She was Connie Conehead, the youngest offspring of Beldar and Prymaat. Or maybe you remember her as Christie Christina, the co-host of the E. Buzz Miller. Perhaps you remember the stints as a TV reporter on Chevy Chase’s version of SNL’s “Weekend Update” segments.
But you remember her from Laraine Newman Saturday Night Live over four decades ago, you’ll look at her differently after reviewing her new audiobook, May you live in interesting times, a nine-hour brief on Audible.com on March 11.
Narrated by Newman, the audiobook explores the entirety of his life, growing up in Los Angeles with neighbors to movie stars, witnessing the 1960s music scene (and losing his virginity to Johnny Winter) and seeing the rise of comedy in the early 1970s, to study mime in Paris under the tutelage of Marcel Marceau.
Of course, that ignited the rocket to fame that was the original cast of Saturday Night Live. There, along with John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase, Jane Curtain, Garret Morris and Gilda Radner, Newman was among the founders who made the show a cultural landmark.
There are a lot of drugs, sex, and famous names hinted at in the book, but it’s not all laughs and glamor. Newman battled the demons of depression, addiction, and self-doubt along the way, and after his five years at SNL ending in 1980, struggled to cope.
The story has a happy ending. She resumed her work in film and television and embraced sobriety and long-term parenting. She reinvented herself as a voiceover actor and found a thriving career working on animated vehicles such as The world of Nemo, Monsters Inc., Despicable Me, Upside down, Shrek, and The servers.
Newman is preparing for a virtual event in collaboration with the 92nd Street YMCA of New York on the date of her memoir’s release, interviewed by multi-award-winning original SNL writer Alan Zweibel.
But before that, she answered a few questions about her new memories.
DEADLINE: I was surprised by this revelation: “School started again for the kids – in college at that time – and that meant carpooling. I was excited! I mean, until then, I thought of myself as an outsider. Many people will say that you are the quintessential insider, having met, worked and done more with many famous people.
LARAINE NEWMAN: I never set it up, this meeting and this work with famous people made me an initiate. I just saw it as my professional life, even though some of these people have remained long-time friends. Nevertheless, my professional life seemed separate to me from my mother’s life. I felt anonymous and a lot of these moms knew each other and I was new.
DEADLINE: What do you think will be the reaction to this audiobook?
LN: I have learned to curb my enthusiasm when it comes to “expectations”. Hope people are entertained by the way I see the world and think I am a genius. Joke.
DEADLINE: You talk about omitting certain things. I can’t imagine how many are missing, given your blunt confession. How did you decide to leave things aside?
LN: I wanted to create a balanced narrative, so I wanted, as succinctly as possible, to create stories that had flow. What is this for bullshit ?! Yikes!
DEADLINE: Growing up in Los Angeles and living most of your life in the city, do you think it’s on the right track right now? Why or why not?
LN: I can’t say if you ask me about my life path versus where I live. I really am a home body. I have traveled a lot and right now I am exactly where I want to be. My job is here, my family is here (except for my 29 year old who is in Brooklyn) and once things get together I can start playing and seeing live shows again.
DEADLINE: You have an encyclopedic memory for someone who has used a lot of drugs. What references did you use to put this together?
LN: I kept journals and went through my calendars that I saved. Plus, I’ve never drunk alcohol so for better or worse I remember a lot of crap.