that this was the abridged version, because now I'm left trying to decide if I want to listen to the unabridged version. (I do, but I think that time will need to pass first so that it's not as fresh in my memory.)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tony Rampling

    Loved this behind the scenes book of SNL stories and more!! Must read!!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    A fun look at the experience of being a writer and cast member of a very famous TV show

  26. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    worth a read for the Chris Farley jacking off in front of Charleton Heston story alone.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    OK, some interesting backstage stories of SNL but a lot of complaining about how mistreated he was by Lorne Michaels and Marci Klein. Maybe he was but it didn't make for a great story. OK, some interesting backstage stories of SNL but a lot of complaining about how mistreated he was by Lorne Michaels and Marci Klein. Maybe he was but it didn't make for a great story.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sally

    This is a really interesting book and can easily be listened to in one evening.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jameson Ketchum

    One of the BEST books written about SNL. Mohr is so underrated. Great book!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Hilary

    Sometimes it’s hard to know how many stars to apply This is basically the book from a performer’s perspective about the experience of being on Saturday Night Live, and accordingly, it’s probably worth four stars just for that perspective alone. (In the time-honored journalistic tradition of passing on what I think someone said in an interview I heard awhile ago, Bobby Moynihan has said he reads this regularly to learn what not to do on SNL.) Mohr isn’t afraid to ruffle feathers here, and conside Sometimes it’s hard to know how many stars to apply This is basically the book from a performer’s perspective about the experience of being on Saturday Night Live, and accordingly, it’s probably worth four stars just for that perspective alone. (In the time-honored journalistic tradition of passing on what I think someone said in an interview I heard awhile ago, Bobby Moynihan has said he reads this regularly to learn what not to do on SNL.) Mohr isn’t afraid to ruffle feathers here, and considering how relatively tight-lipped and diplomatic most SNL alums are about their time there (despite Marc Maron’s obsessive efforts to get dirt on Lorne, etc.), it’s interesting to see someone speak their mind, insult a few people, and talk about things usually left unsaid (like, say, David Spade asking to be removed from a sketch so he could pursue a few models, or Mohr’s panic attacks). For any long-time fan, even the basic structure of the show is fascinating, and I read the simple information about pitch sessions and read-throughs with rapt attention. Mohr’s the ideal person to write this kind of book - he’s a semi-known performer who spent most of his time on SNL in the shadows, as he willingly admits by noting that people didn’t believe him when he said he was on the show, because he appeared so infrequently, so he’s just outside enough to not care too much about telling the truth. But the reader quickly realizes what the other writers at SNL must have also picked up on quickly: Mohr’s not that good a writer (many of the sketches he talks about writing sound pretty awful, making their non-selection obvious), which is a reason to give this something more like two stars. The worst example of this is Mohr’s attempt to work in the musical guests and refer to their songs (“Insane in the Brain,” etc.) reflecting how he felt. One particularly awful line notes that: “[Tom] Petty rocked the place, singing ‘You Don’t Know How It Feels To Be Me,’ and the musical message addressed my mood.” This is bad writing on several levels, but the intent is also stupid, because in general, songwriters are in the business of writing songs that are relatable to others and evocative of shared human emotions. (A notable exception is Tom Waits’ song, “This is specifically and exclusively a song for Steve Brillson from East Denver, and the hyperspecific way he feels about margarine and the later films of John Hughes.”) Mohr’s also a bit difficult to root for, because he steals a sketch from a comedian (leading to a settlement), doesn’t seem to have any good sketch ideas, and is too wounded by his lack of airtime to even join the cast on screen to wave goodnight. All in all, a bit of a mixed bag: interesting viewpoint and perspective, not always expressed particularly well.

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