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Chicago – Love, hate or maintain indifference to it, the TV dinosaur “Saturday Night Live” has and will continue to influence American culture as long as it may reign. To celebrate its 40th Anniversary, filmmaker Bao Nguyen takes a fresh look at the iconic television show in “Live From New York!”
To put the era in perspective, when I saw the first very first episode (October of 1975) I didn’t understand parts of it – it was unlike anything this teenager (at the time) from small-town Indiana had ever seen. A joke about two men doing a parody of the Geritol ads at the time – “my wife, I think I’ll keep her” – was light years ahead of that situation being a reality. And that is how Bao Nguyen approaches this documentary, with an eye towards how SNL broke barriers, and how it maintains a jaundiced view of the cultures, news and the world. »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
With 40 years’ worth of material to cram in, this authorised SNL documentary leaves out the drugs and dodgy sketches in favour of a breezy, celebratory tone
On the one hand, an 80-minute documentary cramming in 40 years of Saturday Night Live (SNL) is bound to be a disappointment. There’s no way you can highlight everything. On the other, having 40 years’ worth of material and only 80 minutes to fill ensures the gag-writers and sketch comedians from Studio 8H will seem like the greatest heroes ever to walk the Earth. Director Bao Nguyen’s breezy, authorised hagiography shows how producer Lorne Michaels and his revolving staff kept their show fresh and reflective of the times. Appraising this programme in full is, in many ways, simply looking at smart people looking at the world around them. As such, Live From New York! is a nice macro view of our culture from a wash of specificity. »
- Jordan Hoffman
The original “Not Ready for Prime Time Players” from “Saturday Night Live” were given that title because their antics were edgy and eyebrow raising. Chances are three members of the troupe will exhibit more restraint in a new home.
Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtin and Larraine Newman will reprise their roles as the Coneheads as part of continuing efforts by State Farm to use old “SNL” characters to generate new attention for the company’s sales of insurance. The appearance of the trio, all members of the original “SNL” cast, follows State Farm’s use of the show’s Chicago Super Fans ( George Wendt and Robert Smigel), and Hans and Franz (Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon) in past commercials as part of a broader agreement with Broadway Video, the company owned by “SNL” creator Lorne Michaels that produces the latenight bastion.
“Use of these nostalgic characters really allows us to reach a bigger and broader audience, »
- Brian Steinberg
Every time Amy Schumer comes out with a new sketch, it's impossible not to think about how necessary it is that a female standup comic has the platform on Comedy Central to be as irreverent, truthful, and damning as she wants. It wasn't so long ago that females in sketch comedy were reduced to one-note roles. (Check out "Laugh-In" sometime and note how many times the point of a bit is "Oh, Goldie. Such a space cadet.") We picked ten examples of feminism in sketch comedy dating all the way back to the heyday of Carol Burnett. Comb the hair on your Asian-American doll and enjoy. 1. Carol Burnett is "movie star crazy" One of the enduring treats of "The Carol Burnett Show" is the feminist undertones in many of her sketches. The fact that she's so outlandish and having so much fun is a triumph in itself, but in this sketch, »
- Louis Virtel
Even though we’ve never had Saturday Night Live on TV regularly over here in the UK, I’ve somehow known about it my whole life and the sheer, massive, and hilarious influence its had on the North American and world comedy scene. It’s a completely unique cauldron of unexpectedly and somewhat ridicolously talented human beings, made from skin and funny stuff.
We’ve got the first trailer for Live From New York! that’s set to look through SNL’s history in-depth and give us some of the best highlights along the way, I’d say that’s guaranteed. As you’ll see in the trailer, it was all thanks to Canadian Lorne Michaels – so we’ll hear a lot about him – but there are also interviews with the stars of the historic show along the way that includes Laraine Newman, Chris Rock, Candice Bergen, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, »
- Dan Bullock
“Saturday Night Live’s” 40th anniversary party just won’t stop.
The first trailer for the documentary “Live From New York!” — which chronicles the iconic NBC sketch comedy show’s cultural and historical impact — has debuted, offering old footage from the series and a new look at the behind-the-scenes magic that goes into putting it on week to week.
“They said it would be a cross between ’60 Minutes’ and ‘Monty Python,'” former cast member Laraine Newman (1975-1980) says in the trailer.
“It’s the only form where everyone is necessary to the end,” creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels says. “We don’t go on because we’re ready, we go on because it’s 11:30.”
The film kicks off the Tribeca Film Festival »
- Maane Khatchatourian
Read More: Tribeca Film Festival Will Open with 'Saturday Night Live' Documentary 'Live From New York!' It was announced today that the feature length documentary film "Live From New York!" will be getting a theatrical release on June 12. The film explores the early years of "Saturday Night Live" and features archival footage, stolen moments and exclusive commentary from Lorne Michaels, SNL legends, journalists, hosts and crew including Chevy Chase, Laraine Newman, John Goodman, Tina Fey, Candice Bergen, Chris Rock, Amy Poehler, Alec Baldwin and more. "When Jl and I first conceived of the idea for this film, it was always our vision that it be released theatrically," said co-producer Tom Broecker. "Given that 'Live From New York!' highlights the impact SNL has had on American culture, it's only fitting that it be available to moviegoers across North America," added his fellow creator and producing partner Jl Pomeroy. »
- Casey Cipriani
“Live From New York!,” directed by Bao Nguyen, will debut April 15 as the opening film at the Tribeca Film Festival. The documentary combines archival footage with interviews of “SNL” cast members, crew, hosts and journalists and traces the evolution and influence of the show over nearly 800 episodes.
The show premiered on NBC on Oct. 11, 1975. The documentary is created and executive produced by J.L. Pomeroy and Tom Broecker, and produced by Kimmie H. Kim, Sarah Cowperthwaite and Owen Moogan, with associate producer Demetra Stavrakas.
Abramorama’s release will include support from the Landmark Theater chain, including their venues in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. »
- Dave McNary
Shout! Factory TV, now in its second month, has added three more properties to their growing library of streaming content. These include Gerry Anderson’s Stingray, the Supermarionation series from the mid-1960s, the animated Goode Family, and the 1970s comedy Kentucky Fried Movie.
Shout! Factory TV is a premiere digital entertainment streaming service that brings timeless and contemporary cult favorites to pop culture fans. With a uniquely curated entertainment library, the channel offers an unrivaled blend of cult TV shows, movies, comedy, original specials and more – presenting an exciting entertainment alternative to other services.
Shout! Factory TV is available through any browser and has a Roku app.
The Goode Family (All 13 episodes)
The Goode Family, from executive producers Mike Judge (King of the Hill, Beavis and Butt-head, Office Space) and John Altschuler & Dave Krinsky (King of the Hill, Blades of Glory), comes to Shout! Factory TV this March.
- ComicMix Staff
NBC aired the three and a half hour 40th Anniversary special for their beloved late night sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live last night, and it was surely an affair to remember, with memorable appearances by comedians who got their start on the show, such as Eddie Murphy, Bill Murray, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake kicked off the show with a memorable cold open, which is just one of many video highlights you can watch below, in case you missed the special or just want to relive it all over again.
Saturday Night Live's 40th Anniversary Special was watched by 23.1 million viewers last night, making it the network's most-watched primetime program in over 10 years, excluding post-Super Bowl programs. The ratings were the highest since the 2004 series finale of ER, which was watched by 23.9 million viewers. Also, excluding the Super Bowl and major awards ceremonies, »
Bradley Cooper and Betty White made out during Sunday night’s SNL 40 special edition of “The Californians.” Bradley Cooper And Betty White In SNL 40 ‘The Californians’ Sunday night’s edition of “The Californians,” starring SNL alums, Kristen Wiig, Fred Armisen and Bill Hader, featured a slew of celebrity guests. Former SNL cast member Laraine Newman […]
- Olivia Truffaut
"The Californians" is, perhaps unfortunately, an accurate satire about the kinds of things Californians might talk about in their spare time, like rattan furniture or taking four highways to get to brunch. At the "SNL40" gala last night, "The Californians" became a star-studded SoCal treat featuring expected guests (Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Vanessa Bayer) and some visiting stars (Taylor Swift, Kerry Washington, Bradley Cooper, Betty White, and even Laraine Newman). It's long, but it's full of great moments. It won't surprise you that every line of Kristen Wiig's is absolutely hilarious. »
- Louis Virtel
For 40 years, "Saturday Night Live" has been a lot of things. An institution. A punching bag. A voice of anarchy. A voice of conformity. A breeding ground for incredible talent. A place where mediocrity can also find a home. The only reason Alec Baldwin and Sarah Palin should ever be in a room together. Something people take for granted. Something that can make a person immortal. Those are a whole lot of things, and for three-and-a-half hours on Sunday night, pretty much all of the show's most notable living alumni were present in Studio 8H, which tried like hell to pay tribute to all of them. Important reminder: Jon Lovitz is not dead. Neither is Garrett Morris, Ellen Cleghorne or Laraine Newman. Only one of those people let their relative obscurity be mined for comedy, but all were given the most minute of opportunities to make their presences known. Each time that minor opportunity occurred, »
- Liz Shannon Miller
One of the best jokes in Saturday Night Live’s 40th-anniversary special was the appearance of original cast member Laraine Newman in a reprise of the running faux soap opera "The Californians." Newman’s character arrives on set, identified as Kristen Wiig’s mother, to complain, “I was having a therapy session on the phone, but I almost didn’t hear it because you guys were arguing.” If the reference passed by you, Newman is reprising a character she played four decades ago, a kind of pro-California stereotype. This classic sketch depicted her in a New Age–y therapy session with Don Corleone, played by John Belushi.Except for the obsession with freeway directions, Newman’s character had all of the elements of the California stereotype found in “The Californians”: blond hair, vanity, relationship drama, a total lack of social awareness, and a comical West Coast accent. A New »
- Jonathan Chait
Some thoughts on last night's "Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special" coming up just as soon as I assume Jon Lovitz is dead... Last week, I wrote about the history of "SNL," which has been filled with incredible highs, uncomfortable lows, and a mixture of things that either didn't work or simply outlived their usefulness. Perhaps intentionally — Lorne Michaels used to joke that the word "uneven" would be on his tombstone — or perhaps because it's inherent to any three and a half hour special with this many moving pieces, the special was "SNL" in a microcosm. Much of it worked spectacularly well. Some of it was disappointing and/or puzzling. And the whole thing went on much longer than it probably should have. Unlike the show's previous anniversary specials, which were largely driven by clips and testimonials, the 40th was conceived of as a super-sized, all-star installment of the show itself, »
- Alan Sepinwall
Everyone from Steve Martin to Miley Cyrus popped up at 30 Rock on Sunday night to celebrate the 40th anniversary of "Saturday Night Live" ... and it was an epic 3.5 hours of television. All of the show's best comics returned to reprise their most famous roles, with celebrity cameos including Taylor Swift, Betty White, Melissa McCarthy, Emma Stone and many more. It was tough, but here are out 10 favorite moments from the night, in no particular order. 1.) That Opening Monologue Dream team Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon kicked off the show with a rap referencing sketches like Schweddy Balls, D**k in a Box, Coneheads and more. Debbie Downer (Rachel Dratch) and Mary Catherine Gallagher (Molly Shannon) both stopped by as well. It was a great way to start the night. 2.)Celebrity Jeopardy Will Ferrell returned as Alex Trebek, as well as sketch staple Sean Connery (Darrell Hammon), Justin Bieber (Kate McKinnon »
- tooFab Staff
Tonight’s star-studded “Saturday Night Live” 40th anniversary special was filled with memorable montages from the show’s deep archives, but it also featured hilarious moments that are sure to become instant classics:
- Debra Birnbaum
There's no better way to get a million celebrities (and old SNL cast members) to come together in blond wigs and make each other laugh than The Californians. Yes, SNL 40 did The Californians, and everyone showed up: Kerry Washington, Taylor Swift, Laraine Newman, Betty White, and Bradley Cooper. Guess which two made out? You're wrong! It was Betty White and Bradley Cooper. »
- Lindsey Weber,Abraham Riesman
Watch, rewind, repeat! Betty White and Bradley Cooper made all our dreams come true on Saturday Night Live's 40th Anniversary Special -- dreams we didn't even know we had! The two appeared together in a reboot of SNL's "The Californians" sketch, and totally stole the show with a hilarious (and hot!) makeout. The sketch featured former cast members Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Fred Armisen, and Laraine Newman, as well as current cast member Vanessa Bayer and guest stars Cooper, White, Kerry Washington, and Taylor Swift. (As SNL [...] »
Endlessly talented and gone too soon; so is the story of two of Saturday Night Live's founding cast members, John Belushi and Gilda Radner. Belushi, known best on the show for his Samurai Futaba character and impersonations, enjoyed big screen success with Blues Brothers and other films, before tragically dying of an accidental drug overdose in 1982 at the age of 33. Radner won an Emmy for her work on SNL after keeping viewers in stitches with her popular Rosanne Rosannadana character. She sadly died of ovarian cancer in 1989 at the age of 42. Ahead of its upcoming 40th Anniversary show on Sunday, »
- Janine Rayford Rubenstein, @JanineRayford
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