‘SNL’ Boss Lorne Michaels Says Joining the Show ‘Can Be Upsetting’ for New Cast: ‘No One Can Handle the Fame … People Are Going to Turn Into A—holes’

“Saturday Night Live” creator Lorne Michaels continued to shoot down retirement rumors as he readies the NBC sketch comedy series for its upcoming 50th season. He told the New York Times in a new interview: “I’m going to do it as long as I feel I can do it. But I rely on other people and always have.”

Michaels also reflected on the challenges that come with being an “SNL” cast member. Through the show, he has helped launch the careers of dozens of comedy superstars, including Eddie Murphy, Will Ferrell and Tina Fey.

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“If you were the funniest kid in the class, or your school, and then you’re working professionally and everyone else in the room is that,” he said. “It can be upsetting or can be really stimulating.”

“No one can handle the fame,” Michaels added. “Generally, we’re more tolerant of it, but you know people are going to turn into assholes. Because it’s just part of that process, because no one grew up that way.”

“Saturday Night Live’s” biggest stars eventually leave to pursue film or television projects. Here’s the advice Michaels gives them: “Build a bridge to the next thing, and when it’s solid enough, walk across. But don’t leave on the first thing, because you don’t know what’s really out there.”

Michaels has yet to announce the cast for “SNL” Season 50, which will kick off this fall on NBC. The show’s 49th season featured hosts such as Jake Gyllenhaal, Kristen Wiig and Shane Gillis, who Michaels hired to be a cast member in 2019 but then dropped after footage of him using racist slurs on a podcast resurfaced.

“I think ideas flourish in a moment,” Michaels said on the topic of the backlash to Gillis. “They used to be called manias.”

“SNL” cast members Bowen Yang and Kenan Thompson recently spoke to Variety about Gillis and Season 49’s other biggest moments. Gillis was supposed to be in the same class as “SNL” newcomers as Yang.

“Anytime our names are in the same sentence, at least in a journalistic way, it always feels deleterious. It feels like one person is trying to undo the other. I was just really curious about what that show would be like and if it would be an opportunity to really move past it,” Yang said about Gillis returning to host. “I think he and I have done enough things in our careers now to really not [have] that be the definitive beginning or the thing that casts a pall over everything else that we do going forward.”

Head over to The New York Times’ website to read Michaels’ interview in its entirety.

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