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Every once in awhile I read reviews of SNL. Almost never do the reviews say
"it was OK". Unless it is a review by a frequent viewer, they always say
something like "SNL is great again!" or "SNL sucks now". Usually these
reviews are from people who never or rarely watch the show, and only
remember it from 5, 10, 15 or even 20 years ago. These types of reviews
have been the same for as long as I can remember. The periods that people
now call "classic" frequently met with poor reviews at the time.
One thing to remember is that the show is an hour and a half, longer than most any other TV show. It is hard to fill such a long show with consistently funny material. It is also hard to make every episode funny. Therefore the show (like most shows) wavers between great and awful, depending on the sketch or episode you are watching at the moment. To judge an entire series on one episode (or part of one) is a mischaracterization.
I've watched SNL for most of its life, and although it has ranged from hilarious to horrible, I would say the average show is "pretty funny". The bottom line: there's nothing better to watch on Saturday night, so until there is, I will always watch SNL!
I like to describe this show like a on and off relationship because one year this show is funny and the next it sucks and it's like that year after year. Still it always manages to make you laugh and it has been the breakthrough show for some of the greatest comedians of all-time.
The first five years of S.N.L. will always be the "golden era" of this show. Belushi, Akroyd, Chase, Curtain, Newman, Morris, Radner and Radner will always represent an era when some of the best comedic talent of the 1970's were all on one show and as a springboard for greatness. However, once the original cast was gone the show went in decline for me. Even though talents like Eddie Murphy, Joe Piscapo, Mike Meyers, Dana Carvey, Martin Short and Billy Crystal became big stars as a result of being on the show, the magic that the original Not Ready for Prime Time Players will never be duplicated. They made Saturday nights worth staying at home.
An earlier reviewer said this show sucks and that the "new cast" is terrible. What is interesting about SNL is how whenever there is a changeover of cast, it has become almost a tradition to hate the newcomers. In truth, however, many of the episodes that have aired in recent years -- even since the 1998 review I refer to -- have now come to be considered classics. And the cast members so many of us hated at first are now often seen in a favorable light alongside the "classic" cast of the late 1970s. And what cannot be denied is no TV program in history has been such a fertile breeding ground for future stars. Just look at the cast list and be amazed.
What was unique about "NBC's Saturday Night", in 1975, was that it
brought back the ninety minute variety format-except for that now it
was late night TV. "Your Show of Shows"(1950-54) was the previous
comedy-variety 90 minute show. There were other regular 90 minute
programs over the years, as well: boxing events in TV's earliest years,
and later, late night TV("Tonight", which would eventually become "The
Tonight Show"), a dramatic anthology("Playhouse 90"), cultural
fare("Omnibus"), westerns("The Virginian", "Cimarron Strip"), an
adventure series("Name of the Game"), other sporting events, & a
rotating detective 'movie'(NBC's Sunday Mystery Movie), all running 90
minutes. However, "NBC's Saturday Night" was, really, the heir to the
Sid Caesar throne, so to speak. Since 1954, there hadn't been another
comedy-variety show of such length.
Also, since the early days of live comedy and theater drama, there hadn't been a live television staple, pretty much since the early sixties. That all changed in October 1975. The writing was a bit biting: besides the standard continuing comedy sketches, there was political satire, too-often seen on the 'Weekend Update' news sketch, which was handled by regular Chevy Chase, and was reminiscent to earlier shows like "That Was the Week That Was" and "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour". There was a musical guest, sometimes a talent act, and a short film(comic filmmaker Albert Brooks started out here, and later, the 'Mr.Bill' shorts were a standard). To give an idea of the multitude of variety format, on the second broadcast, the guest host was singer Paul Simon, Albert Brooks offered one of his film shorts, the musical guests for the evening were Randy Newman and Phoebe Snow-with a special surprise by Simon and Art Garfunkel, and a sketch with Jim Henson's Muppets(Henson was trying to break out from under the weight of the kiddie programs "Sesame Street" and several 'family' specials). In that day, the regulars were tagged 'The Not-Ready-for-Primetime Players', and included Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, and Chase(who were all, eventually, part of the writing staff, as well). The show was definitely unique, a breath of fresh air in the midst of a pop-culture takeover(similar in what was happening to cinema, as well, @ the time).
Over the years, the show has gotten thru some tough times, but has never really seemed as challenging as in those early days. Perhaps this is the norm when something so unique and new becomes the common, but, it seems, that once the originals went their own ways, after having broken thru certain cultural taboos, their followers just seemed to be more set on breaking through the language(four letter words) & innuendo barriers. True, the writing was never perfect, and could be quite silly, in fact, even in those earliest days. However, much of it was satire handled like nothing else on TV at that time. It was often quite innovative and challenging. There have been times, actually, where the writing has gone beyond the late night standard(as in the late 80s-Dana Carvey, Phil Hartman, Jon Lovitz era-and, recently, with Tina Fey, Jimmy Fallon, Chris Parnell, Daryl Hammond, and Horatio Sanz), but, overall, it was more focused on the likes of adult diaper sketches and, like most TV-lots of sex. Now, the show has really never been short of good comics, but when it comes to the actual comedy, it's often been sub par. It's good to see that there actually are some brains behind the show, again, though. Except after so many years, does it really matter anymore? I mean, is it really the same cutting edge broadcast it was so many years ago, now with a vast budget and few surprises? The writing may be better, again, but where's the creativity gone? Ironically, with all the evidence available, maybe 'The Not-Ready-for-Primetime Players' were more ready than ever. -Concerned viewer
SNL is always described as something that used to be good. Like Super
Bowl Commercials, the audience always remembers that one good example
from ten years ago, but they can hardly stand to watch the show today.
Why? Because SNL is not well done. Part of this is due to the fact that
they have to produce a show each week and they don't have enough talent
to actually make a show. What they do have is one or two good actors
who don't suck at performing awful writing.
The only reason the show is still on TV is because of presidential elections. Politics are a low hanging fruit for comedians. When they don't have material, they rant about some politician or political group. Most terrible comedians focus only on politics and eventually end up being unfunny when the party they don't bash comes into power(Margaret Cho would be a good example of this). SNL has used this to hedge the audience against the awful years.
SNL hopes for presidential elections to pull their ratings out of the gutter. When people think of politics, SNL can easily pander to the left while insulting the right. This allows them to focus all their talent and money on political years. If the political year ends up with a left leaning president, they usually go down in ratings because they don't make fun of the president (they tend to be liberals so they don't want to be mean to their party affiliation). When a Conservative gets into office, then the show ratings go up because they actually go after those politicians.
After the political races are done and the show has to go back to the mundane, we find ourselves watching the show and saying, "It was better back during the (insert decade here). It get's really boring and eventually people stop watching. SNL should have gone off the air years ago. The only reason someone would say there is nothing else on during a Saturday night is because that person still watches network television in a world where you can watch any show at any time. SNL is a dinosaur and should probably be extinct.
Been watching all of SNL this season and I'm disappointed with the way the show is moving. The skit's aren't really that great and creative anymore. I don't find myself laughing at all most episodes aside from weekend update. The music guests have absolutely sucked this season - all people I've never heard of or that just stink (no big names aside from Coldplay). Every skit also finds it's only humor in sexual innuendo's. But it's just crass jokes and not even good ones (like Sweuty's Ball's). Gonna take a break from the show for now until the writers get their act together and find funny jokes instead of just jokes about sex.
whenever i'm down or depressed, the one thing i watch to cheer me up? Saturday Night Live. every Saturday night, i'd have some pizza for dinner, wash it down with a good soda or beer, lay back on the couch and watch SNL all night long. SNL is the best show i've ever seen, very funny, creative, and it's a wonder that's as big a success now as it was 32 years ago. tina fey is really funny, as is amy poehler, seth myers and kenan thomson. kenan was one of my favorite childhood actors when he was in nickelodeon's "kenan and kel". sometimes i go on youtube and look for clips of the old SNL, and it's just as funny. so thank u SNL. thank you for making me look at the bright, comedic and slightly inappropriate side of life.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Not much of a fan now. It has nothing to do with the program being good or bad, just lost interest. There are years worth seeing because they were funny as hell, then there are some with memorable guests and then there were those where you sat for the entire show waiting for that one funny line. Sometimes those lines never come - and your time is wasted. It is too bad that this is pretty much a political sell-out now-a- days, but when ever I do stumble on a show it does have some funny moments. Many cast members have moved on to bigger and better things, and there are some who just moved on. Whatever the case may be, fresh faces, new skits, and new senses of humor are great...I am just done with show as weekly viewing. I guess it's become too formulaic.
In the entire history of this show they have never had a host that I wanted to see.There have probably been only two or three that I have ever seen anywhere else.Watching a person I have never seen before singing an unfunny song got old years ago but they still do it every week.They have had two bands that I liked and one of them (Fear) was never shown in any repeats.It seems like they only have bands that small children listen to, which is very weird for a show that's on so late.But the show isn't supposed to be about the hosts or bands, it's supposed to be about comedy and there's very little of that.I can't remember the last time this show made me laugh.However I can remember what I see and this week they had the nerve to replay a fake commercial.Have they finally realized they have no real content and are just giving up?I watch every week hoping it might be funny and it never is.But what would you expect from a show that fired Norm Macdonald and David Koechner?It's very clear that they don't even know what comedy is anymore.
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