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Ten Minutes with Tom Schiller

"Saturday Night Live" writer for 11 years and documentary film maker



Photo by Jacque Lynn

Tom Schiller grew up in Los Angeles, the son of television writer Bob Schiller, who created “I Love Lucy” and won an Emmy for “All in the Family.” His dream of being a foreign-film director was sidetracked when he was invited to write for a new television show: “Saturday Night Live,” an opportunity that brought him success and a move to the East Coast. Schiller wrote for SNL for 11 years. It’s still going strong, and so is he.

Prior to writing for “Saturday Night Live,” you worked on several documentaries. How did you get that chance? 
I was always trying to get out of going to school, so I got a job as an apprentice to a documentary filmmaker named Robert Snyder, and I was allowed to get school credits for that. I worked on films about Buckminster Fuller, Anaïs Nin, and Willem de Kooning. Then we were assigned to do a film on Henry Miller.

What was that like?
Miller was a great mentor and we became good friends. I wanted to show him from my own point of view, so I made my own film called Henry Miller Asleep and Awake in 1967. It aired on PBS and became a hit. 

How did you segue from documentaries to writing comedy?
I met a Canadian named Lorne Michaels who was an apprentice on one of my father’s sitcoms. He said he had this idea for a late-night TV show. It was a way out of Los Angeles, so I took the chance. 

What was the most satisfying experience doing that show?
It was being able to make my own short films, which appeared on the show. I had all these popular comedic actors at my command. I could write anything I wanted and they didn’t censor me too much. In two weeks I could shoot, edit, and air a film with my name on it that reached a million viewers. That’s a great feeling of exhilaration.

What accounts for the staying power of SNL?
While it wasn’t a new format, it was aimed at my generation. For the first time we had the airwaves to ourselves and we could make fun and talk about smoking pot and being hippies and we had a built-in audience. 

How did you wind up in the northwest corner?
I lived half my life in LA when it was still charming and fun; then I spent the next part of my life in New York. When I met my wife Jacque we found this wonderful house in Cornwall. We’ve had it for 15 years.

How did the two of you meet?
She was working at an advertising agency and I was hired as a consultant. It was kind of love at first sight—one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me. 

Speaking of your wife, she is a writer as well. Have you ever collaborated?
We did about 500 television commercials together. She is now writing a children’s book that will be published in 2018.

What do you find appealing about living in Cornwall?
We love to do bizarre things like visiting abandoned amusement parks and checking out ski-resort restaurants. But we have also checked out every eating place within a hundred miles. We are constantly exploring and enjoying our life together. —Joseph Montebello

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May 2017

On Saturday, May 6, the Washington Art Association & Gallery will present Objectivity, an exhibition of sculpture and photographs. This exhibition will explore how five artists working in...

Cost: free

Where:
Washington Art Association & Gallery
4 Bryan Memorial Plaza
P.O. Box 173
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Washington Art Association & Gallery
Telephone: 860-868-2878
Contact Name: Barbara von Schreiber
Website »

More information

Sports and recreation are universal experiences. Whether we make it to the big leagues or never leave our backyards, these activities play important roles in our lives. They help us form...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit Thoughts, Words, and Deeds: Exploring the Litchfield Female Academy, on view April 22 through November 27, 2017...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

Sports and recreation are universal experiences. Whether we make it to the big leagues or never leave our backyards, these activities play important roles in our lives. They help us form...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06059
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit Thoughts, Words, and Deeds: Exploring the Litchfield Female Academy, on view April 22 through November 27, 2017...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

Carol Moore is a lifelong resident of Litchfield, currently residing in Bantam. She is well-know in the area for her colorful, energy-charged paintings and pottery. Carol has always been drawn to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Tricia Messenger
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On Saturday, May 6, the Washington Art Association & Gallery will present Objectivity, an exhibition of sculpture and photographs. This exhibition will explore how five artists working in...

Cost: free

Where:
Washington Art Association & Gallery
4 Bryan Memorial Plaza
P.O. Box 173
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Washington Art Association & Gallery
Telephone: 860-868-2878
Contact Name: Barbara von Schreiber
Website »

More information

The Gunn Historical Museum presents George Krimsky, Class of 1960: The Cold War at The Gunnery and Beyond. The Gunnery’s Gunn Scholar, Dana Ross, a student from Moscow, Russia will...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gunn Memorial Library
5 Wykeham Road
Washington, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Gunn Historical Museum
Telephone: 860-868-7756
Contact Name: Lisa Breese
Website »

More information

Facilitated by Cameron Bove, Monday Scholars is a weekly series that meets in the library’s Jamie Gagarin Community Room. The series combines the best of online learning with the best of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St.
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Tricia Messenger
Website »

More information

Carol Moore is a lifelong resident of Litchfield, currently residing in Bantam. She is well-know in the area for her colorful, energy-charged paintings and pottery. Carol has always been drawn to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Tricia Messenger
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

American women artists, especially those working before 1945, had to navigate societal expectations of women’s domestic roles with their drive to be recognized as professionals. These artists...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Tricia Messenger
Website »

More information

On Saturday, May 6, the Washington Art Association & Gallery will present Objectivity, an exhibition of sculpture and photographs. This exhibition will explore how five artists working in...

Cost: free

Where:
Washington Art Association & Gallery
4 Bryan Memorial Plaza
P.O. Box 173
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Washington Art Association & Gallery
Telephone: 860-868-2878
Contact Name: Barbara von Schreiber
Website »

More information

Connecting with Balance is a 12 week program focusing on using movement and dance to maintain and improve dynamic balance. Participants will work with Pilobolus Teaching Artists on creating...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Litchfield Community Center
421 Bantam Road
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Telephone: 860-567-8302
Contact Name: Litchfield Community Center
Website »

More information

Sports and recreation are universal experiences. Whether we make it to the big leagues or never leave our backyards, these activities play important roles in our lives. They help us form...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

Carol Moore is a lifelong resident of Litchfield, currently residing in Bantam. She is well-know in the area for her colorful, energy-charged paintings and pottery. Carol has always been drawn to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Tricia Messenger
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit Thoughts, Words, and Deeds: Exploring the Litchfield Female Academy, on view April 22 through November 27, 2017...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On Saturday, May 6, the Washington Art Association & Gallery will present Objectivity, an exhibition of sculpture and photographs. This exhibition will explore how five artists working in...

Cost: free

Where:
Washington Art Association & Gallery
4 Bryan Memorial Plaza
P.O. Box 173
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Washington Art Association & Gallery
Telephone: 860-868-2878
Contact Name: Barbara von Schreiber
Website »

More information

Sports and recreation are universal experiences. Whether we make it to the big leagues or never leave our backyards, these activities play important roles in our lives. They help us form...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit Thoughts, Words, and Deeds: Exploring the Litchfield Female Academy, on view April 22 through November 27, 2017...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

Carol Moore is a lifelong resident of Litchfield, currently residing in Bantam. She is well-know in the area for her colorful, energy-charged paintings and pottery. Carol has always been drawn to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Tricia Messenger
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On Saturday, May 6, the Washington Art Association & Gallery will present Objectivity, an exhibition of sculpture and photographs. This exhibition will explore how five artists working in...

Cost: free

Where:
Washington Art Association & Gallery
4 Bryan Memorial Plaza
P.O. Box 173
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Washington Art Association & Gallery
Telephone: 860-868-2878
Contact Name: Barbara von Schreiber
Website »

More information

Japanese school children visit Nagasaki and Hiroshima’s peace parks and museums in order to fully understand the complexities of war and the damaging effects of nuclear weapons. Japanese...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Tricia Messenger
Website »

More information

Sports and recreation are universal experiences. Whether we make it to the big leagues or never leave our backyards, these activities play important roles in our lives. They help us form...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

The popular History Bites Lecture Series is back! The Litchfield Historical Society invites you for their installment of the series on Thursday, May 25, 2017 at noon. Portrait miniatures thrived...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

  Actress Sheryl Faye brings Eleanor Roosevelt to life!  She grew up and became an American politician, the longest-serving First Lady of the United States. She was the first presidential spouse...

Cost: $5.00 donation at door

Where:
Litchfield Community Center
421 Bantam Road
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Telephone: 860-567-8302
Contact Name: Litchfield Community Center
Website »

More information

Put your detective hats on for more American Girl mysteries! Join the Litchfield Historical Society’s American Girl Book Club on Thursday, May 25 from 3:30-5 p.m. Who stole the Jazzman’s...

Cost: $7 members; $10 non-members

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06059
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit Thoughts, Words, and Deeds: Exploring the Litchfield Female Academy, on view April 22 through November 27, 2017...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

Carol Moore is a lifelong resident of Litchfield, currently residing in Bantam. She is well-know in the area for her colorful, energy-charged paintings and pottery. Carol has always been drawn to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Tricia Messenger
Website »

More information

The Bridge Healing Arts Center Hosts an open house for practitioners of the healing arts to explore Connecticut’s first synergistic wellness community. Providers will now be able to refer...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bridge Healing Arts Center
304 Main Street
Farmington, CT  06032
View map »


Sponsor: Bridge Healing Arts Center
Telephone: 860-710-5504
Contact Name: Vera Halina
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On Saturday, May 6, the Washington Art Association & Gallery will present Objectivity, an exhibition of sculpture and photographs. This exhibition will explore how five artists working in...

Cost: free

Where:
Washington Art Association & Gallery
4 Bryan Memorial Plaza
P.O. Box 173
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Washington Art Association & Gallery
Telephone: 860-868-2878
Contact Name: Barbara von Schreiber
Website »

More information

Our outdoor annual book sale carries a wide range of books, including many current best sellers, mysteries, biographies, art history, to name a few; the book sale caters to all interests. (these...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Kent Memorial Library
32 North Main St
Kent, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Carol Moore is a lifelong resident of Litchfield, currently residing in Bantam. She is well-know in the area for her colorful, energy-charged paintings and pottery. Carol has always been drawn to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Tricia Messenger
Website »

More information

Sports and recreation are universal experiences. Whether we make it to the big leagues or never leave our backyards, these activities play important roles in our lives. They help us form...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit Thoughts, Words, and Deeds: Exploring the Litchfield Female Academy, on view April 22 through November 27, 2017...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Power Sanctuary Yoga in Torrington 8:30-9:30am - FREE Sanctuary Power Flow  with Heather 10-11am - FREE Sanctuary Power Flow with Heather & Melissa 11:30am-12pm - FREE Unheated Gentle...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Power Sanctuary Yoga
23 Franklin St.
Torrington, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

On Saturday, May 6, the Washington Art Association & Gallery will present Objectivity, an exhibition of sculpture and photographs. This exhibition will explore how five artists working in...

Cost: free

Where:
Washington Art Association & Gallery
4 Bryan Memorial Plaza
P.O. Box 173
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Washington Art Association & Gallery
Telephone: 860-868-2878
Contact Name: Barbara von Schreiber
Website »

More information

Stop by the studio of Robotics And Beyond at 30 Bridge Street (Suite 204) in New Milford, Connecticut for a free open house to learn about the exciting STEM and STEAM Summer Camps offered to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Robotics And Beyond
30 Bridge Street
Suite 204
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Robotics And Beyon
Contact Name: Paul Chayka
Website »

More information

The Smithy Store’s Loft Gallery will host a collection of original works by Frank Frederico of Goshen. In addition to Mr. Frederico’s work, the gallery will feature stunning photography...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Loft Gallery @ The Smithy Store
10 Main Street
New Preston, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Loft Gallery @ The Smithy Store
Telephone: 860-868-9003
Contact Name: Susan Newbury
Website »

More information

Our outdoor annual book sale carries a wide range of books, including many current best sellers, mysteries, biographies, art history, to name a few; the book sale caters to all interests. (these...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Kent Memorial Library
32 North Main St
Kent, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit Thoughts, Words, and Deeds: Exploring the Litchfield Female Academy, on view April 22 through November 27, 2017...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

Carol Moore is a lifelong resident of Litchfield, currently residing in Bantam. She is well-know in the area for her colorful, energy-charged paintings and pottery. Carol has always been drawn to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Tricia Messenger
Website »

More information

Sports and recreation are universal experiences. Whether we make it to the big leagues or never leave our backyards, these activities play important roles in our lives. They help us form...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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