Ed Driscoll

Lyin’ Ass Bitches at NBC, Then and Now

[SNL creator-producer] Lorne [Michaels] will forever maintain that Saturday Night did not intentionally, as he put it, “take the President and shove his press secretary up his ass.” Nessen happened to host the show while NBC was in the midst of a strike by its technical union. Much of the studio equipment that week was manned by management personnel, so that the complexity the show might ordinarily have had was reduced. All week long Lorne was telling the writers to “simplify, simplify,” and by Saturday he was forced to use sketches that called for as little camera movement as possible. That ruled out, Lorne says, a lot of the more subtle political material that had been written for the show.

But many of the show’s writers say there was more to it than that. They say, without equivocation, that Saturday Night was out to get Nessen. The attitude, [SNL writer] Rosie Shuster said, was: “The President’s watching. Let’s make him cringe and squirm.”

— From Doug Hill and Jeff Weingrad’s early history of Saturday Night Live, on the April 17th, 1976, episode hosted by Ron Nessen, President Ford’s press secretary, along with prerecorded cameos from Ford himself. Much more on SNL’s hit job on Nessen here.

Flash-forward to this item found today by Big Hollywood’s John Nolte:

“I’m gunning for Bachmann,” Questlove, a vocal Obama fan, told Rolling Stone. To put a time stamp on the comment, the magazine wrote that during the interview, he was “looking up walk-on songs for next week’s shows.”

Continued Questlove, “I want to try and do Fishbone’s ‘Lyin’ Ass Bitch.’ I just don’t know if I’m gonna tell Jimmy.”

This contradicts Questlove’s original modified limited hangout, that his effort to submarine Bachmann’s appearance on NBC was a “tongue-in-cheek and spur-of-the-moment decision.”

“Is this acceptable to NBC and to Jimmy Fallon?” John asks — ultimately rhetorically. “Well, we’re talking about NBC here, so I’m guessing that it is.”