“Neil Young! The Guess Who! Tim Hortons!”
This is how you goad a group of Canadian lawyers into bidding on a comedy experience of a lifetime. More specifically, this is how Canuck actor Will Arnett (Up All Night) persuaded a table of Thornton Grout Finnigan LLP lawyers to outbid a room of Americans on four rare tickets to a taping of Saturday Night Live.
Arnett and his wife, former SNLer Amy Poehler (pictured at right), hosted the Worldwide Orphans Foundation’s (WWO) 7th Annual Benefit Gala in New York City last November. The WWO helps orphans from developing nations become integrated members of their communities.
TGF has attended the gala since its inception and helped launch the Canadian chapter of the organization in 2008. It raises over $200,000 every year for the charity. “We looked at it as a donation to the organization we’re committed to and something we could use as a fun opportunity for people in our firm,” D.J. Miller, a partner at TGF who participated in the nail-biting auction, says of the firm’s hefty final bid.
How much? The firm will only say it was over $10,000.
The boutique restructuring and litigation firm determined which of its nine partners and 13 associates would attend the taping in NYC by drawing names from a hat. Partners Bob Thornton and John Finnigan, as well as associates Alana Shepherd and Kim Ferreira, will find themselves in Studio 8H at 30 Rock on April 14. Their colleagues will likely gather at Miller’s house to watch the show. “To be totally honest, I teared up a bit,” Shepherd recalls of the moment she heard she’d been selected to go. “I had the beauty pageant reaction, where you break down.”
Both associates are most excited to see, and possibly meet, cast members Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig and Andy Samberg. The host and musical guest are to be announced any day now, but the partners have some dream guests in mind. “U2,” throws out Finnigan. Thornton adds, “Adele, with Steve Martin hosting.”
Thornton points out that lawyers and sketch comedians share similarities. “Our job isn’t necessarily as funny, but we have more in common in terms of stress level and performance anxiety,” he laughs. “We’re Monday to Friday live — they’re Saturday Night Live.”
Alana Shepherd will be blogging about her SNL adventure at lawandstyle.ca. Watch for it in April.
Laughing it up in NYC: (from left to right) TGF partners John T. Porter, D.J. Miller and Michael E. Barrack, actors Will Arnett and Amy Poehler and TGF partner Deborah E. Palter. Photo courtesy of Amelia Panico.