Alan Zweibel

Producer, TV writer, Screenwriter
As a comedy writer, producer, playwright and even novelist, Alan Zweibel was a prolific comedic voice whose life and career were inexorably linked to the first five seasons of "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ). One of ... Read more »
Born: 05/19/1950 in Brooklyn, New York, USA

Filmography

Writer (15)

Earth to America! 2005 - 2006 (TV Show)

Writer

The 56th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards 2004 - 2005 (TV Show)

Writer

The Story of Us 1999 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

North 1994 (Movie)

("North") (Source Material (from novel))

North 1994 (Movie)

(Novel) (Source Material)

North 1994 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Great Performances' 20th Anniversary Special 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Writer

Between Cars 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Writer

Dragnet 1987 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Big Shots in America 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Writer

The New Show 1983 - 1984 (TV Show)

Writer

Gilda Live 1980 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Paul Simon Special 1977 - 1978 (TV Show)

Writer

Saturday Night Live 1975 - 1977 (Tv Show)

Writer

The Beach Boys Special 1975 - 1976 (TV Show)

Writer
Producer (10)

700 Sundays 2014 - 2015 (TV Show)

Co-Executive Producer

Inside Comedy 1986 - 1990, 2011 - 2015 (Tv Show)

Executive Producer

The Boys 1986 - 1990, 2001 - 2003, 2011 - 2015 (Tv Show)

Producer

The Story of Us 1999 (Movie)

(Producer)

I Am Your Child 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

North 1994 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Please Watch the Jon Lovitz Special 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Good Sports 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Boys 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Producer
Actor (9)

Curb Your Enthusiasm 1986 - 1990, 2001 - 2003, 2011 - 2015 (Tv Show)

Actor

Misery Loves Comedy 2015 (Movie)

(Himself)

The Late Show With David Letterman 2008, 2012 - 2013 (Tv Show)

Guest

Law & Order 2008 - 2009 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Story of Us 1999 (Movie)

Uncle Shelly (Actor)

Gilda Radner: The E! True Hollywood Story 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

North 1994 (Movie)

Coach (Actor)

An Oasis in Time (TV Show)

Actor
Director (1)

It's Garry Shandling's Show 1986 - 1990 (Tv Show)

Director
Other (1)

Billy Crystal: The Mark Twain Prize 2007 - 2008 (TV Show)

Creative Consultant

Biography

As a comedy writer, producer, playwright and even novelist, Alan Zweibel was a prolific comedic voice whose life and career were inexorably linked to the first five seasons of "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ). One of the original writers hired by producer Lorne Michaels, Zweibel had his hand in creating and writing for some of the show's most famous characters and bits, most notably John Belushi's Samurai and Gilda Radner's Emily Litella and frizzy-haired Roseanne Roseannadanna. In fact, he developed a strong professional and personal bond with Radner that lasted until her untimely death from cancer in 1989. Meanwhile, he made his feature writing debut with the concert film "Gilda Live" (1980) and later helped create and write "It's Garry Shandling's Show" (Showtime, Fox, 1986-1990) alongside the show's titular star. After writing a big screen remake of "Dragnet" (1987), Zweibel went on to earn particular scorn for adapting his own novel "North" (1994), often seen as one of the worst movies ever made. But he regained respect with the best-selling memoir, Bunny, Bunny: Gilda Radner - A Sort of Love Story (1994), which detailed his platonic relationship with Radner, while branching further out into Broadway and writing for a number of variety specials, cementing his legacy as one of the comedy world's more pioneering writers.

Relationships

Robin Zweibel

Wife
former "SNL" production assistant

Lindsay Zweibel

Daughter
born c. 1984

Sari Zweibel

Daughter
born c. 1989

Adam Zweibel

Son
born c. 1982

EDUCATION

University of Buffalo

Buffalo , New York 1972
member of Phi Beta Kappa

University of Buffalo

Buffalo , New York 1972
member of Phi Beta Kappa

Milestones

1996

Stage version of his memoir "Bunny, Bunny" opened in Philadelphia

1994

Feature debut as a producer (with Rob Reiner), "North" (also co-wrote screenplay based on his novel)

1992

Wrote (with Cy Coleman) a musical, "A Simple Melody" for PBS's "Great Performances' 20th Anniversary Special"

1992

Served as one of the executive producers, creators, and writers for "Please Watch the Jon Lovitz Special", an unsold live comedy pilot for Fox

1991

TV debut as executive producer, "Good Sports", a sitcom starring Ryan O'Neal and Farrah Fawcett (also created and wrote premiere episode)

1989

Created, produced, wrote theme song lyrics, and served as a writer for "The Boys", a limited series on Showtime

1988

Created, produced, and wrote the pilot for "The Boys", filmed before a live studio audience for Showtime

1987

Co-wrote (with director Tom Mankiewicz and star Dan Aykroyd) screenplay for "Dragnet" starring Aykroyd and Tom Hanks

1986

Produced "It's Garry Shandling's Show--25th Anniversary Special", a presentation of "Showtime Comedy Spotlight"

1986

Adapted "Comic Dialogue" for an off-Broadway production

1986

Had play "Between Cars" produced off-Broadway as part of the Marathon series at the Ensemble Studio Theater

1985

Wrote the NBC sitcom pilot "Big Shots in America" starring Joe Montegna produced by Michaels

1985

Vowed to never work with Michaels again

1984

Served as a writer on Lorne Michaels' short-lived variety series "The New Show" on NBC

1983

Sent a galley of "North" to Rob Reiner, hoping for a blurb for the book jacket; Reiner expressed an interest in directing an adaptation "someday" (date approximate)

1983

Had his novel "North" published (date approximate)

1980

Feature debut as one of nine screenwriters on "Gilda Live", a comedy performance "concert" film

1976

Served as a writer on "The Beach Boys Special"

1975

Met and befriended actor (and future producer-director) Rob Reiner when he hosted the third installment of "SNL"

1975

Hired by Lorne Michaels as an apprentice writer on the first season of "Saturday Night Live"; soon became a writer

1973

Began performing standup comedy in NYC

Wrote "Comic Dialogue", four conversations between a rising comedy writer and a fading comedian, as a feature for "The Atlantic Monthly"

As a frequent collaborator of Gilda Radner, wrote the Emily Litella and Roseanne Roseannadanna bits for "Weekend Update"

Had a painful falling out with Radner over Roseanne Roseannadanna; their writing partnership dissolved

Wrote most of John Belushi's Samurai sketches on "SNL"

With Herb Sargent, became the primary writer for "Weekend Update" by the third season of "SNL"

TV debut as a producer, co-creator, and theme song lyricist, "It's Garry Shandling's Show" (also frequent writer) which aired on Showtime and Fox

Sold jokes to more than 100 comics on the Catskill circuit

Inspired to become a comedy writer by watching the exploits of Dick Van Dyke's Rob Petrie on "The Dick van Dyke Show" as a

Met producer-writer Lorne Michaels at Catch a Rising Star in NYC

Wrote Garrett Morris' Chico Escuela sketches on "Weekend Update"

Sold jokes to Steve Martin, Alan King, Rodney Dangerfield, Freddy Prinze, Johnny Carson, and Dick Cavett

Suffered from writer's block during much of the fourth season

Became a productive writer again during the fifth season

Submitted a revised draft of a screenplay for "North", co-written with producer Andrew Scheinman, to director Reiner

Bonus Trivia

.

Zweibel's fiction has appeared in diverse publications including "The Atlantic" and "Mad Magazine".

.

In addition to his three Emmy awards for comedy writing, Zweibel has won five cable Ace awards and two Writers Awards.

.

While the PR for "North" trumpets that film as Zweibel's feature debut, our records show that he had prior screenwriting credits on "Gilda Live" (1980) and "Dragnet" (1987).

.

"Another image that lingers in Zweibel's mind is that of Dick Van Dyke. It had been Van Dyke's role as comedy writer Rob Petrie on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" in the early sixties that inspired Zweibel to become a comedy writer in the first place. Since childhood he had wanted to joke around with Morey Amsterdam, Rose Marie, and Carl Reiner and come home to Mary Tyler Moore in New Rochelle. A year after he left "Saturday Night", Zweibel ran into Van Dyke in an elevator in Hollywood. He introduced himself, explaining how he'd achieved success on "Saturday Night", married a beautiful and vivacious brunet (Robin Blankman, a former production assistant from the show), and was in the process of shopping for a home in the suburbs, quite possibly in New Rochelle. 'And I just want to thank you,' Zweibel said, 'because my dream came true and you embodied it.'"--From "Saturday Night: A Backstage History of 'Saturday Night Live'" by Doug Hill & Jeff Weingrad (NY: William Morrow, 1986), p. 484.

.

"Van Dyke smiled and put his arm around Zweibel's shoulder. 'That's very sweet of you to say this to me,' he said, 'but let me warn you, Alan. This is a word of caution. After five years, "The Dick Van Dyke Show" was cancelled, and I became an alcoholic.' Zweibel spent the rest of the elevator ride pounding the door and moaning 'No! No! No!' while Van Dyke tried to comfort him."--From "Saturday Night: A Backstage History of 'Saturday Night Live'" by Doug Hill & Jeff Weingrad (NY: William Morrow, 1986), p. 484.

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