Suffolk visited by comedy legend Murray


Ford Hall Forum honored longtime Saturday Night Live writer James Downey with the organization’s First Amendment Award, during a night where the audience witnessed hilarious stories and banter between the award recipient and his longtime friend, Bill Murray.
The event coordinators scrambled to find seats for the audience while the room was buzzed 30 minutes before anyone even took the stage. When Downey and Murray finally took the stage, the C. Walsh Theatre lit up with applause and various whistling.
Emmylou Harris, Rodney Dangerfield and Al Gore’s trophy room were just a few of the topics discussed by the film legend and the longtime SNL writer.
Murray took to the podium after some rearranging of furniture on stage, saying that he’d “like us all to leave better than we arrived.”
Murray, an Emmy Award winner described the night as a “Behind the Music of Jim Downey,” as the two admittedly “winged” the entire discussion. This lead to the story about Murray and one of his true friends in the business meeting each other and the history they created during the infancy of the now iconic late night program.
Downey and Murray started at SNL together the same year, 1976, where the two would room together during their early days on the show.
“We were both newcomers to a show with an established cast. At first it started off as a bad roommate movie situation,” said Murray.
That was the case until both felt comfortable with their surroundings and began to relate to one another. The two shared and bonded over similarities such as both being Illinois natives.
While the night was filled with throwback SNL stories, clips and references, the night was originally about Downey’s career. His rise and f

all was discussed, and then the rise again on Saturday Night Live.
Downey and Murray were on five of the show’s first six seasons, helping put the program into the American pop-culture limelight. The two both left following the 1980 season.
“We tried to end the show, five years was a typical show run. NBC didn’t agree with us, hired back as many of the staff as they could and the program really went through a bad stretch,” Downey explained his departure from the sketch comedy show.
He would return to the show at the turn of the new millennium, to write numerous political skits that would result in openers for the show, including Fred Armisen’s depiction of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg after the 2010 “snowstorm” struck the Big Apple.
“He looks at things differently.” said Murray “We’re all seeing this moment. Some can see more of it. Downey can see more of it. He’s the best writer I ever worked with, easily the most talented.”