She’s been Connie Conehead, the youngest spawn of Beldar and Prymaat. Or perhaps you remember her as Christie Christina, the cohost of E. Buzz Miller’s public access cable show. Maybe you recall the stints as a TV news reporter on Chevy Chase’s version of SNL’s “Weekend Update” segments.
However you remember Laraine Newman from her Saturday Night Live days of more than four decades ago, you’ll look at her in a different way after reviewing her new audiobook, May You Live in Interesting Times, a nine-hour memoir out via Audible.com March 11.
Narrated by Newman, the audiobook explores the entirety of her life, from growing up in Los Angeles with movie star neighbors, bearing witness to the music scene in the 1960s (and losing her virginity to Johnny Winter) and seeing the rise of comedy in the early 70s, to studying mime in Paris under the tutelage of Marcel Marceau.
Of course, that ignited the rocket to fame that was the original cast of Saturday Night Live. There, along with John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase, Jane Curtain, Garret Morris, and Gilda Radner, Newman was part of the founders that made the show a cultural landmark.
There are lots of drugs, sex and famous names thrown about in the book, but it isn’t all laughs and glamour. Newman struggled with the demons of depression, addiction, and self-doubt along the way, and after her five years at SNL ended in 1980, struggled to cope.
The story does have a happy ending. She resumed working in film and television, and has adopted long-term sobriety and parenthood. She reinvented herself as a voiceover actor and has found a thriving career working on such animated vehicles as Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc., Despicable Me, Inside Out, Shrek, and Minions.
But before that, she answered a few Deadline questions about her new memoir.
DEADLINE: I was surprised by this revelation: “School started again for the kids – junior high by this time – and that meant driving carpool. I was excited! I mean, up until that point, I’d seen myself as an outsider.” Many people would argue that you are the quintessential insider, having met, worked with, and done more with many famous people.
LARAINE NEWMAN: I never put it together, that meeting and working with famous people made me an insider. I just saw it as my professional life, even though some of those people remained lifelong friends. Nevertheless, my work life felt separate from my life as a mother. I felt anonymous and a lot of these moms knew each other and I was new.
DEADLINE: What do you expect will be the reaction to this audiobook?
LN: I’ve learned to curb my enthusiasm when it comes to ‘expectations’. I’m hoping people are entertained by the way I see the world and think I’m a genius. Kidding.
DEADLINE: You allude to leaving out some things. I can’t imagine how much is missing, given your forthright confessions throughout. How did you decide to leave things out?
LN: I wanted to create a balanced narrative, so I wanted to, as succinctly as I could, create stories that had a flow. How’s that for bullshit?! Yikes!
DEADLINE: Having grown up in Los Angeles and living most of your life in the city, do you feel it’s on a good path right now? Why or why not?
LN: I can’t tell if you’re asking me about my life path in relation to where I’m living. I’m very much a home body. I’ve traveled a lot and right now, I’m right where I want to be. My work is here, my family is here (except my 29th year old who is in Brooklyn) and once things open up again, I can get back to live performing and seeing live shows.
DEADLINE: You have an encyclopedic memory for someone who did a lot of drugs. What references did you use in putting this together?
LN: I kept some journals and I went by my datebooks which I saved. Also, I never drank alcohol so for better or worse, I remember a lot of shit.
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