Lorne Michaels

Comedy Impact Report '08: Tube Titans

Nobody wanted to see the presidential campaign continue beyond Nov. 4 more than Lorne Michaels.

As the grand poobah of “Saturday Night Live,” Michaels saw the show earn some of its biggest numbers ever, reaching all the way back to the Not Ready for Primetime Players days. The campaign gave “SNL” — now in its 34th season — a renewed mojo.

When vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin appeared on Oct. 18, the episode was watched by 15 million viewers, the most of any “SNL” since 2001.

As the campaign became more intense, the ratings only grew higher. Darrell Hammond impersonated John McCain, Fred Armisen did Barack Obama and the coup de grace was Tina Fey’s dead-on impression of Palin.

The anticipation of every new episode — be it on the weekend or the special Thursday night “Weekend Update” edition — was mandatory viewing. And the shorter prep time between shows, which helped deliver more timely skits but also frazzled backstage nerves, made it all the more watchable.

“It has to be live,” Michaels said on “Charlie Rose.” “If it wasn’t live, we’d be discussing it for months. We don’t go on because it’s ready, we go on because it’s 11:30.”

More Scene

  • Issa Rae, Natasha Rothwell and Yvonne

    'Insecure' Season 3 to Introduce New 'Timely' Show Within The Show

    Nobody wanted to see the presidential campaign continue beyond Nov. 4 more than Lorne Michaels. As the grand poobah of “Saturday Night Live,” Michaels saw the show earn some of its biggest numbers ever, reaching all the way back to the Not Ready for Primetime Players days. The campaign gave “SNL” — now in its […]

  • Ryan Murphy Pose

    Ryan Murphy on 'Showrunning as Advocacy' and the Post-Me Too 'Age of Enlightenment'

    Nobody wanted to see the presidential campaign continue beyond Nov. 4 more than Lorne Michaels. As the grand poobah of “Saturday Night Live,” Michaels saw the show earn some of its biggest numbers ever, reaching all the way back to the Not Ready for Primetime Players days. The campaign gave “SNL” — now in its […]

  • 'The Sinner' film premiere

    Jessica Biel Closes Her Kid-Friendly Au Fudge Restaurant

    Nobody wanted to see the presidential campaign continue beyond Nov. 4 more than Lorne Michaels. As the grand poobah of “Saturday Night Live,” Michaels saw the show earn some of its biggest numbers ever, reaching all the way back to the Not Ready for Primetime Players days. The campaign gave “SNL” — now in its […]

  • Comedy Converstion with L to R:

    Just for Laughs Festival Honors Tiffany Haddish, Hannah Gadsby, More

    Nobody wanted to see the presidential campaign continue beyond Nov. 4 more than Lorne Michaels. As the grand poobah of “Saturday Night Live,” Michaels saw the show earn some of its biggest numbers ever, reaching all the way back to the Not Ready for Primetime Players days. The campaign gave “SNL” — now in its […]

  • Paul Krassner Memoir Illustration

    Paul Krassner on Resisting With Humor

    Nobody wanted to see the presidential campaign continue beyond Nov. 4 more than Lorne Michaels. As the grand poobah of “Saturday Night Live,” Michaels saw the show earn some of its biggest numbers ever, reaching all the way back to the Not Ready for Primetime Players days. The campaign gave “SNL” — now in its […]

  • Just for Laughs Festival Montreal

    Just for Laughs Festival Is the Coachella of Comedy

    Nobody wanted to see the presidential campaign continue beyond Nov. 4 more than Lorne Michaels. As the grand poobah of “Saturday Night Live,” Michaels saw the show earn some of its biggest numbers ever, reaching all the way back to the Not Ready for Primetime Players days. The campaign gave “SNL” — now in its […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content