Mort Korn ’80
As key grip for the Saturday Night Live film unit, Mort Korn ’80 supervises technicians who create the pre-taped content integral to the show’s weekly comedic mix.
Among his favorite projects are skits that featured Kate McKinnon satirizing Kelly Anne Conway and the TV commercial parody for the Mercedes AA class, a luxury vehicle that runs on 9,648 AA batteries.

“We get a script Wednesday night, it shoots Friday, and is on the air Saturday night,” Korn says. “In that timeframe we parody hundred-million-dollar movies and elaborate music videos, and create political satires.”

Grips are staffers responsible for setting up equipment that supports the camera on a set. The key grip is their supervisor who oversees lighting, rigging, set construction, and camera movement. For his work on SNL, Korn has been honored by the Television Academy with Emmys for his contributions to the Outstanding Variety Sketch Series during the show’s past two seasons.

Korn started out as an English major at Hamilton. During that time the College offered one video production course and two in film production. “There was minimal equipment, a couple of Bolex hand-wound film cameras, a few barely operational lights, and a Sony Portapak video camera,” he says. “We edited our 16mm film with primitive cutters, basically razor blades on a hinge. It was as basic film production as you could find, but you were forced to use your ingenuity and powers of invention.”

Because Hamiltonians

Read about other alumni who are making an impact in their professions and communities around the world.

Despite these limitations, a number of students — Korn included — went on to careers in film production. Six months after graduation he found steady employment as a production assistant at a TV commercial production company. He segued to jobs as a union grip, started running his own crews, and established a clientele doing TV commercials. In 1996, that experience led to his current job.

“When I first started at SNL, we’d have spots on maybe half the shows. Now we have a weekly gig,” he says. The New York native lives in Nyack, N.Y., with his wife, Kim Coons ’79, a retired Mercy College administrator.

What’s next in his career? “Retirement,” Korn says.

Related News

Jonathan Higginbotham '12

Because Hamiltonians Bring Theatre to Life: Jonathan Higginbotham ’12

There are many performances that Jonathan Higginbotham ’12 remembers fondly, but he’ll never forget one particular night at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.

Mona Campbell in a field of lavender on her family's farm.

Because Hamiltonians Preserve: Mona Campbell '85

Mona Campbell ’85 spent much of her childhood “clomping through the forest for fun” on her family’s farm. Now, she shares that important part of her with thousands of others while working to preserve it for generations to come.

Help us provide an accessible education, offer innovative resources and programs, and foster intellectual exploration.

Site Search