Dean Obeidallah: The first SNL after 9/11 almost didn’t happen, I was white before 9/11 and more

Dean Obeidallah:  The first SNL after 9/11 almost didn’t happen, I was white before 9/11 and more

Saturday Night Live’s co-header writer and co-producer on 9/11, Steve Higgins, joined me to talk behind the scenes of the famous first SNL after 9/11 where Lorne Michaels asked New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani: “Can we be funny?” Higgins, who is now the on air announcer for NBC’s The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon as well as still serving as a co-producer on SNL, explained there was even talk about canceling the first SNL after 9/11 because of the struggle to be funny just two weeks after the terror attack. Higgins also shared what it was like when anthrax was found in the NBC building two weeks into the that SNL season and then host Drew Barrymore freaked out:

I used to be white. Before 9/11, everyone I knew really considered me a white guy. In fact, all my friends were white with names like Joey, Monica and Chandler. But that all changed for me and millions of other Muslims and people of Middle Eastern heritage in America on 9/11. Here’s my story of standing in lower Manhattan on 9/11 watching the Twin Towers burning and how I could’ve never predicted how much America and my life would changed as a result of the 9/11 attacks:

A Muslim man moved to tears over anti-Muslim bias. A caller named Mohammed shared a story of how shortly after 9/11 he was subject to anti-Muslim prejudice that made him and even a flight attendant cry. He spoke of sitting in First class on a flight and then being directed by the flight attendant to move to the back of the plane. Why? Simply because he was Muslim and they didn’t want any Muslims near the cockpit door:

My show airs live every Saturday at 10am to noon ET on SiriusXM Insight (Ch 121) and repeats several times over the weekend. It is also available On Demand. Hope you check it out and better yet give us a call during the show to “Ask a Muslim” a question, discuss issues of the week or even be contestant on our weekly segment “Name That Religion.” And as always, I want to be your Muslim friend – so if you don’t have one follow me on Twitter at @deanofcomedy and I’ll follow you back or ask me questions at

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