If you weren’t a big fan of Colin Quinn has anchor on “Weekend Update,” you might have that in common with Colin Quinn himself. Indeed, excluding the Dick Ebersol years — when SNL’s “Weekend Update” operated under different titles, like SNL NewsBreak and Saturday Night News and was hosted by the likes of Brian Doyle-Murray, Brad Hall, Charles Rocket, Mary Gross, and Christine Ebersole — many folks agree that Colin Quinn is one of the least successful “Update” anchors in the modern era, beginning with Dennis Miller. (On the other hand, Quinn was a terrific contributor to MTV’s Remote Control, along with Dennis Leary and Adam Sandler).
Quinn, known for better or worse as a “comedian’s comedian,” would not take offense to that characterization. The comic — who has also written and starred in seven stage shows — has a book out now called Overstated: A Coast-to-Coast Roast of the 50 States, and he appeared on Conan O’Brien’s podcast to promote it. The conversation naturally turned toward Quinn’s time on the “Update” desk.
“In retrospect, it was not really for me,” Quinn told Conan when asked if he liked doing “Weekend Update.” “Lorne knew it, too. He wouldn’t yank me, but it was not a good fit. I was much happier doing ‘Update’ segments. Those were my happiest days at SNL.”
Why did Lorne Michaels let Quinn flail on the “Update” desk for a full two and a half years? Quinn and Conan both explained it as a “strange soft spot for Irish comedians and writers,” but also because Michaels is known for being loyal, perhaps to a fault. “I mean, look, even the fact that he lets people work there for 50 years,” Quinn continued, illustrating Michaels’ misguided loyalty. “There’s people that have been there since 1975 … that’s the soft side of him that many people don’t realize. He would never get rid of people. He’s loyal to his employees until the end.”
That, however, is not always true. Just ask Adam Sandler and Chris Farley (RIP), who were fired after their incredibly successful run on the show. (Sandler didn’t return to SNL for 24 years). Conversely, rather than twist in the wind in a gig that she did not enjoy, Cecily Strong successfully extracted herself from the “Update” desk a few years ago and has gone on to become one of the more popular cast members ever on the long-running comedy series.
Source: Conan Needs a Friend