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Michael O'Donoghue

Michael O'Donoghue

Michael O'Donoghue (January 5, 1940 - November 8, 1994) was a 20th century writer and performer noted for his dark and destructive style of comedy. He was born in Sauquoit, New York.

O'Donoghue's greatest recognition came as a writer for the National Lampoon during its glory days and as writer-performer on Saturday Night Live (SNL). On SNL he appeared as the grim character Mr. Mike, who favored viewers with comically dark Least-Loved Bedtime Stories such as The Little Engine that Died. He also wrote the Star Trek spoof that was such a tour de force for John Belushi.

He also appeared on SNL in the persona of a cliched, Vegas-style impressionist who would pay great praise to showbiz mainstays such as Michael Douglas and Elvis Presley, then segue to impressions of the entertainers shrieking as if needles had been plunged into their eyes. These impressions are believed by biographer Dennis Perrin to stem from O'Donoghue's real-life agonies from the chronic migraine headaches which plagued him throughout his life.

During his years at SNL he shared Emmy Awards for outstanding writing in 1977 and 1978. In 1979 he produced a television special for NBC (featuring most of the SNL cast) called Mr. Mike's Mondo Video. Because of its raunchy content, the network rejected the program and instead was released as a theatrical film. O'Donoghue returned to SNL in 1981 when the new executive producer Dick Ebersol needed an old hand to help revive the faltering show. O'Donoghue's volatile personality and mood swings ensured that he would for more than a year. His first day on the show he started yelling and screaming at all the cast members, telling Mary Gross that she was as talented as a pair of old shoes, and forcing everyone to write on the walls with magic marker. The only one he liked was Eddie Murphy, because Murphy wasn't afraid of him. The most memorable sketch O'Donoghue created during this short-lived tenure was a spoof of the old Superman Bizarro world (where up is down, death is good, happiness makes you sad, etc.) set in the Ronald Reagan administration. He used real details and plans from the administration in a hilarious showcase of what he considered the insanity of that Presidency.

He had small parts in the 1979 movie Manhattan, the 1987 movie Wall Street, and the 1988 movie he co-wrote, Scrooged. It is worth noting that O'Donoghue loathed the theatrical release of Scrooged, insisting until his death that he and co-writer Mitch Glazer had written a much more brilliant film, far in sensibility from the popular mainstream film that was produced.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2004.

Michael O'Donoghue Facts

Birth NameMichael Donoghue
BirthdayJanuary 5, 1940
BirthplaceSauquoit, New York, USA
Date of deathNovember 8, 1994 (age 54)

Selected Filmography

Once Upon a Time: Season 4 DVD
Head Office
Mr. Mike's Mondo Video
Once Upon a Time: Season 3
Just Add Pepper
Double Feature From Hell
Legal Deceit
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