Wednesday night Bao Nguyen’s documentary “Live From New York!,” which looks back on 40 years of “Saturday Night Live,” opened the 14th annual Tribeca Film Festival.
A moving moment for the audience was when the film touched on the first “SNL” show following 9/11.
The memories are recounted by the show’s creator, Lorne Michaels, and then-Mayor of New York City, Rudolph Giuliani. But the director of the episode, Beth McCarthy-Miller, also provides her recollections and gave some unique insight on the opening of the show.
She said that the first-responders standing behind Giuliani in the episode had all been down at Ground Zero. “They all had this thousand-yard stare,” she said in the documentary.
At the start of the show, McCarthy-Miller said she was determined to get all of the first-responders’ faces in the same shot, and tried to get as many of them in the shot when the camera went in tighter.
She also said that at one point during Giuliani speaking, she even had to step out of the control room as she was so overcome with emotion by the moment.
“I had to step away and cry,” she said. “All those people who had lost their lives” were still very much on everyone’s minds.
McCarthy-Miller said it was Michaels who came up with the famous exchange between he and Giuliani at the end of the opening:
Michaels: “Can we be funny?”
Giuliani: “Why start now.”
It was a powerful moment not only in the movie but its setting Wednesday night. The Tribeca Film Festival was created by Robert De Niro and his producing partner, Jane Rosenthal, following the attacks on September 11, 2001, in hopes to bring business back to lower Manhattan.
Here’s the complete opening of the “SNL” episode.
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