Bill Murray, James Downey Discuss SNL at Suffolk
Published: Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 10:03
On Tuesday March 27th, Saturday Night Live writer James Downey and actor Bill Murray moderated an unscripted and humorous discussion on the influence of satire in politics at the C. Walsh Theatre.
Downey, who was invited to the Ford Hall Forum at Suffolk University, the nation’s oldest free public lecture series, received the First Amendment Award for his ability to discover, construct and address humor to the American culture in the not so lampoon world of politics.
After moving the podium to please all in attendance, Bill Murray addressed his relationship with Downey. Murray and Downey were hired in the same week and worked in the same office during the second season of SNL. Murray claimed that the office, which looked out towards Radio City Music Hall, put pressure on both men to perform well in that first week. Uncertain about why Downey actually was needed at SNL, Murray talked about how he was the replacement for the incredible Chevy Chase.
Murray got back on track when asked about what made Downey so special during his time on SNL. He told the sold out audience that Downey always saw more of the moment and was able to pick out the “ludicrous stuff from all the political howlings.” Murray also noted Downey to be “the best writer I’ve ever worked with.”
Downey made it clear that in comedy, “nothing is off limits” but discussed the difficulties and challenges involved with providing humor after the horrific events that occurred on September 11th. Some of his 9/11 SNL pieces included the CBS Anthrax Update with Dan Rather and the Trans American Airlines “Racial Profiling” system.
After the “scripted” portion of the discussion closed, Murray and Downey opened up the forum for a short Q & A. This allowed Murray to humor the crowd some more by bringing out his bag of goodies, throwing chocolates to those who were daring enough to ask questions and to those who intervened.
“STRATEGERY: SNL’s Remarkable Influence Over Politics Through Satire” was the first of six discussions slated for the Ford Hall Forum at Suffolk University for spring 2012.