Robert Smigel was associated with Saturday Night Live for 28 years, working as a either a producer, writer and sometimes even as an actor on the iconic show between 1985 and 2013.
During this time the comedian has collaborated with some of the very best performers in television history.
I recently had the chance to speak to Smigel about his Netflix comedy “The Week Of,” which features former “Saturday Night Live” stars Adam Sandler and Chris Rock duking it out as middle class and rich fathers trying to organize the wedding of their daughter and son, respectively.
After revealing that it was Sandler that brought the idea for the film to him, Smigel opened up about his connection with the actor, before delving into detail about his bond with the likes of Dana Carvey and Conan O’Brien.
“Me and Adam had always connected in a way that I haven’t with other comedy writers. Even though that probably doesn’t necessarily seem apparent from our work together.”
“But I have always bonded on a personal level than I did with other writers from ‘SNL.’ There would be someone like Dana Carvey, who I connected with because of the musicality of his impressions, and making them abstract.”
“With Conan O’Brien we had this similar sense of our own inner detached way of looking at people as though they were cartoons. Boiling them down to their essence and kind of absurd versions of themselves. And that led to a lot of the comedy that we had liked to write together on ‘SNL’ and then on his show.”
“But with Adam, even though Adam is capable of writing incredibly silly comedy, what was unique about our connection we just had a lot of shared observations, I found his humor to be one of the hysterically observant people. Picking up on little quirks on personality.”
Smigel then went into some of the reasons why he formed such a connection with Sandler.
“Adam and I come from very, very loving parents. Very close knit families. Jewish families.”
“Not every comedy writer will say that. We had a lot in common that way. Oddly enough, this is going to sound very strange, but there aren’t that many, at least when I was there, at ‘Saturday Night Live’.”
“So it was me and Al Franken and then Sandler came. Franken is from the mid-West, his parents came from the Brooklyn and Long Island area, they moved to New Hampshire. But we just had a lot in common. Background wise and family wise.”
Smigel and Sandler’s similar background and comedic sensibilities are apparent all the way through “The Week Of,” which was co-written by the pair of them, directed by Smigel, and is now available on Netflix.