Alan Zweibel's childhood dream was to live the life of comedy writer Rob Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show. He got that dream when he achieved success on the staff of the original Saturday Night Live.
Upon graduating from the University of Buffalo, Zweibel returned to his native New York City to write one-liners for Borscht Belt comedians. He was named an apprentice writer on what was then called NBC's Saturday Night in 1975. Produced by Lorne Michaels, it was a show with a variety of comedy, as evidenced by the attitudes each writer brought to the table.
Zweibel quickly established a writing partnership with star player Gilda Radner. They created first Emily Litella, the hard-of-hearing commentator on SNL's Weekend Update segment. Litella always brought down the house with her sweet "Never mind" conclusion. By 1978, Zweibel and Radner crafted Roseanne Roseannadanna, another commentator. She was the consummate digressor, extolling her voyeurism freely (a trait common in Gilda herself).
Zweibel contributed a great many jokes to Weekend Update, becoming, with Herb Sargent, a sort-of Update supervisor. This led to occasional bickering over Update jokes by other writers that did not meet Zweibel and Sargent's approval.
Another of Zweibel's famous SNL works was the Samurai, a character John Belushi used to audition for the show. Zweibel put the Samurai in all sorts of everyday occupations.
Zweibel married SNL production assistant Robin Blankman a few months before he left the show in May 1980. He continued to associate with Lorne Michaels, by then the president of Broadway Video. But their relationship was strained after Lorne produced two NBC failures, The New Show and the pilot Bigshots in America.
With several projects brewing at once, Zweibel turned to establish TV stardom with It's Gary Shandling's Show (which was nominated for ACE Awards several times and rarely won them). Zweibel's other works include the novel North (later a motion picture featuring Dan Aykroyd) and a retrospective on Gilda called Bunny Bunny: Gilda Radner: A Sort of Love Story.
In 2004, Zweibel was named the executive producer of The Furst Family, an attempt to adapt of a British sitcom for broadcast on ABC. That project was abandoned.