Individual 2012

Personal Award: Lorne Michaels

Even without his most revered brainchild, Lorne Michaels has been a valuable contributor to the television landscape, producing significant comedies like 30 Rock, The Kids in the Hall, and NBC’s Late Night as hosted by both Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Fallon. But it is of course Saturday Night Live, and its nearly forty-year run as the vanguard of popular American comedy, that earns Michaels his place in the pantheon. Starting out as a comedian and writer in Toronto’s celebrated comedy scene, Michaels has become one of television’s foremost curators of talent, and a place in Saturday Night Live’s repertory company has for years been one of the most coveted jobs in comedy. The list of success stories under Michaels, from Chevy Chase to Tina Fey, Gilda Radner to Will Ferrell, and everyone in between, is immense. The start of many careers in American comedy can be traced to the moment when, in the tense environment of an SNL audition, the performer first made Lorne laugh. Michaels produces comedy that is often edgy and incisive, often incredibly silly, but always captures the attention of the American public on Saturday night. For his 38 seasons as the patron saint of television comedy, Lorne Michaels receives a rare Individual Peabody Award.