Don Roy King Interview: ‘Saturday Night Live’ director
Don Roy King added another Emmy nomination to his collection this year for his work directing the Eddie Murphy episode of “Saturday Night Live.” The highly-anticipated episode brought the alum back to Studio 8H where he reprised roles like Mister Robinson, Buckwheat, Gumby and Velvet Jones. “He did them justice and he hadn’t missed a beat and he was just as sharp and ad-libbed through Weekend Update that had us all on edge but laughing on edge,” says King in an exclusive new interview with Gold Derby. “It was a thrill all the way through. He was low-key and quiet but when those characters came to life, they came to life fully.” Watch the exclusive video interview above.
To prepare to direct the Murphy episode, King watched segments from those ’80s episodes of “SNL” to try to recapture the magic. “People will say, ‘Wait a minute, Mister Robinson’s Neighborhood didn’t have that window on that side,’ or he never looked at camera in this direction,'” explains King, on his reasons for preparation. “My job was to duplicate the look and the feel and the flow and the rhythm of what always had been done and most of it I think I did successfully.” King, who first started directing for “SNL” in 2006, has the benefit of updated technology and high-definition cameras, but stresses the importance of finding balance and doing his best to “pay homage to the way it was done and the rhythm of the way it was done.”
That episode also featured numerous cameos from people like Fred Armisen, Maya Rudolph, Larry David, Dave Chappelle, Tracy Morgan and Chris Rock. King likens directing with so many people onstage to being a quarterback, making sure everything runs like clockwork. “Because of all the extra people that came in, we’re juggling a lot of balls here, but I think we caught most of the balls,” admits King, “and I recall feeling at the end like that was a special show for a lot of reasons and from my chair, I thought, ‘Okay, I think I did justice to that remarkable cast of people and the finest writers in the world.'” This is King’s 14 nomination from the Primetime Emmys, winning nine of the past 10 years for his work on “SNL.”