Alan Zweibel

Alan Zweibel

Zweibel in 2010
Born (1950-05-20) May 20, 1950
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Occupation Author, playwright, screenwriter, producer, director, actor, comedian
Nationality American
Years active 1974–present
Spouse Robin Blankman Zweibel (1979–present)
Children Adam Zweibel (born 1981)
Lindsay Zweibel (born 1984)
Sari Zweibel (born 1989)

Alan Zweibel (born May 20, 1950) is an American producer and writer who has worked on such productions as Saturday Night Live, PBS' Great Performances, and It's Garry Shandling's Show.

Early life

Zweibel was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York on May 20, 1950 to a Jewish family. He grew up in the New York City suburbs of Wantagh and Woodmere on Long Island.[1] He graduated from George W. Hewlett High School in 1968 and The University at Buffalo, The State University of New York in 1972.[2]

Upon graduation from college, Zweibel started writing for stand-up comedians who paid him seven dollars a joke. He later compiled over 1,100 of them into a portfolio which he showed to producer Lorne Michaels who then hired Zweibel to be one of the original writers of a new show called Saturday Night Live.



During his 5 years at Saturday Night Live (1975–1980), Zweibel wrote many memorable sketches, including the Samurai for John Belushi, and helped to create the characters of Roseanne Roseannadanna and Emily Litella, both portrayed by Gilda Radner. As an in-joke, Richard Feder of Fort Lee, New Jersey, a name and hometown often associated with the Roseannadanna character, was Zweibel's real life brother-in-law and did live in Fort Lee, New Jersey.[3]

Zweibel's close friendship and collaboration with Gilda Radner extended beyond their tenure at Saturday Night Live – as her last television appearance was on an episode of It's Garry Shandling's Show which Zweibel co-created and produced. After Radner's death from ovarian cancer, Zweibel wrote a bestselling book about their relationship titled Bunny Bunny: Gilda Radner – a Sort of Love Story which he later adapted into an off-Broadway play.

Zweibel has won multiple Emmy, Writers Guild of America, and TV Critics awards for his work in television which also includes Curb Your Enthusiasm and an episode of Monk.

Publishing, theater, and film

In addition to Bunny Bunny, Zweibel's other books include The Other Shulman – a novel that won the 2006 Thurber Prize for American Humor. His popular children's book, Our Tree Named Steve, was a Scholastic Book Club selection that has been translated into eleven languages, and his young adult novel, North, was made into a movie directed by Rob Reiner. A collection of short stories and essays, Clothing Optional, was published by Villard in 2008.

In 2011, Price World Publishing dusted off some stories Zweibel had written years ago into the eBook From the Bottom Drawer of: Alan Zweibel. Zweibel and Dave Barry collaborated to write the novel Lunatics which was published in in January 2012.

His humor has appeared in such diverse publications as Esquire, The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times Op-Ed Page, The Huffington Post, and Mad Magazine.

In the theater, Zweibel's work has appeared both on and off Broadway. On Broadway, he co-wrote Fame Becomes Me with Martin Short and collaborated with Billy Crystal on the Tony Award-winning production of 700 Sundays. Zweibel's off-Broadway shows include Between Cars, Comic Dialogue, Bunny Bunny, and Happy.

His film credits include Dragnet, The Story of Us, and North which so infuriated film critic Roger Ebert that he penned a now-famous review, one line of which later served as the title of Ebert's book, I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie; Zweibel carries a clipping of the review in his wallet and reads it at public appearances to the delight of audiences.[4]

Personal life

In 2009, Zweibel was awarded an honorary PhD. by the State University of New York and the following year, he was awarded the Ian McLellan Hunter Lifetime Achievement Award by the Writers Guild of America, East.

Zweibel and his wife Robin Blankman, who met while they were both working on Saturday Night Live, live in Short Hills, New Jersey. They have three children, Adam, Lindsay and Sari and two grandchildren Zachary and Alexis.




Unproduced screenplays



Off Broadway


Stage appearances



  1. Capuzzo, Jill P. "From 'Saturday Night Live' to '700 Sundays'", The New York Times, December 12, 2004. Accessed September 17, 2008. "As the funny kid in the neighborhood, Mr. Zweibel – born in Brooklyn and reared in Woodmere, on Long Island – first tried his hand at writing jokes while at the University of Buffalo, mailing them to Johnny Carson and Dick Cavett"
  2. McGee, Celia. "How to Mourn a Friend? One Way Is With a Play", The New York Times, March 9, 1997. Accessed May 21, 2008. "Mr. Zweibel harbored secret ambitions to write as far back as his days as a jock at Hewlett High School on Long Island. After graduation from the University of Buffalo...."
  3. Once again, Ft. Lee is writer's fodder, The Record, July 8, 2005 Archived March 11, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. Zweibel appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, November 14, 2008

External links

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