Catherine O’Hara Says Michael O’Donoghue Didn’t Really Scare Her Away from ‘SNL’

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Living comedy legend Catherine O’Hara went on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast this week for an in-depth interview, and she ended up setting the record straight on the time she was hired to be a cast member on Saturday Night Live in 1981 and abruptly left. In the SNL oral history, Live from New York, which O’Hara was not interviewed for, executive producer Dick Ebersol said this:

“I’d hired Catherine O’Hara. It had taken a lot to lure her, because live was not her style. So in that very first meeting with Michael, when he was telling everybody the show was shit, and spraying all over the writers’ wall the word ‘DANGER,’ it really scared Catherine O’Hara - scared her right off the show. She packed up her stuff and went home to Canada that night.”
“I did [SNL] for about a week. I never did a show. I was in the cast … SCTV had closed down. It was before the NBC 90-minute shows. I wasn’t doing anything, and I got called and thought ‘Sure, that’d be fun. I’m not doing my show anymore, our show.’ And I lasted about a week in a half, but it was just the writing period. We weren’t into doing shows. I just was so uncomfortable, and I can’t even explain why. I was just in the wrong place. It was wrong for me … I remember Michael O’Donoghue, he said [he] scared [me] off or something and he didn’t … I saw him enough at parties. I wasn’t frightened of him … Then, I got the call that Andrew Alexander had made a deal with NBC to do the 90-minute shows.”