Partner At The Periphery

NAME: Tom Davis

DESCRIPTION: Taller half of “Saturday Night Live’s” Franken and Davis.

LAST SEEN: Penning screenplays in upstate New York.

Of the original “Saturday Night Live” crew, Al Franken and Tom Davis were perhaps the most peripheral. Chosen by “SNL” producer Lorne Michaels from among dozens of comedy teams submitting material, the duo usually performed off-the-cuff sketches when planned skits fell out.

Today, Franken is a successful screenwriter (he co-wrote “When a Man Loves a Woman”) and has the starring role as the fictional Stuart Smalley in his self-penned Paramount film,”Stuart Saves His Family,” directed by Harold Ramis.

Davis (he’s the tall one) has kept a much lower profile. After 14 years on and off with “SNL,” he left the show a year ago and now says, frankly, “I need work.”

He lives in the upstate New York town of Hudson with his veterinarian wife Mimi, writing scripts and occasionally venturing out to Hollywood to pitch his movie and TV ideas, with little success. “All that stuff about being able to communicate with the world through your fax and computer is just a pile of bull,” he declares. Lately, says Davis, “I’m getting ill-tempered. If ‘ Coneheads’ had been a hit,” he says of the 1993 movie he co-wrote with Dan Aykroyd and a slew of re-writers,”I was going to put an addition on the house. Instead, I took a hammer and knocked down a wall.”

So Davis, 39, has signed with a new management team – “not affiliated with Brillstein-Grey,” he emphasizes, referring to the company that handles many “SNL” vets – and he’s coming to L.A. this week on a renewed career push.

“Like every cab driver and waiter,” says Davis, “I have a script under my arm. But I’ll rewrite anybody else’s half-baked piece of crap. I can be inspirational, or funny, too. Bitterness is not selling, I notice.

“I have a great attitude,” he adds. “I’m proud until it’s not cool.”

Davis will be staying at Aykroyd’s house, where his former “SNL” colleague always leaves the door open. He’ll give ex-” SNL” member Garrett Morris a call, he says, to see how he’s doing after suffering a gunshot wound in South Central L.A. two years ago.

Whether or not he’ll hook up with his old partner Franken remains to be seen. They were a comedy team since prep school days in Minneapolis, playing bars and nightclubs, “chasing girls and doing drugs,” recalls Davis. The pair hitchhiked to New York and performed at the Improv when Freddy Prinze, Jimmy Walker and Gabe Kaplan were spearheading a new wave in comedy.

“I thought it was 20 years,” says Davis of his partnership with Franken. “But it was really 16. You see, we broke up. I was the last one to find out.”

Davis is philosophic about Franken. “I’d say Stuart Smalley took my place. I’m not jealous. I want them both to be happy.”

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