In 1985, after years of enviously eyeing Manhattan as the logical alternative to the preciosity of Cambridge, I was offered a job there I couldn’t refuse: writing for “Saturday Night Live.” After a few distressing months in the show’s weird sado-masochistic environment, I repaired to my one-bedroom apartment to write my third mystery. Not surprisingly, the plot brought Harvey down from Cambridge for an assignment that forced him to mingle with the neurotic subspecies of humans who are funny for money. A final note: Many years later, Showtime came oh-so-close to making a TV movie of Saturday Night Dead, from a screenplay I wrote.
The brief plot summary:
When Harvey Blissberg is hired by Roy Ganz, the pretentious, pint-size producer of a legendary but fading late-night network comedy show, to find that week’s missing guest host, he has no idea that he’s about to walk right into a television tragedy. No sooner does Harvey have the AWOL host back where he belongs than producer Ganz exits a twenty-fourth floor window, falling faster than his show’s ratings.
Hastily hired by the network to conduct a discreet investigation, Harvey slowly makes his way through the show’s ragtag roster of writers and actors, no small number of whom had reason to defenestrate their boss. The joke’s on Harvey, however, when his investigation forces him to make an unexpected detour to the early days of television.