He looked perplexed, like why would I ever want to work there? I told him it was a long-held dream. He said fine. But while he was doing that, could I take my script and spin off a TV series out of it? Which I did.
He beat the bushes for my material for a while longer, then everything just petered out. He would claim to be on it, but I just wouldn't get any updates from him. Eventually, he fell into the past, my life unchanged.
Once, I came up with a sketch idea, a political bit, a cold opening. It opened with Dennis Miller at the Update Desk introducing the thing as breaking news. I remember little else about it and haven't come across the one hard copy I had. I became kind of manic about it that I typed up the entire sketch on our company telex machine, which could convert the telex into a fax and deliver it. Naturally, nothing can of it. And, of course, the idea of setting up the Weekend Update set for a opening bit would have been ridiculous...or just ridiculous enough to work!
We later learned that Herb Sargent felt it wasn’t right to give only some writers to the opportunity to write for a show produced for & by the Writers Guild. We argued that if they wanted to write, they could simply join the committee, it wasn’t that hard. But he was adamant about it, to the point that he stepped in each year to work out the bits with the hosts and presenters and cut our committee out of that loop.
The Executive Director of the guild didn’t quite agree with Sargent's actions during the award show, but he was the president and didn't stop him. Afterward, she discussed the situation and recommended that the writers should use this incident to our advantage and guilt Herb Sargent--head writer of SNL--into looking at our material. Pretty slick, right? I happen to mention to her that I hadn’t written the comedy sketch that got cut. Her reply? “He doesn’t know that.”
I attempted it, but it wasn't easy. The only way I had to contact him was at his Writers Guild office. He wasn't often in and leaving messages didn't seem to prompt a response. Finally, after weeks, I got hold of Sargent. Here's the thing, I am very bad at making my case for myself. I told him it really wasn’t fair for him to pull the plug on the sketches, and that we had worked really hard on the material and we were doing it for the good of the guild and it was really unfair, but if he wanted to make it up to us, he could look at a packet of material, maybe, for consideration for writing for SNL. It was a run-on sentence when I said it on the phone, too.
His response? “Do you know how many people are submitting material to be a writer on SNL? (to my everlasting shame I did not reply “Twelve?” ). I didn't exactly wear him down, but I got to send the package to him anyway, via the guild, and never heard of it again.
To his day, I'm convinced that if I had said "Twelve?" I would have won him over and gotten a shot.