Vulture's Dan Reilly had a 50-minute conversation last week with Beatts, who was teaching sketch-comedy at Chapman University in Southern California. Beatts, one of the original SNL writers who went on to create Square Pegs, died Wednesday at age 74. "It was a lifeboat situation," Beatts says of being a writer on the first years of Saturday Night Live. "You were forced to get along. But I mean, everybody kind of did get along and was protective. It was competitive, of course. But if your sketch got cut between dress and air or something, people wouldn’t go, 'Nyah, nyah, your sketch was cut!' They’d say, 'Oh, too bad. It’ll probably be in next week’s show.' It was competitive, but supportive. Like a family. We had a sort of rough relationship with John (Belushi). He would often refuse to be in sketches that we had written, and would tell Lorne to 'fire the girls' and things like that. He wasn’t really a sexist kind of person. Away from the show, I had a perfectly good relationship with him. But I don’t know … I was working on a book with his wife, Judy Belushi, who was not his wife at the time, but his girlfriend. We were doing this book Titters, the first collection of humor by women, and that was the first year of the show and it was a massive task. I think he was upset that it took Judy’s attention away from him, even though he kind of wanted her to have her own career. But I just think it made him sort of jealous, and I think that may have been part of the root of his difficulties with (my writing partner) Rosie (Shuster) and me." ALSO: Beatts says Lorne Michaels hired her and then-boyfriend Michael O’Donoghue because he liked hiring couples "because I think he felt being on Saturday Night Live was like boarding the ark…you really couldn’t have a life because the hours were so crazy."