One year ago, the Saturday Night Live family lost one of its greatest talents when Jan Hooks passed away at the age of 57. Though there are many SNL players that fade into obscurity once their term at Rockefeller Center is up, most people are surprised that, aside from a recurring role on 30 Rock, Jan Hooks had pretty much disappeared since the turn of the 21st century. Grantland provides a bittersweet look back into her history and into what happened during those years.
Veteran actor George Coe has died at the age of 86. His final role of note was as the voice of Woodhouse on "Archer" so the producers made a little tribute. Still, he did a lot before that. [more inside]
In their annual gathering of Emmy-contending comedy actresses, The Hollywood Reporter hosts a roundtable conversation featuring Amy Schumer ("Inside Amy Schumer"), Lena Dunham ("Girls"), Gina Rodriguez ("Jane the Virgin"), Tracee Ellis Ross ("Black-ish"), Kate McKinnon ("Saturday Night Live"), and Ellie Kemper ("Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt")
One of the original Saturday Night Live's Not Ready for Prime-Time Players (can you name them all? Take the quiz here), Jane Curtin created characters such as Enid Loopner (mother to Gilda Radner's Lisa Loopner) and Pyrmaat the Conehead. She became Weekend Update's first female anchor after the departure of Chevy Chase in 1976, anchoring solo for Season 2 (making her the only woman to have anchored Weekend Update solo, to date). Although coming in a questionably low 47 on Rolling Stone's ranking of all 141 cast members, she is recognized for "bringing depth and gravity to sketches that might otherwise float away into trainwreck territory." Curtin has been vocal about the misogyny of the early SNL days, and the era itself - particularly the challenges of getting women-written sketches on the air.
Sunday night, NBC will celebrate 40 years of Saturday Night Live with the SNL 40th Anniversary Special, a three-hour event featuring appearances from past cast members, hosts, and musical guests. SNL has a rich history that is certainly worthy of tribute — and there has been no shortage of them on the Internet this week. But, as everyone knows, it’s also a show that has run out of steam in recent years. While the episodes are never exactly bad, the comedy has a tendency to rehash one trite and tired joke: men kissing men. It’s the show’s laziest “punchline,” and one that is never very funny.
Christmastime for the Jews! In a hysterical claymation-style animated short about Jews having free reign over the country on Christmas, Darlene Love [previously] sings about the many benefits of not celebrating the holiday. [more inside]
Saturday Night's Children: "Saturday Night Live has been home to over a hundred cast members throughout the past 39 years. In our [2011-2014] column Saturday Night’s Children, we present the history, talent, and best sketches of one SNL cast member each week for your viewing, learning, and laughing pleasure."
"One day I was hanging out with some SNL writers and cast members in the 17th-floor conference room. It was shortly after the writers had won an Emmy Award for the 1988-89 season. Phil Hartman, who had been a writer as well as a cast member for the winning season, marched in with an 8-by-10 photo of himself. It showed him cradling his Emmy Award in one arm and his newborn child in the other. He tossed the photo down in front of his good friend Jon Lovitz and said, "Check it out, Lovitz—two things you’ll never have." (SLSlate)
His nickname was "The Glue." Coinciding with the unveiling of his star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, Grantland takes a closer look at one of the most celebrated comedic actors of the 80s and 90s known primarily for supporting roles: Phil Hartman. [more inside]
In honor of Saturday Night Live's 40th season, Grantland has been publishing an ongoing series of essays, remembrances, podcasts, and interviews, as well as asking you to cast your votes in The Battle for the Best SNL Cast Member. (They're already down to the final eight; sorry, your favorite cast member has already been eliminated.)
Mike Myers' recent appearance on Marc Maron's WTF podcast is thoroughly entertaining. Myers is promoting his film Supermensch, but he and Maron lengthily discuss Myers' career to date. They cover Myers' TV commerical work as a child, his membership of Second City, The Comedy Store Players and Saturday Night Live, and highlights of his film career (Wayne's World, Austin Powers and Shrek). Full of delightful anecdotes and vocal impressions, it's a revealing, amusing and engaging interview.
Don Pardo, announcer for Saturday Night Live, The Price Is Right and Jeopardy!, has died. [more inside]
Saturday Night Live, facing criticism for lacking diversity, has held 'secret' auditions for black female cast members. [more inside]
Wes Anderson's The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders Last night Ed Norton hosted Saturday Night Live, and this short film trailer parody was the standout. [more inside]
The Last Gang in Town. Punk rock legends Paul Simonon and Mick Jones of the Clash sit down with Ian Rubbish of the Bizarros and talk of old times and how Ian was inspired by each Clash album. They then get together and jam an old Bizarros tune.
After appearing on the season premiere of Saturday Night Live (is that Colin Stetson back there on sax?), Arcade Fire aired a strange but alluring late night special called Here Comes the Night Time, featuring Bono, Michael Cera, James Franco, Ben Stiller, Zac Galifianakis, Bill Hader and a nightclub in Montreal. [more inside]
The God of ‘SNL’ Will See You Now. "How do you please Lorne Michaels? Twenty-two ‘Saturday Night Live’ cast members – and one who came close – share tales of the audition that can make or break a career." Also, extended interviews with Kristin Wiig, Will Ferrel, Chevy Chase, Dana Carvey, Jimmy Fallon and Molly Shannon, on what it took to get hired for 'SNL.' Check out audition tapes from: Phil Hartman, Andy Kaufman, John Belushi, Jimmy Fallon, Dana Carvey: 1 & 2, and Dan Aykroyd. [more inside]
SNL's Bill Hader, Rob Klein, and Jon Solomon discuss "Song for Daddy", the sketch with host Justin Bieber that never made it past dress rehearsal.
Actor, comedian, screenwriter, and graphic artist Phil Hartman died fifteen years ago this week. The Vulture and Legacy.com look back at some of his most memorable characters. KCAL talks to John Hartman about his brother's death and plans to develop his posthumously-released comedy album Phil Hartman's Flat TV as an animated feature. [more inside]
Comedy writing parter to Sen. Al Franken (the two went to high school together and shared an apprenticeship salary when first hired by Lorne Michaels as two of the first writers for Saturday Night Live), Tom Davis has died at 59 from throat cancer. In 2009 he published his memoir of those years, Thirty-Nine Years of Short-Term Memory Loss.
Thanks to lobbying from John Belushi, on Halloween night, 1981, LA punk band Fear played a set on Saturday Night Live. The New York Post headline the next day read "FEAR Riot Leaves Saturday Night Glad To Be Alive.” [more inside]
Peepers, a canticle is an unproduced screenplay for a rough adaptation of Being There, starring the SNL character Mr. Peepers. Credited to one "C. L. Kattan," it was allegedly finished on September 10, 2001, after which point it was "deemed too political by studio executives in the emotionally charged atmosphere of the early aughts." Thankfully, Durrod University Press is hosting a free copy of the masterwork, which comes bundled with an author's introduction and a transcript of the panel discussion "Peepers and Post-Modernity: Kattan in Conversation." [via] [more inside]
After he beat out some popular dance music favorites to win a Best New Artist Grammy last week, many asked Who Is Bon Iver? Some, confused further, asked Who Is Bonnie Bear? Parents everywhere answered: Um, THIS is Bonnie Bear. Fortunately, all this confusion has had a charming result. All the while, Bon Iver has blithely been making music. Yesterday Justin Vernon released a live video of him and frequent BI contributor Sean Carey rocking two minimalist pianos on some old favorites and a brand new cover of Bonnie Rait's "I Can't Make You Love Me". [more inside]
New York Yelp's hotest reviewer is Stefon K. Founded by an unknown Manhattanite, this user's got everything: Mother Theresa on a ketamine binge, live-action Furbies, Laotian children in birdcages and a connection to one of Saturday Night Live's favorite characters.
In honor of Christmas, Splitsider's Mike Drucker runs down twenty Christmas TV episodes, new and old. It all starts with The Dick Van Dyke Show... [more inside]
A sedate-sounding Bill Murray opens up about Ghostbusters 3, Saturday Night Live, depression, his beef with Ron Howard, not having an agent, and the rumors surrounding the roles he's turned down in a 50 minute interview on the Howard Stern Show. [more inside]
Tom Schiller is best known for his work on NBC's Saturday Night Live, particularly for his filmed "Schiller's Reels" and "Schillervision" segments from 1975 through 1990. Examples [mouseover for more details on each]: [ Don't Look Back in Anger • Java Junkie • Falling in Love • The Land Before Television • Swedish TV One investigates Hidden Camera Commercials: What Are They Hiding? • Broadway Story • Search For Akasa ] [more inside]
"All three of the 'Appeal' segments make fun of those pre-movie trailers where celebrities used to ask you to donate money. It's a little shocking to see them using Christopher Reeve begging for money for medical research until you remember this was written years before his accident. Spooky. More celebrities interrupt Chris, arguing over what the point of the Walter Sternberg Foundation is, all of them asking for money, but none of them agreeing on why. Charlton Heston, Robert Vaughn, Clint Eastwood, Mary Tyler Moore, and others show up to argue. They return later to yell at the audience for not giving enough money, accusing them of not caring. Finally, in the third appeal, Chris Reeve just snaps and loses it, furious at the audience. 'I don't know what to say. Words cannot express my contempt for you people. You sit there stuffing your faces in your Reeboks and your Levis 501s. You don't care about the children. You just want to beat the crowd out of the parking lot at the end of the movie. Well, as far as I'm concerned, you can all go f*** yourselves.' Then for the rest of the film, Reeve just randomly shows up in the background of scenes, glaring at the audience with naked disgust." From the never-filmed The Saturday Night Live Movie, written in 1990 by Greg Daniels, James Downey, George Meyer, Tom Davis, Al Franken, Conan O’Brien, and Robert Smigel.
Tom "T-Bone" Wolk, a.k.a. that guy with the hat, is dead at 58. Hall & Oates won't be the same without him. [more inside]
The many MeFites previously disappointed by not being able to attend the recent and enticingly promoted 10th Annual Gathering of the Juggalos will be delighted to know that a similar opportunity presents itself. (SLYT - moderately NSFW)
Saturday Night Live Auditions (all YT links): Phil Hartman, John Belushi, Dana Carvey (2), Will Ferrell, and Jim Breuer (2), (3).
In 1991, SNL unveiled the prototype for The Love Toilet. Almost two decades later, the dream has finally been realized: presenting The Love Seat Toilet and the TwoDaLoo.
Tina Fey as Sarah Palin on SNL [advert precedes video]
It was 30 years ago today that Elvis Costello and the Attractions appeared on Saturday Night Live. They'd wanted to play Radio Radio but SNL said no as it was thought to be 'anti-media.' So they started playing Less Than Zero, but stopped eight seconds in and played Radio Radio anyway, which led to them being banned from SNL for 12 years. Tip o' the hat to the Post Punk Progressive Pop Party.
Rosato was arrested after repeatedly complaining to police that his wife and their infant daughter had been replaced by imposters. Tony Rosato, former Saturday Night Live (81-82) and SCTV cast member, has been in jail in Canada for two years without as trial. He has been diagnosed with Capgras syndrome.
Media-opoly from Saturday Night Live's TV Funhouse skit created by Robert Smigel broadcast in 1998 on NBC, a subsidiary of GE. Not broadcast since, apparently.
"John Belushi is here," Curtis Salgado said to his bandmates after that fateful show in Eugene, Oregon, one evening in 1977 (pdf). "[We said, 'Who's John Belushi?' because for as long as we could remember, we'd always had to work on Saturday nights."
The creator of SNL's "Mr. Bill" tried to get the potential problems of New Orleans noticed for several years. He made a 45 minute documentary shown on PBS (very interesting, watch it (windows media file) here), and even did a public service spot (another wmv). His home page (yes, www.mrbill.com) also has a recent radio interview (MP3) with the Mayor of New Orleans blasting the non-response from the feds to date.
How many times was the word "cheeseburger" spoken in the first Olympia Restaurant sketch? Everything you always wanted to know about NBC's Saturday Night Live but were afraid to ask. The answer is "80," by the way.
"Normally I wear protection, but then I thought, 'When am I gonna make it back to Haiti?' -- Bad Idea."
Just a taste from my favorite new web site.
Just a taste from my favorite new web site.
SNL Producer declares Bush "off limits," despite what it says in the link. In the wake of the Bill Maher crucifixion, Lorne Michaels has decided to play it safe, according to the paragon of journalism. Does this mean no airport metal detector skit?