First Head Writer For SNL Was Born In Sauquoit New York
Are you a fan of the TV show Saturday Night Live? The show first premiered back in 1975, and has been on the airwaves ever since. One of SNL's pioneers in comedy, the shows first head writer, was born in Sauquoit New York. Meet Michael O'Donoghue.
O'Donoghue was born Michael Henry Donohue in Sauquoit, New York on January 5th 1940. His father, Michael, worked as an engineer, while his mother, Barbara, stayed home to raise him. His introduction to acting came from down the thruway in Rochester New York as a playwright and stage actor at the University of Rochester beginning in 1959. His first published writing appeared in the school's humor magazine Ugh!
Before Saturday Night Live, O'Donoghue was a founding writer and later an editor for National Lampoon magazine:
As one of many outstanding National Lampoon contributors, O'Donoghue created some of the distinctive black comedy which characterized the magazine's flavor for most of its first decade. His most famous contributions include "The Vietnamese Baby Book", in which a baby's war wounds are cataloged in a keepsake; the "Ezra Taft Benson High School Yearbook", a precursor to the Lampoon's High School Yearbook Parody; the comic "Tarzan of the Cows"; and the continuing feature "Underwear for the Deaf"."
In 1975, Creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels assigned him the position of head writer to O'Donoghue. He's appeared in several of the shows first sketches, including the first show's opening sketch. That sketch is the famous one where he's an English-language teacher instructing John Belushi to repeat what he does, teaching him such phrases as "I would like to feed your fingertips to the wolverines," and "We are out of badgers. Would you accept a wolverine in its place?" before dropping dead of a heart attack.
Other famous skits he was involved with include the grim "Mr. Mike", who gave viewers a laugh with the dark "Least-Loved Bedtime Stories" such as "The Little Engine that Died.":
Through the years to follow throughout the 80's, it appears our local hero had a love hate relationship for SNL. He will be remembered for some of the most interesting sketches during the first few years.
On November 8th 1994, O'Donoghue died of a cerebral hemorrhage at age 54. He was laid to rest in the Sauquoit Valley Cemetery in Clayville.
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