For over 45 years, Jim Downey has been an unsung piece of the puzzle that kept Saturday Night Live around. Dennis Miller once described Downey as, “the second most important person in the history of Saturday Night Live,” behind only Lorne Michaels. If there’s a comedian’s comedian, then surely Downey could be called the sketch writer’s sketch writer.
Downey, who wrote for the show on-and-off between 1976 and 2013, is the subject of a new documentary acquired by Peacock. Titled Downey Wrote That, the documentary “will explore the sketches, contributions, and enduring influence of Jim Downey, one of the most impactful comedy writers in the history of Saturday Night Live.”
Downey is notable for writing many of the show’s political sketches during his tenure, sending up Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Ross Perot, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Al Gore, and Sarah Palin. Fans of Billy Madison will also recognize him as the host of the quiz show at the end of the film. A scene where he delivered the infamous line, “I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”
The documentary will be executive produced by Lorne Michaels, Erin David, Howard Klein, Osmany Rodriguez, Andy Breckman and Susan Morrison. No release date is currently set.