Last night, I watched Saturday Night Live from the writer's room. Jim and I walked down to 30 Rockefeller, and stood outside in cold, dry wind, waiting for our friends to show up. When Pete Gross, Deb Downing, and Brendan Hunt all arrived, we headed in and received our passes to shoot past the lines and walk into the offices of SNL.
Tall, white walls and thin hallways led down to the least imposing room I could imagine -- this was the epicenter of a thirty-year legacy, and it felt like a common corporate office. A bowl of pencils was tossed in the middle of a conference table, a flatscreen monitor showered us with the feed from downstairs. There were some couches, and a fridge. And many scripts. Behind a thick grey curtain was a huge window that looked down onto the stage and the audience. I watched the Red Hot Chili Peppers prepare for the cameras, and caught a glimpse of Steven Spielberg. I don't type these names to drop them; I write them because I'm shocked that time and space allowed our paths to intersect. Do you understand? Tom Hanks walked by me a few times; I wasn't star-struck, but I was startled that there'd ever be a reason for us to pass by each other in such pedestrian ways.
I don't watch SNL usually; my exposure has been limited to two bits on the internet over the last five years. It was pretty great to watch the process, though. Jokes were handwritten and rushed down to the stage; I watched as John Lutz rewrote bits for sketches that were cut-on-the-fly. The atmosphere wasn't anxious or tense, though. These were just people doing their job. Liz Cackowski ran up and downstairs to be in background bits, or when she asked Hanks a question during his monologue. Seth hung out with us for much of the filming; he wasn't in any material last night, which sucked as his parents were there. Then again, I guess they've seen the show before.
After, we all headed down to Dock's for dinner and drinks. Docks was dark, stiff, and expensive. This was the official after-party, with cast members and writers sitting next to the band and the guests. Kristen Schaal and Scott Speiser were there, too; we had a Shanley 7, Northwestern mini-reunion at the SNL mixer. I got to say hi to Liz Cackowski, but was pretty planted at Seth's table for much of the night. It was nice to run into Boom alumn Becky Drysdale. We chatted for a while about lesbian fundraisers, and she apologized for not being able to make The Jim and Heather Show on Monday.
Jim whispered that reservations for our show were now topping 60 people.
When the party started to wind down around 3am, we piled into Seth's limo and crossed town to UCB. There, the after-after party was raging crazy. The stage was a dance floor, and a DJ was playing crowd favorites like, "Poison." You know: That Girl is Poison. I found John Lutz again, and talked for a couple hours (neither of us are dancers). We reminisced about Chicago Pizza and doing the Jam at I.O., back when I was younger and he was the host. Finally, Schaal, Speis and I took the subway home at 5:30am (after we dragged Schaal away from her pen-pal, Sandberg). It was a pink-and-blue morning, and my father's red tie smelled like whiskey. I fell asleep in Brooklyn as people started going to church.