10 ‘Saturday Night Live’ Sketches
February 13, 2015 12:49 PM   Subscribe

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.
posted by josher71 (125 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 


That critique could benefit from a timeline. The only two dated clips are from 2000 and 2001.
Are the others from this season? Last season? Distributed across the past 15 years?
I never watch SNL. I don't think I ever really got the sketch comedy thing.
But if this is really a trend, it's amazingly regressive.
posted by Seamus at 1:00 PM on February 13, 2015


Get rid of 'men kissing men' and, while you're at it, let's ditch 'white people rap'. Yeah, yeah, there wouldn't be anything left but Weekend Update...
posted by glhaynes at 1:00 PM on February 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


The laziness of using inappropriate and/or surprising kissing is certainly evident, but that seems like a somewhat arbitrary place to critique a show that at this point in its lifecycle either can't or won't find talented performers who can grow into great ones.
posted by clockzero at 1:02 PM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


infini: "Saturday Night Live': All 141 Cast Members Ranked"

Macdonald clearly thought he was hilarious, and that counts for something — confidence is essential for a "Weekend Update" anchor. Unfortunately, he was just a Dennis Miller clone with no mullet and no jokes. Stare into the camera a little longer, Norm; maybe it'll get funnier.


Shut up.
posted by symbioid at 1:02 PM on February 13, 2015 [45 favorites]


With all due respect to the other brilliant people in the top ten, Phil Hartman needs to be a lot higher on that list.
posted by longdaysjourney at 1:04 PM on February 13, 2015 [41 favorites]


infini: "Saturday Night Live': All 141 Cast Members Ranked"

Wow, that's some pretty lazy ranking. I love Fey and she's amazing, but they rank her 3rd? Over Carvey, Hartman, Myers, Radner, etc? Wow.
posted by ReeMonster at 1:06 PM on February 13, 2015 [17 favorites]


The major rehashed and trite element of SNL in recent years is celebrity impersonations. Perhaps it has always been this way, and that it bothers me now more than it used to.

In the last season or two, SNL's been over-relying on musical numbers. They're neither as funny nor as charming as the writers think.
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 1:14 PM on February 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


Interesting that this came up just after I read a Cracked article about Lorne Michaels cutting Nirvana's make out session from rebroadcasts.
posted by ckape at 1:15 PM on February 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Perhaps it has always been this way, and that it bothers me now more than it used to.

Yeah, I mean, hasn't this always been basically a minimum of 50% of SNL content?
posted by brennen at 1:16 PM on February 13, 2015


(I recognize that as an empirical question, but boy howdy am I ever too lazy to try and answer it as such.)
posted by brennen at 1:16 PM on February 13, 2015


Many of my all-time favorite skits have vanished down the memory hole, like "Remembrances of Love,
with Wilt Chamberlain" (transcript)
posted by Auden at 1:16 PM on February 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


I've sometimes fantasized that if I were to win big in the lottery, I'd buy the rights to every episode of SNL and then make them public domain. Maybe it's just 'cause I'm old, but I feel like the show is a valuable historical resource: you can get a feel for the American zeitgeist of a particular time by watching the shows from that time period.

> But, as everyone knows, it’s also a show that has run out of steam in recent years.

And additionally, as everyone knows, people have been saying that it's run out of steam since Chevy Chase left the cast. [not meant as actual snark - I assume you were joking?]

My guess is that the network has already collected the necessary cell samples from Lorne Michaels in preparation for the sad day of his passing.
posted by doctor tough love at 1:18 PM on February 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


I paged through the 141 list and I have no major objections, but speaking as someone who is pretty devoted to the first five years of SNL, who the hell is George Coe?
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 1:18 PM on February 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


If the only point is that it's a tired trope: yeah, definitely.

If the point is that the trope is homophobic: I won't deny that there's at least a bit of latent homophobia here, but to me the idea is more complex then "ha ha two guys are kissing in this sketch, isn't that funny." It's also that, say, actual Paul Rudd is kissing actual Fred Armisen. In my experience, the more famous the actor, the harder they laugh.

So at least in part it's a fourth-wall-breaking joke. Like when they put Jimmy Fallon in a sketch playing Random Dude, and then they put Justin Timberlake in the same scene to do his Jimmy Fallon impression in front of Jimmy Fallon. Or when a character breaks and starts laughing.

They could make the same point by having two female performers kiss in a scene, except they can't, because the male gaze changes that act. I'd like to see them do it with a famously gay/lesbian actor making out with someone of the opposite sex, except even that won't land the same way because until recently it was far more common for gay actors (closeted or not) to play straight roles than for straight actors to play gay roles.
posted by savetheclocktower at 1:18 PM on February 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


Like quite a few of its cast members, Tina Fey didn't really shine until after SNL. Same for Amy Poehler. Jimmy Fallon who is vastly better as a late night talk show host. Kristen Wiig was funny on SNL I guess, but not as good as she would be once she left. They're awesome now, but they didn't really show all that much promise on SNL. I guess it wasn't the right environment for them. They're absolutely ranked as high as they are because of what they've done after SNL.

For that matter, I think Kevin Nealon is a hell of a lot funnier as a character actor than he ever was on SNL.
posted by Naberius at 1:20 PM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


The punchline isn't strictly "men kissing men," it's "established professional performer kissing another established professional performer." See also Kate McKinnon's last call barfly character, making out with Louis CK, Vince Vaughn, and who knows who else. None of which is to say it's funny, only that we shouldn't be disingenuous about why it's not amusing.

And I actually respect that Rolling Stone list for the ballsiness of how wrong it's willing to be. Yeah, right, Gail Matthius is funnier than Norm MacDonald. And I make that sarcastic statement as a (sincere) FAN of Gail Matthius.
posted by incomple at 1:22 PM on February 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Two SNL events you need to see:

Matt Foley and FEAR on SNL

everything else is bad celebrity impersonations and guys making out, I'm afraid.
posted by alex_skazat at 1:22 PM on February 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Are the others from this season? Last season? Distributed across the past 15 years?

The first on the list is from 2011, and the "kissing family" has been recurring for years. There's also one they missed, featuring Jonah Hill.

Nice to know I'm not the only one complaining (... and complaining ... and complaining ...).

In addition to ditching that, there are a few more things that could improve SNL immensely overnight. One: Shorter sketches. Two: Better sketches. Three: No guest hosts. Four: Less saxophone.

who the hell is George Coe?

Woodhouse.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:22 PM on February 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Should have previewed, savetheclocktower basically beat me to it.
posted by incomple at 1:22 PM on February 13, 2015


Everyone always says "it's lost steam in recent years" but it's always been lukewarm, but peppered with gems like:

Colonel Angus
Wayne's World
"Buh-Bye"
Litter Critters
Jack Handy
Census Taker
Toonces

I mean really I could go on
posted by St. Peepsburg at 1:23 PM on February 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


I love that at any point in its history, back to the original cast in the 70s, people have complained that the recent seasons are so inferior to some golden age of SNL.
posted by aught at 1:23 PM on February 13, 2015 [10 favorites]


Seems like major-stretch cherry-picking to prove a dubious thesis to me. Not really recalling a huge preponderance of man-on-man kissing scenes on SNL, frankly, certainly no more than you'd see, say, on any of Seth MacFarlane's shows or on your typical Comedy Central program. SNL sketches suck, in general, but for reasons other than a fatuous reliance on men kissing men. If anything, the man-on-man gay panic plot point is a far bigger element of feature films than it is on TV, which has seemed less jeebed out by the idea of man-on-man than Hollywood for years.
posted by blucevalo at 1:24 PM on February 13, 2015


That Chris Martin / Andrew Garfield sketch would have S L A Y E D if they had played it straight*. Both into it, both feeling the kiss. You get that frisson of an unexpected pairing locking lips — the initial lol men kissing — but then move right past it into wait I thought this kiss was a joke? territory. Plus the enjoyment of moving the culture forward and charting a path to where we want to go instead of wallowing in today's boring cultural reality.

* A general problem on SNL these days, really — too much winking at the audience and not enough taking the gag seriously.
posted by wemayfreeze at 1:25 PM on February 13, 2015


I don't think the Elton John / Eminem skit falls into the same category as some of the other men kissing men skits. The joke in that skit was over Eminem's recent performance with Elton John, despite (or to deflect) accusations against Eminem of homophobic lyics.
posted by justkevin at 1:28 PM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


The only good men kissing sketch was "Greenhilly" with Alec Baldwin and Phil Hartman from 1990. Of course, a lot of SNL pales compared to the Phil Hartman era. Man, that was the last great cast.
posted by Ber at 1:32 PM on February 13, 2015 [8 favorites]


Yes, too many musical numbers (especially during the opening monologue). But what really grinds my gears are the incessant game show parodies. Are game shows relevant any more?
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 1:33 PM on February 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


If I answer that question correctly, how much money will I win?
posted by I-baLL at 1:39 PM on February 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Saturday Night Live': All 141 Cast Members Ranked

Don't look at it, PBO

Don't look

All it's going to do is make you so pissed you'll want to throw up

Don't look

[click]

OH GODDAMMIT ROLLING STONE

FIGHT ME IRL
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:40 PM on February 13, 2015 [21 favorites]


"SNL was amazing when I was in college. It's gotten so much worse since then."
-- Anyone in the last 30 years.
posted by CaseyB at 1:41 PM on February 13, 2015 [13 favorites]


Naw, it was better when I was in high school.
posted by ckape at 1:42 PM on February 13, 2015 [23 favorites]


Whoa, Rich Hall was on SNL?!
posted by I-baLL at 1:43 PM on February 13, 2015


I don't think SNL has ever been the best example of sketch comedy. I'd rank Kids in the Hall, Mr. Show, and SCTV ahead of it in the laughs department, even in SNL's best seasons.
posted by rocket88 at 1:47 PM on February 13, 2015 [10 favorites]


For me, SNL peaked in the late 1980s and very early 90's -- by the time I was in college, it had been truly awful for over a decade. The episodes I consider classics were 80's reruns I watched on Comedy Central 10 years after they originally aired.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 1:48 PM on February 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Maybe he's just not my cup of tea, but I will send $2.43 CDN to anyone who can direct me towards something John Belushi did that will make me laugh. ODing and having your body be discovered by your personal trainer does not count.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:51 PM on February 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


From a New York article published back in 1994:
“If your angle is going to be that the show is decadent and out of touch,” [Lorne] Michaels says wryly, “we have that reduced to a press release to save time.”
Even then, "Saturday Night Dead" was becoming its own recurring joke. And this thing from Flavorwire really seems like one person's pet peeve. Speaking of unfunny recurring jokes, the quote-endquote "comprehensive" listicle, where you rank all of something of a considerable number (such as Star Trek episodes), is its own sad subspecies of clickbait, and putting Chevy Chase in the top 10--or Mike Myers, for that matter, let alone ranking him above Phil Hartman--reeks of desperation.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:51 PM on February 13, 2015


Naw, it was better when I was in high school.

I haven't really watched regularly since the original cast quit. Looking through that list of members, there are a bunch that I had no idea were ever on SNL. Robert Downey, Jr? Janeane Garofalo? Randy Quaid? Sarah Silverman? Who knew?
posted by octothorpe at 1:53 PM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


One thing more lazy and tired than any SNL episode from the last 40 years is the same lazy, tired critique of SNL that you find in any discussion of the show.

"Over reliance on musical numbers these days" is the same as "In my day, Lego only made 2x4 bricks and we used our imagination" in that if one were to actually spend the time to collect data on the subject one would find that there may be spikes and valleys here and there but mostly it's never really been true.

either can't or won't find talented performers who can grow into great ones.

Kate McKinnon. Cecily Strong. Kyle Mooney. These are all talented performers who have already grown and will continue to grow. Others in the cast are really good too, though some of them are certainly destined to be making shitty Adam Sandler type movies in a couple years. I'm looking at you, Pete Davidson.

Although this season is admittedly in a bit of a lull due to the massive turnover, SNL has mostly been consistently good throughout its run. By that I mean a good chunk of it is just... awful. There were some awful sketches in those first few seasons too. But you don't watch it because you're going to laugh straight for an hour and a half, though occasionally you do. You watch it so maybe a few times during that hour and a half you laugh. And maybe once or twice a season you laugh your ass off and talk about it at work on Monday morning. Or maybe you see someone lose it on live TV, or maybe a musical number plays their ass off, or maybe they have a lip sync malfunction and it's fun to see it as it happens. Or maybe the Weekend Update team is on fire all year (though sadly not this year) or maybe some kid from a boy band that you've always just assumed was a talentless hack changes your mind and you look forward every time he returns because he's amazing. Or maybe the real Janet Reno crashes through a wall like she's the Kool Aid man and confronts someone doing a somewhat unflattering imitation of her.

I love SNL. Not always, but sometimes. And those sometimes have been worth it.
posted by bondcliff at 1:55 PM on February 13, 2015 [12 favorites]


Everyone always says "it's lost steam in recent years" but it's always been lukewarm

SNL is great now. Part of it I think has to do with loosening the "Live" portion of it (the digital shorts, from "What Does My Girl Say?" and "Twin Bed" to whatever it is that Kyle Mooney is gifting us with, are often highlights) and part of it is the demographic transitions of (a) letting women be front and center more [Aidy, Vanessa, Cecily, and Kate have all had multiple MVP moments recently] and (b) actually committing to featuring black comedians [five right now, which might actually be more than MadTV ever had at one time, and all of whom I think are pretty top-notch {maybe except Leslie (sorry, Leslie)}] this far into the Obama era.
posted by psoas at 1:55 PM on February 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


No one knew Sarah Silverman was on the show.
Especially not during the time that she was.
That might have been the problem.
posted by Seamus at 1:55 PM on February 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


George Coe is a character actor, and he's been in a million different things. He got a credit on the first show, but not the others that he was in--he was an original Not Ready for Prime Time Player. (I worked on Ken Bowser's doc on the first five years.)
posted by Ideefixe at 1:58 PM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


From the beginning, SNL has been hit-or-miss. I always thought it was part of the show's mystique. And a consequence of being live. I don't know for certain but I've always assumed that "that skit on SNL; what were they thinking?!" was something of a great shared American experience?

On the other hand, some skits take off and develop catchphrases that you can buy engraved on keychains at the counter at 7-11. Which may be evidence that too much success isn't a good thing, but I trust you get my drift.
posted by doctor tough love at 1:58 PM on February 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well, people may have noticed Sarah Silverman was on the show if she was actually onstage, instead of in the audience giving fake responses to opening monologues.
posted by ckape at 1:59 PM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Men kissing men will be funny until people--the audience--stop laughing at men kissing men. Me--gay man fond of kissing men--included.

An aside to that thought, I feel pretty confident that I can smell a dig at queers out from a line up of awkward X kissing X plots that happen to both be men. If an SNL scene features a man kissing another man via a huge, open-mouthed, face-swallowing maneuver, or if those two men happen to be family members, and the outrage machine takeaway is TWO MEN KISSING ISN'T FUNNY! then your machine's broken.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 2:03 PM on February 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


I love Fey and she's amazing, but they rank her 3rd? 

wellll...she did kind of have a major impact on a presidential election during her time on the show.
posted by sexyrobot at 2:07 PM on February 13, 2015


To be fair, sexyrobot, that was after her time on the show. She was into season three (? I think?) of 30 Rock and had to be cajoled into re-appearing for those sketches. I think as observed upthread, there's a lot of rounding up going on in the list due to post-SNL work.
posted by bookwo3107 at 2:15 PM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I loved loved loved the original cast of SNL. I was absolutely floored when I heard they were replacing Murray, Ackroyd, Radner, Morris, Belushi, Curtain, and Newman, and I remember the wasteland times until Murray, Piscopo and others regained the fun of the originals.

But the oddest thing is, I would have been 11 years old in 1980, when the big switch happened. I have no idea what my parents were thinking. How the heck did they not know I was staying up that late to watch the show? I have fond recollections of the show being awesome and strange and decidedly uneven, even in those early days. I would be interested in going back and rewatching those early seasons, because I'm looking at my 11 year old son now and... wow. I *know* I missed a lot of really good jokes, and I bet a lot of the ones I did get would have an entirely different feel now.

I'm trying to picture my son laughing his ass off at Father Guido Sarducci, Andy Kaufmann, Point/Counterpoint, Al Franken and Tom Davis, "cheezburger cheezburger, no Coke - Pehsi", and it's just not working. OK, maybe the Killer Bees, Belushi/Hulk at the superhero party, samurai dry cleaner, and the bag of broken glass, and Radner's "never mind", but the rest?

High school? I would still have been in elementary...
posted by GhostintheMachine at 2:18 PM on February 13, 2015


I stuck with SNL from 1975 to about 2012, when I finally gave up. That first season is a touchstone to me - it took 13 year old me by the hand and made me realize "alternative" culture was what I needed. A year later, Ramones dive-bombed into my life and I was off to the races.
posted by davebush at 2:20 PM on February 13, 2015


My brother and I watched some of the first year stuff. He has some unedited, full shows DVD collection warts and all.

There was plenty of really dull, boring, meandering stuff. One I can remember was a sketch that was a cocktail party, and all the guests were famous superheroes (Hulk, Superman, etc.). It was TERRIBLE, boring and long.

I think the older seasons have been cut and curated so we only really remember the good parts. Gotta say though, I watched the recent the JK Simmons episode, which was possibly the worst SNL I have ever seen.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 2:21 PM on February 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


I gave up on SNL when it seemed like the only jokes they were capable of were LOL gay (you guys are calling it LOL guys kissing, but it sure seemed like homophobia to me) and LOL vaginas.
posted by kitcat at 2:23 PM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Still, in those early days, the collective fury felt righteous, powerful and effective. It felt as if hierarchies were being dismantled, as if justice were being democratized. As time passed, though, I watched these shame campaigns multiply, to the point that they targeted not just powerful institutions and public figures but really anyone perceived to have done something offensive. I also began to marvel at the disconnect between the severity of the crime and the gleeful savagery of the punishment. It almost felt as if shamings were now happening for their own sake, as if they were following a script."
--
One aside, I always thought it was interesting Bob Odinkirk wrote the Matt Foley Motivational Speaker sketch.
posted by four panels at 2:27 PM on February 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


I find that SNL skits are funnier if you age them in a dark cool place for a few years before viewing them.
posted by srboisvert at 2:51 PM on February 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


My favorite SNL moment ever
posted by phaedon at 2:55 PM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I was in grade school during the original Not Ready For Prime Time Players era; I probably saw about three episodes in twenty then, but tales of what had happened were passed around the schoolyard by whoever had been lucky enough to see it. (And with all due respect to my contemporary ghostinthemachine, Bill Murray was one of the departures with the rest of the original cast... unless you are suggesting that the dwindling spirit of the show was revived by Bria Doyle-Murray, in which case gtfo.)

The comedy was like nothing else on TV then, of course, except maybe public broadcasting reruns of Monty Python. The music, though: I recall watching the January 26, 1980 episode, where the B-52s did Rock Lobster and Dance This Mess Around. Atop the Billboard charts at the time was Michael Jackson's Rock With You, which had bumped Rupert Holmes' Pina Colada Song from the top spot and would give way a week or two later to The Captain and Tennille singing Do That To Me One More Time. It is hard to convey how hard this stuff could hit you. Now when I see the show occasionally, I know that the musical guest will be anodyne. Of course, partly it is a different musical landscape and partly it is being fortysomething and not ten, but I know that nothing The Kings of Leon or Nicki Minaj or Pharrell sings is going to change the way I think about music the way that seeing Elvis Costello or Devo or Talking Heads could then.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:01 PM on February 13, 2015 [12 favorites]


Gaaah, typo. Not MurRAy as a replacement, but MurPHy.... wow, yeah that makes a difference. Although the thought of Eddie Murray (of the Baltimore Orioles) on SNL would have been interesting.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 3:04 PM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Whew.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:07 PM on February 13, 2015


And oh god, the music... thanks for that reminder. I was too young to buy any of it, and it was never on the radio around me, so SNL was my only exposure to them. But boy did they stick with me.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 3:12 PM on February 13, 2015


The biggest problem with a lot of the SNL seasons is that the writers didn't (and sometimes still don't) know how to end sketches. However things may be improving.
posted by I-baLL at 3:12 PM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have very clear memories of people in the mid 80s complaining that SNL was past its prime and never would be good again.

Just thinking about the Farley down by the river bit made me lol.
posted by persona au gratin at 3:17 PM on February 13, 2015


I've said it before and I may as well say it again, but I've always said that sketch comedy is absolutely the hardest and trickiest comedic form to write and pull off well.

"Pure" sketch comedy of the "In a van down by the river!" or the reoccuring send up of "Jeopardy!" variety is (IMHO) a highly compressed version of "set up, punchline, call back, repeat" and just plain hard to do well, I think. You have to grab the audience with the premise immediately ("buy the premise, buy the bit") and then make your funny jokes. And then end the sketch. It seems to me that where a lot of sketch comedy fails is that it never knows when and where to end the actual sketch. The best re-occuring bits of SNL (again, my opinion!), didn't just fade, but ended on actual punchlines. Far too many sketches just sort of peter out, after wandering around in joke land.

Which is a part of the reason why I think I lot of the best remembered bits aren't really ensemble pieces. Take Eddie Murphy's "Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood" or his "Gumby" stuff. On some level, those were solo "stand up-esque" comic pieces, starring (and only starring in the case of "Mr Robinson's Neighborhood") Eddie Murphy. While wildly funny, those pieces aren't (to my comedy nerd sensibilities) in the category of "sketch comedy." There's no ensemble there.

Same reasoning applies to "Weekend Update" as well. While there's brilliant satire and amazing comedy in there, I think most people would agree it's "easier" to make a joke out of a real event/person/thing/politician than it is to spin entire characters and a laughable premise out whole cloth and make it funny. Nor is doing jokes off the news the same as sketch comedy.

But maybe I'm too harsh in thinking of SNL as a factory for sketch comedy when in fact it's something else entirely?

But yeah, as someone brilliantly commented earlier in this thread SNL was way funnier when I was in high school. ;-]
posted by zuhl at 3:18 PM on February 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


Ending sketches is just plain hard. Note that some of the best sketch comedy — I'm thinking both Mr. Show and Monty Python — doesn't bother trying to end sketches. They just transition between the end of one and the beginning of another. That works in a combo live-recorded setting but in an all-live setting is super hard, especially with how SNL writes and edits up until the last minute before air. I'd love it if SNL aimed for that, but it would be a big departure for them.
posted by wemayfreeze at 3:19 PM on February 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


I wish SNL weren't so strict about content on YouTube.
posted by persona au gratin at 3:20 PM on February 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


The biggest problem with a lot of the SNL seasons is that the writers didn't (and sometimes still don't) know how to end sketches.

Man... the other night they rebroadcast an episode with Patrick Swayze that had the famous sketch with him and Chris Farley doing the Chippendale's dancers. I had memories of that being a great sketch and it's usually referred to as a classic. It's funny, I mean Farley really sells it, but then after they're done dancing it just... goes on. Forever. I didn't remember that part of it, just the dancing.

It forever ruined my memory of that sketch, which is too bad.
posted by bondcliff at 3:27 PM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


"You know, before I answer any more questions there's something I wanted to say. Having received all your letters over the years, and I've spoken to many of you, and some of you have traveled... y'know... hundreds of miles to be here, I'd just like to say... GET A LIFE, will you people? I mean, for crying out loud, it's just a TV show! I mean, look at you, look at the way you're dressed! You've turned an enjoyable little job, that I did as a lark for a few years, into a COLOSSAL WASTE OF TIME!

"I mean, how old are you people? What have you done with yourselves?

"You, you must be almost 30... have you ever kissed a boy?!"
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:34 PM on February 13, 2015 [10 favorites]


> I wish SNL weren't so strict about content on YouTube.

I actually think that's turning out to be a nail in the show's coffin. For the past few years I've noticed that Saturday Night Live has just kind of fallen away as any sort of cultural icon for the younger generation. It's had no opportunity at all over the past 10 years for content to go viral or share & be remixed, because of the aggressive takedowns.

Personally I don't bother to make SNL references anymore on sites like Reddit, as it's pretty clear that a lot of it is content that nobody has seen or remembers. Spaceballs or Airplane references always gets hearty upvotes, but I've never been able to pull in more than a few upvotes for SNL skits, with the sole exception of Celebrity Jeopardy. Interestingly bits and pieces of Celebrity Jeopardy are the ones that seem to survive on YouTube, and some of those bits clock in at 2+ million views.

The Lonely Planet videos are of course the exception since they're not tied down by NBC's licensing. Needless to say, those videos have indeed gone viral, almost all of them.
posted by crapmatic at 3:50 PM on February 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


I do have hope the upcoming special solely because Bill Murray has agreed to appear. I'll be waiting with a dram of Suntory.
posted by Ber at 3:52 PM on February 13, 2015


I had to stop after finding Norm Macdonald ranked so low because fuck whoever wrote this list. NORM. Burt Reynolds on Jeopardy. NORM.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 4:30 PM on February 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


Interestingly bits and pieces of Celebrity Jeopardy are the ones that seem to survive on YouTube, and some of those bits clock in at 2+ million views.

SNL's Celebrity Jeopardy is a blatant lift of SCTV's Half Wits with the addition of celebrity impersonations. Will Ferrell even seems to be doing more of an impersonation of Eugene Levy's increasingly frustrated Alex Trebel than the real Alex Trebek.

That said, the SNL version is a biting satire of the very real and very dumbed-down-for-dumb-celebrities Celebrity Jeopardy and celebrity culture in general, the lasting appeal is more Darrell Hammond's puerile bully Sean Connery than anything else, and it is definitely among the funniest stuff SNL has ever churned out (especially among the recurring sketches), so I can't fault it too much.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:41 PM on February 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


Saturday Night Live': All 141 Cast Members Ranked

Norm MacDonald and Rob Schneider should be switched.
posted by dirigibleman at 4:52 PM on February 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


I never saw A. Whitney Brown on SNL, but if he was anywhere near as good as this, he should have been a lot higher than #79. The linked routine is both funnier and more intelligent than 99% of what I have seen on SNL.
posted by crazylegs at 5:01 PM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


TIL Bill Murray has a couple of brothers in showbiz.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 5:03 PM on February 13, 2015


I think the problem with the show has been obvious for a long time. The old SNL would take a premise and beat it to death, like Belushi's Samurai Tailor. But somewhere along the way, they forgot how to do that. Now they just beat a joke to death, the same bad joke over and over. This is the sketch where I stopped watching SNL forever.

Protip: The punchline goes at the END of the sketch, not the beginning.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:13 PM on February 13, 2015


It's had no opportunity at all over the past 10 years for content to go viral or share & be remixed, because of the aggressive takedowns.

"Lazy Sunday" was the last time I can remember an SNL piece making its way online and viral or whatever; it hit YouTube at just the right time when the service was hitting its first popularity boom. Try finding it now on YouTube. The first hits of the search I made are for the audio track from the Lonely Planet's album, someone's fan remake, and cameraphone footage of Lazy Sunday 2 on a TV screen.

The problem was someone at the network going "Wait... how can we monetize this?" and instead of going straight to hell for using the word monetize, they began to throw the copyright lawyers around. Can I blame Jeff Zucker? I'd really like to blame Jeff Zucker. I blame Jeff Zucker.
posted by Spatch at 5:19 PM on February 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


But, as everyone knows, it’s also a show that has run out of steam in recent years.

People have been saying that for, oh, 39 years.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:21 PM on February 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


The structure of the show is what kills them. Every sketch is always a full show segment between commercial breaks except the first 15 minutes. So you get:
Cold open -- credits -- guest monologue -- fake ad
-- commercial break
That sequence is usually pretty solid because 1) they front-load their best stuff 2) it's got variety -- a lot happens in that first segment 3) usually the bits in this part of the show are shorter and punchier.
After that it's a steady stream of Sketch / commercials / sketch / commercials.
How much better would it be if it went sketch/sketch/sketch/commercials/etc. ?
The segments are like 7 or 8 minutes and they have proven time and again that they can't sustain a concept that long. if they did two 3 minute sketches instead they wouldn't have to beat every idea completely to death.
posted by wabbittwax at 5:28 PM on February 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


What I'm saying is sketch comedy should be like pop singles but they're trying to do prog rock.
posted by wabbittwax at 5:32 PM on February 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


Dear Rolling Stone List: You lost me at Jane Curtin ranks below Rob Schneider and Kenan Thompson.
posted by NorthernLite at 5:33 PM on February 13, 2015 [12 favorites]


I wonder what percentage of SNL's best-remembered sketches aired before midnight.
posted by wabbittwax at 5:51 PM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Kenan should be underneath the list. And that's real.

I haven't even looked at the list but I expect most of the nonwhite performers not with their own comedy careers to be together near the bottom, where Kenan actually deserves to be.

What SNL needs to do is find a way to do what people find funny now - short videos. There are so many hilarious vines that exist, but SNL has a national audience and hours of time and the vines are still funnier. 5 second films and lots of videos on Tumblr that are hilarious have shown that there are lots of things that are hilarious and you can do them in short order.

There have been a lot of great SNL moments the past few years. Sadly, that's all they have at this point. A moment here, a moment there. They got Sasheer and I was excited for a time. Then they did the predictable things in many of the skits she's in, and I felt like why did expect anything different.
posted by cashman at 5:56 PM on February 13, 2015


One of those hilarious moments from recent memory is Kate McKinnon in the Casablanca skit. (I just pretend like Kenan isn't in it)

Also, there is an SNL app that got released recently that gives you access to years of sketches (but apparently requires a facebook login for many of them).
posted by cashman at 6:01 PM on February 13, 2015


Maybe not totally accurate memory (it was a long time ago and I was then young): Forty years ago that first season of Saturday Night Live wasn't broadcast on NBC in Detroit. After people began talking about it and maybe after some Emmy awards, Channel 50 - you got cable to watch their Little Rascals and Three Stooges and Gilligans Island reruns - picked it up instead. Perhaps by the second season it was on NBC Channel 4.

First seeing Devo was an unforgettable moment from those early seasons.

I think it was someone from Kids in the Hall who said that Monty Python took down the walls from around sketches, allowed them to flow into one another, but Saturday Night Live came along and put them back up. And, I guess, was thereafter stuck awkwardly not knowing how to end a sketch.
posted by TimTypeZed at 6:37 PM on February 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Two of my favorite skits are Phil Hartman as Bill Clinton and Fred Armisen's Weekend Update bit as Ira Glass, which didn't make the final show.

And this Chevy Chase monologue (written by Michael O'Donoghue) never even got to a dress rehearsal. Chevy was game, but Lorne wasn't:
"Right after I stopped doing cocaine, I turned into a giant garden slug and, for the life of me, I don’t know why.

"Hi, I’m Chevy Chase. Have you noticed that, in the years since I left Saturday Night Live, my eyes have actually gotten smaller and closer together so they now look like little pig eyes? Why? Again, I don’t have a clue. As I was saying to Alan King the other day at the Alan King Celebrity Tennis Tournament, ‘Alan, I need more money. What I can’t fit in my wallet, I’ll eat or I’ll shove up my ass, but I must have more!’ And when I looked in the mirror, my eyes were the size of Roosevelt dimes and had moved another inch closer to my nose. ‘What is going on here?!?’ I exclaimed to my new wife, who looks like my old wife except she’s new.

"Still, the fans showed up for my last movie – The Giant Garden Slug’s European Vacation – a movie any man would be proud of, particularly if that man was Cantinflas. There’s much more I can say but I have a twenty lodged in my lower colon and it’s just driving me crazy. My next film is called The Giant Garden Slug Blows Eddie Murphy While John Candy Watches and it opens tomorrow at Red Carpet Theaters everywhere. Don’t miss it."
Lorne Michaels is pretty much going to have to be carried out of his office, which is too bad. The show desperately needs somebody else to take charge. Has he ever talked about the show after him? Or does he believe that it can only exist under his tutelage?
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:43 PM on February 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


I just read something by Stephen Fry where he talked about how the show started off strong, and then tapered off, and was hip to like, then hip to not like, and then got better again, and people hated it when it was good, and loved it when it was terrible, on and on, in an inexorable cycle. And then they went to Season Two.

I've watched SNL since the beginning (far from every episode though), and I've rewatched a lot, from every era, just recently, and I gotta say, there's a TON of filler in those first three or so seasons. A ton of outright crap, in fact. And their biggest sin, which is not men kissing but driving a sketch concept into the ground through a dozen or more iterations, has been around since the beginning.

I also think that one of the strengths of SNL has been "not being funny". Deliberate casualness, missed cues, corpsing, breaking the fourth wall, all of that is important to the humor. A lot of it is shit. It has to be, with forty years.

I just watched an episode from 1977 hosted by Charles Grodin that was absolutely brilliant, an appearance as consistently great as anything they ever did, where the entire premise was that Grodin had missed rehearsals and hadn't realized the show was actually live, and featuring him breaking character in several sketches to talk about how the motivation of, for instance, the Killer Bees, was confusing to him -- which was ten times funnier than anything the Killer Bees ever did. He also dueted with Paul Simon (not a guy renowned for having a sense of humor about his songs) in costume as Garfunkel, completely butchering a couple of their classics, until Simon, after a discussion about why Chuck needed to sing when he obviously could not, walking off the stage. It was simply brilliant stuff. Supposedly Grodin got banned for that performance. If so, then I submit that SNL don't actually know what's good about their own show.
posted by Fnarf at 6:57 PM on February 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


Or does he believe that it can only exist under his tutelage?

I believe Michaels has a stipulation in his contract where, upon his death, he is to be laid in state in Studio 8H. All cast and crew are to gather there and then the doors welded shut, so that they may serve him with boffo chuckles in the afterlife.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:00 PM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


First seeing Devo was an unforgettable moment from those early seasons.

If you liked Devo, you were watching the wrong show. They were practically the house band for Fridays.
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:02 PM on February 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


No one knew Sarah Silverman was on the show.
Especially not during the time that she was.


You know what? I did. I remembered her being on the show, and then there was this one time I was in a bar in Brooklyn in the 90s, and I looked over, and there she was, sitting there alone. She wasn't famous, she had just had bit parts on a famous show. I thought about talking to her, but of course I didn't.

But now I think back, and have to think man, I had the chance to ruin Sarah Silverman's career, but I didn't.

Ah, who'm I kidding? She would've been famous anyways. That Jewish doctor shit kills.
posted by fungible at 7:25 PM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Were people really doing the "It used to be so much better" bit during the late-80s/early 90s?

It didn't seem to get much mention here, but VH1 Classic has been running all the shows in reverse season order. It was great to finally see the Hartman/Carvey/Hooks/Myers era again. But even then, a lot gets cut out, some of the sketches fade out awkwardly, and the musical acts are seldom included. The DVDs don't seem to have gone past the first few seasons, and Hulu Plus seemed to have only those and the more recent seasons.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 8:21 PM on February 13, 2015


How much better would it be if it went sketch/sketch/sketch/commercials/etc. ?

Changing sets makes that hard: it also points to why many skits end up extended beyond the point at which they've delivered all their comic value. The pre-recorded snippets and Digital Shorts provide more options in the modern format, but my guess is that Michaels would resist any change to the fundamental stage format.

In passing: the ex-porn star bits with Strong and Bayer are hilarious.

What SNL needs to do is find a way to do what people find funny now - short videos.

That feels like a very cramped definition of 'people'. Also, Vine gave Dapper Laughs his break, so um.
posted by holgate at 8:23 PM on February 13, 2015


So maybe I'm a madman (certified, actually!) but mayyyyyyyyyyybe Jon Stewart should remove Michaels and take over...

A guy can dream.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:36 PM on February 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh god why did I look at that Rolling Stone list?

I actually have loved the past 10 years of SNL, but I admit I was a bit nervous after Kristen Wiig and my imaginary boyfriend Jason Sudeikis left (thus losing my two favorite sketches, Dooneese on Lawrence Welk and What Up With That?). I am pleased to say that my fears were unfounded and I'm really enjoying where the show is going and the death of SNL's white boys club (more than two Black folks! an out lesbian! an UNASHAMED FAT WOMAN).

So with that said, RS can die in a fire for numbers 92-81. Leslie Jones is funnier than most of the people ranked between 80-1 and I will fight anyone who says otherwise. She is awesome and I love her. I LOVE HER SO MUCH.

(When I heard that she and my imaginary girlfriend Kate McKinnon were cast in the Ghostbusters remake my head almost exploded. Shame about Melissa McCarthy though.)
posted by elsietheeel at 9:22 PM on February 13, 2015


The old SNL would take a premise and beat it to death, like Belushi's Samurai Tailor.

Much blame accrues to Buck Henry; as I understand it, during one of his hosting gigs he remarked that that samurai thing Belushi had done a few weeks back was pretty funny and maybe we could do an encore of that. Thus was the concept of The Recurring SNL character born.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:33 PM on February 13, 2015


TimTypeZed, I still remember an interview with Gilda in which she complained her mother couldn't see it in Detroit. (Is this where we explain to the kids you couldn't find it somewhere on the Net five minutes later either?) That was just before I moved to the Detroit area, but I'm not certain we got it on my local station. (Or maybe we received it but we didn't get it -ba dum dah.)

That OC era was my part of my pop culture formative years. I adored the OC, still remember how they ended their last episode. And out of loyalty I followed it into the early 80s blecherousness and beyond. But there must've been points when my attention waned, becaus I have zero recollection of some of those 90s/early 2000s players-even the now famous. And yet I do remember Annfrickin Risley et. al.

I think the Spade/Sandler boys club stuff no doubt turned me off. The resurgence (or emergence?) of stronger women got my attention, as did the 08 election in particular. I think there've been some good performers the past several years, but the focus and material usually doesn't hold me all the way thru when I do watch.
posted by NorthernLite at 9:45 PM on February 13, 2015


Were people really doing the "It used to be so much better" bit during the late-80s/early 90s?

Yes. The "Saturday Night Dead" joke started when the original Belushi/Ackroyd/Radner cast left in 1980, and it never really stopped.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:43 PM on February 13, 2015


Yes, too many musical numbers (especially during the opening monologue). But what really grinds my gears are the incessant game show parodies. Are game shows relevant any more?

[connery]Well, Trebek, your mother didn't think you were relevant when I fucked her last night.[/connery]

I stopped watching back in the Norm MacDonald days. The day I could sit stonefaced through a Weekend Update was the day the show was dead to me.
posted by Samizdata at 12:27 AM on February 14, 2015


The vibe from the comments here is "moments," as opposed to enduring excellence, whether those moments were people-driven or sketch-driven. That hit-or-miss quality drove me away...I wasn't willing to tune in just to find out whether I could waste time and patience hoping for a laugh.

SNL bears a striking resemblance to The Tonight Show (starring Johnny Carson), in its hit-or-miss nature. We're used to seeing clips (maybe even just blips) that made us laugh, but those monologues were usually argh-ful.

And (at the risk of infuriating everyone, like I care): Belushi would not be #1 on that list if he had lived. But he'd have been in the top 5.
posted by datawrangler at 5:29 AM on February 14, 2015


The thing is, name me a sketch comedy show that isn't/wasn't always hit-or-miss. Yes, even Kids In The Hall. Yes, even Monty Python.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:02 AM on February 14, 2015


The thing is, name me a sketch comedy show that isn't/wasn't always hit-or-miss. Yes, even Kids In The Hall. Yes, even Monty Python.

Quite. But those weren't 90 minutes long, and they didn't run for 40 years. SNL has a lot of misses. The sketches are so long that even the hits are mostly miss.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:04 AM on February 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Leslie Jones is funnier than most of the people ranked between 80-1 and I will fight anyone who says otherwise.

Lets fight then! Whee! Because she is as terrible as that list is. What are your favorite 20 skits Leslie Jones made funny? I'm still trying to get where she is funny and not terrible. I remember one weekend update segment that ended up being controversial - the one about dating - and I thought that was about 40% funny and about 90% cringeworthy. (funny and cringeworthy can overlap)
posted by cashman at 7:36 AM on February 14, 2015


By the way, it's official. I can't have children.
posted by maryr at 8:47 AM on February 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


What I'm saying is sketch comedy should be like pop singles but they're trying to do prog rock.

The defining characteristics of prog, for better or worse, are complexity, variety, and precision. SNL, however, is simple, repetitive, monotonous, poorly-executed wank whose primary goal is to fill out an overlong set. It's not prog; it's Phish.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:50 AM on February 14, 2015


Forty years ago that first season of Saturday Night Live wasn't broadcast on NBC in Detroit.

That's very possible and not some anomaly. The show only got on the air because everybody watched Howard Cosell and his show -- which was at the time titled Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell, and NBC's content at that hour was mostly unseen. In those days local stations did a lot more pre-empting, especially when the network-supplied content was moribund.

In fact, people forget that the first season was run in repertory with the pre-existing show, Weekend. (My parents were devotees, so we sort of automatically watched this weird thing with Buck Henry that showed up on our teevee.) It wasn't until Weekend went off the air that SNL owned the timeslot (some may argue that the week off once a month was good for creativity....) and until Cosell went off the air that NBC was able to use the full Saturday Night Live moniker (previously it was called NBC's Saturday Night).

(Anyway, can I just say here that having ANY discussion of SNL devolve into debating the minutiae of when it was good and when it turned sour and what exact sketch or performer was responsible is really ... it's done. Just resolve next time not to do it, okes? We'll all enjoy the discussion more.)

As to YouTube and virality, you all know that SNL streaming is all on Hulu and something called Yahoo! Screen, right? I was trying to watch the old seasons and only got through S2 when that deal took effect. I understand I can watch Yahoo! on the web, but they sure haven't provided a way I can watch this shit on my TV. Hello, Yahoo? There is this thing called set-top boxes. Make an app.

I think it's correct to say that the musical guests are no longer ground-breaking, but there also doesn't seem to be a similar link, as during the 70s, between ground-breaking music and counter-culture that isn't some sort of minuscule sliver. Also, people no longer need a network TV show broadcast into the heartland to discover new music. The show does, especially with the recent cast turnover, seem to be trying to reach more ethnic and younger demographics. I think it's best to think of it as a bridging institution, though, which connects mainstream and non- bits of the culture. I expect it will be around until the concept of network television withers and dies on the, uh, Vine, as seems likely.

But yeah, NBC? I'm a cord-cutter. I'm a fan. I'd watch your show if I could. I'd watch all 40 seasons if I could. Yahoo or NBC or somebody had better realize they've got the winning stuff buried where it can't be found.
posted by dhartung at 9:16 AM on February 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Much blame accrues to Buck Henry; as I understand it, during one of his hosting gigs he remarked that that samurai thing Belushi had done a few weeks back was pretty funny and maybe we could do an encore of that. Thus was the concept of The Recurring SNL character born.

No, I'm not talking about recurring characters. I'm talking about the tendency in more recent years to take one joke and beat it to death. Like the Orgasm Man sketch, it has one joke, and it literally beats it to death, the guy repeats the same joke until he dies.

But compare it to other classic sketches like The Olympia Restaurant. It is deliberately repetitive, but it sets a rhythm and changes it repeatedly. It has a sort of story arc, and then the big switcheroo for the punchline.

The newer shows (like the past few decades) just don't understand that the punchline comes at the END of the sketch. The first part of the sketch is the setup.

BTW the logistics of that Olympia Restaurant sketch still amaze me. They set up a working grill and used pounds of hamburger to make real cheeseburgers. And it's hilarious because it's realistic, I used to go to a burger place that was almost exactly like that sketch, it was like seeing my lunch on TV.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:53 AM on February 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


The first part of the sketch is the setup.

Well, yes and no. There are all sorts, including the kind that SNL continually aims at, which are character- and catchphrase-driven.

And the reason for that is baked into the fundamental value offering and structure of the show:

* It's weekly (more or less).
* It's live.
* It's topical.
* It's aimed at a wide, mainstream audience that skews toward a preference of repeated hits over experiments and the avant-garde.
* It's a showcase for a host that is most often not a sketch or improv expert.
* The writers, actors and producer are oriented to cash in on successful characters via movies and merchandise.

Slam that all together and you get, for example, lots and lots and lots of sketches where the basic premise is a wacky talk show with weird guests. Because that checks all the necessary boxes.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:29 PM on February 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Looks like NSYNC might be reuniting on SNL tonight. And it's 3 & 1/2 hours long now. And Kerry Washington will be there. I hope this is as epic as it seems it will be.

Oddly enough, I hope Ellen Cleghorne shows up to cut somebody. And Melanie Hutsell tridelts her way into something. And oh wow, looks like Melanie Hutsell will in fact be there.
posted by cashman at 3:56 PM on February 15, 2015


I made it this far into the special. The Californians was a painfully pitch-perfect example of everything SNL does wrong, and I noped right out.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:17 PM on February 15, 2015


I have to stay because I want to see Chris Rock tribute Eddie Murphy. And I have to see Melanie and Ellen. And I hope Tim Meadows pops in.
posted by cashman at 6:22 PM on February 15, 2015


Well, Miley was good.
posted by holgate at 7:32 PM on February 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Miley was good! The whole world is freaking out. All her antics over the past few years eclipsed the fact that she can actually sing.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:39 PM on February 15, 2015


I quit during "Baby I'm Amazed" because I'd had enough of the one-second clips and Deniro reading poorly and the line is TERRIFIC BASS -- and besides, Sunday nights are kind of a clusterfuck of almost all the shows I normally watch, so, enh. Maybe if they'd scheduled it for another night of the week...
posted by Sys Rq at 7:42 PM on February 15, 2015


No show with as long a history as SNL can keep going without some kind of reinvention, and some kind of reason to keep going. And remarkably, they've done that, thriving on the kind of change and chaos that drives some performers crazy. True, it will never be perfect, but we've been overlooking that since season one.

All that said, I feel better about it hitting 50 than many other things.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:22 PM on February 15, 2015


Sys Rq: “I quit during "Baby I'm Amazed"…”
Paul was terrible, and that was a terrible choice of song, but the show actually managed to get pretty watchable. It was especially poignant when they came to Jon Lovitz in the In Memoriam montage.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:22 PM on February 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I know they stretched this show out ahead of time, but dang, it feels like the Oscars.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:23 PM on February 15, 2015


ZeusHumms: “I know they stretched this show out ahead of time, but dang, it feels like the Oscars.”
Given the past several years, one presumes they forgot to leave room to the laughs. Although I'm a little pissed they cut the good nights short, since “A Waltz in A” is a really iconic piece of the SNL puzzle.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:40 PM on February 15, 2015


Naturally, and as usual, I found a version I liked better now that the edit window is closed.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:49 PM on February 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


it feels like the Oscars.

...if the presenters gave themselves all the awards.
posted by holgate at 9:19 PM on February 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Quite self-congratulatory but Murray was great. Maya Rudolph as Beyonce was just fine.
posted by Ber at 9:32 PM on February 15, 2015


“‘Saturday Night Live’ 40th-Anniversary Shootaround: R.I.P., Jon Lovitz,” Grantland, 16 February 2015
Last night’s SNL 40th-anniversary special had the unenviable task of cramming decades of comedy history into one evening’s worth of entertainment. Granted, the program in question stretched into an almost four-hour extravaganza, but even that wasn’t enough time to represent all that Saturday Night Live has meant to the art of making people laugh far past their bedtime. And yet it would be a stretch to say the show wasn’t a satisfying, meaty, and oftentimes emotional affair. We got together to pay tribute to this iconic series.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:58 AM on February 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have a gut feeling anyone who didn't find something to like in the anniv. show probably has never ever liked SNL. Yep, we had to put up with Kanye, Taylor and Miley (altho I like the concept of the latter's homage to early host Paul Simon). And I do a much better Roseanne Roseannadanna than Emma.

But we also got the 3 ladies on WU. (Tina re: multigenerational viewers: "Babyboomers, Gen X, and whatever you call the little dummies who are livetweeting this instead of watching.")

There was Will and Ana's crazy music duo (and why can't I find that online today, instead of KWest), Edward Norton and McCarthy doing credible imitations of other SNL characters, Maya's Beyonce, an OK celeb Jeopardy, etc. Even the Californians was redeemed (er, is that the word?) by Betty and Bradley making out. A fair amount of SNL mocking itself, as well. And I loved them referencing the Rolling Stone list.

Plus I like to think our dear Gilda and the other no-long-with-us SNLers would've enjoyed the repeated references to Jon Lovitz in memoriam. (To which someone on twitter added: http://tinyurl.com/nnyzkyx)
posted by NorthernLite at 11:22 AM on February 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Paul was terrible

I disagree! He hit the notes, and that is not an easy song to hit the notes in, especially for a decrepit skeleton. Baby, I was amazed!

But since I hadn't laughed once in the first hour, and it was time for my weekly appointment to be disappointed by The Walking Dead, I bailed during that performance.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:29 AM on February 16, 2015


“Ready for Prime Time: The Giddy, Brilliant (and, OK, Somewhat Bloated) ‘SNL 40’,” Bill Simmons, Grantland Hollywood Prospectus, 16 February 2015
posted by ob1quixote at 12:12 PM on February 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Homophobic, yes. Also, SNL has always been, and still is, incredibly hateful towards women. Watch any episode and there will be a woman called stupid, crazy, or the butt of the joke. They also think infertility is hilarious.
posted by agregoli at 8:24 AM on February 17, 2015


They also think infertility is hilarious.

If you're talking about the Debbie Downer sketch, that is not the joke.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:09 AM on February 17, 2015


I am talking about dozens of sketches over the years. And I have no idea why you would exclude that one...
it still includes a woman talking about her infertility as part of a joke, that she is insufferable.
posted by agregoli at 9:41 AM on February 17, 2015


Quite a week indeed... https://twitter.com/normmacdonald
posted by matimer at 8:25 PM on February 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


matimer: “Quite a week indeed... https://twitter.com/normmacdonald
It really is a helluva story. Just in case he decides to delete this story like he did the Bob Dylan one…

“Norm Macdonald's epic 'SNL 40' recap,” Jean Bentley, Storify, 18 February 2015
posted by ob1quixote at 10:48 PM on February 18, 2015


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