I thought I’d take another trip in the Time Machine, and tell the tale of an awkward teen who had a dream of one day being on Saturday Night Live…
I was a huge fan of SNL as I was growing up. In my early teens, the show hit another period of golden years and I was addicted to Ed Grimley, Fernando, and the two guys who really hated it when that happened. Martin Short, Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest… these guys were the Not Ready For Prime Time Players of my youth.
I would pester my Evil Step Mother into letting me stay up to watch the show every week. Some times she would allow it, and some times she would deny my request. There never seemed to be any rhyme or reason to her decisions.
Clearly, she had no idea how much watching the show meant to me. The idea of being a writer was slowly taking shape in my cluttered mind, and Saturday Night Live was a definite spark behind that thought process.
I can still remember long car rides out to Long Island, and I would be in the back seat, writing in that notebook. I would sit on the front stoop and write in that notebook. I would hide from the world in my bedroom and create my own, happier, funnier world in that notebook.
I wrote sketches for my favorite characters on SNL, and for characters of my own creation. I remember thinking that it would be cool to get a job as a writer on the show, but then my dreams got larger. If I was going to write original sketches, why not play the characters myself? The lines seemed hilarious when I delivered them in front of my bedroom mirror, so why wouldn’t they be even funnier in front of a larger audience?
And so I continued to fill that notebook with words and my head with dreams. Over time, of course, the desire to appear in front of the camera faded, but I never stopped writing. In fact, the fist two screenplays I ever penned, A TIME TO STAND TALL and RAIN OF BLOOD, were done so by hand in spiral 5 subject notebooks (I cannot recall the color of those, but I’m pretty sure I chose red for the latter).
I’m not sure where those notebooks are, but I must still have them somewhere. The screenplays, which earned me A’s at NYU, eventually made it onto a computer and are on a disk in some closet at The House on the Hill. The fate of those sketches is still in question, though. How cool would it be to go back and read them now? What a trip down Memory Lane that would be.
I am going to put on a tuxedo much like the one I am wearing in the photo at the left (I am the one on the right, and that’s Austin, Sr on the left) and watch my TV acting debut at 11:30pm on The Nite Show With Danny Cashman. As you know, I am acting in a sketch that I wrote for the show.
How ironic is it that I am writing for a TV show that airs in direct competition to SNL, the one that inspired me to want to do this in the first place?
I might be older and write my sketches on a laptop now, but I will always be that awkward kid with the weird sense of humor, who used writing as an escape and a way to feel cooler.
I must admit, I feel very cool about being on TV tonight and making a childhood dream come true…