I am the host of Purchase Late Night with Mike Cronin. This fact, that has been true for over two years now, is just hitting me. I’ve been writing, producing, editing, and filming my own television show for years and it’s only now starting to sink in. Why? Oddly enough, not because of anything I do, but because of what everyone else is doing. We film through our commercials these days and as I sit and edit the raw show footage of our 27th episode, I’m watching technicians adjust camera levels, audience members talk about the bit they just watched, guests fiddle around with set pieces, and music cues being set up. I’m watching infrastructure. I am watching honest to God behind the scenes footage of a real live television show.
Purchase Late Night is a carefully crafted piece of work, made all the more astonishing that every single one of us does it while attending full time classes. This is a project we all put on in our spare time. And while it’s so easy for me to descend into my usual rantings against any piece of art that I do and tear the thing to pieces, there’s an ever growing professional minded side of me that is starting to bark back:
No. This is goddamn incredible.
At the risk of tooting my own horn (hell, it’s about to get the shit tooted out of it) I’m finally starting to agree with the rational side of me. This show is in fact something that not just anyone could do. Each week we put on an entire hourlong show, one featuring two special guests, a music act, over 20 minutes of original comedy writing, and an actual audience that shows up to watch it each week. That is amazing. Again, it’s not like this is Emmy material we’re putting on, but it’s an entirely watchable program, one that I proudly put my name on each week (my name being literally in the title. Apparently I didn’t get enough love as a child). After years of assuring myself of my spectacular mediocrity, I’ve finally put something together that’s really special.
Which is why I’m starting this blog. I always read about these great stories of SNL and the behind the scenes of the real late night shows, and I love them. I love hearing about what it’s like to go on every week, how many times things almost go wrong, just to come together at the last second. Bill Carter’s books alone are enough to keep me going on those dark nights when things look bad and that freaking file won’t export in time.
It got me thinking that maybe our fans would like to know about the behind the scenes of our show, and since I run it, who better to talk about it? It’s actually a fun experience, being in TV, hopefully that will translate to these posts and you’ll enjoy hearing about it. Either way, I’m on a pretty incredible path with Purchase Late Night, so I would feel like I missed an opportunity if I didn’t write some of its history down when I got the chance.