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Wednesday December 8th

From E-Haus to SNL, UNC graduate Lindsay Shookus reflects on career

<p>Saturday Night Live producer and UNC graduate Lindsay Shookus spoke at The PIT on Monday.</p>
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Saturday Night Live producer and UNC graduate Lindsay Shookus spoke at The PIT on Monday.

Live from Chapel Hill, it’s Lindsay Shookus!

UNC graduate and Saturday Night Live producer Shookus took the stage at the Carrboro ArtsCenter last night. The event was hosted by Ali Farahnakian with the Peoples Improv Theater of Chapel Hill. 

Flashback to about 20 years ago: Shookus was once a first-year living in Ehringhaus Residence Hall, the president of her sorority and studying public relations in the School of Media and Journalism. Now, she is a two-time Emmy award winner for her work on SNL and has producing credits on 45 episodes of the show “30 Rock.”

Shookus was always destined for greatness. With a strong work ethic and a little bit of luck, her career path came together. She didn’t always know what she wanted to do, but she knew it would be creative.

“I picked the journalism school because in a practical way, I knew I wasn’t going to be a doctor and my dad wanted me to be an engineer — it was never going to happen,” Shookus said. “I thought that the journalism school would give me more practical skills. Like editing, or how to write a press release. I just thought it might help me out later on in life.”

Even then, Shookus saw herself going to work for a PR firm in New York.

“I wanted to go into crisis communications, maybe, dealing with really serious issues," Shookus said. "I’m kind of the fixer at SNL, but I deal with Kanye West." 

After graduation, Shookus moved to New York without a job. Shortly after, she applied to work for SNL and went through a four-week interview process where she was hired as Marci Klein’s assistant. In 2008, she became an associate producer on the show. She became a co-producer in 2010 and has been a producer since 2012. 

As a producer, she books the hosts, deals with all of the talent as they come in, does casting for the show and solves problems. This has given Shookus the opportunity to help launch and further many careers, including her role in getting Kristen Wiig and Sam Smith on the show.

“If you are too afraid to make a mistake and be wrong, then you’re playing it safe and you're never going to find the genius people,” Shookus said.

Shookus’ overall message seemed to be that no matter what you are pursuing, completely immerse and engrain yourself in the culture of that career path.

@laurashanny

arts@dailytarheel.com

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