Sunday, February 15, 2015

Saturday Night Live at 40

It just keeps going, but maybe 
a new battery should be ordered

     OMG, I thought dinosaurs no longer walked the Earth, but boy was I wrong because they stumbled along in Studio 8H in 30 Rock.  Snooty Steve Martin (I think he really is that way and not just putting it on), squeaky Paul McCartney, the fossil Jack Nicholson, and the indefatigable and misguided Lorne Michaels led the way for a reunion of what started as a
countercultural response to mainstream TV, but is now just overstuffed, pleased with itself mediocrity.

     Originally, there were a lot of commercial parodies, a couple of musical performers, some great short films by Albert Brooks, and both the ensemble we remember plus others that would show up for some bits.  In terms of real laughs, though, 90 minutes of SNL did not equal 3 x 30 minutes of The Carol Burnett Show.  It became funnier because of longer sketches featuring characters that became familiar over time.

Dan Ackroyd, Phil Hartman, and Tina Fey
     I think there were three individuals that were endemic to the success of their eras:  Dan Ackroyd, Phil Hartman, and Tina Fey.  All three were the glue that held the performers (and writers) together.  Between their tenures on the show, other series eclipsed SNL.  SCTV (Second City TV) was far cleverer with an extraordinary cast in the early ‘80s.  They were so good that most of them ended up in Hollywood movies or even SNL.  The mid-‘90s saw Mad TV come up with more memorable sketch characters.  

    Some bests of SNL include the star break out of Eddie Murphy, Martin Short as the synchronized, but not ‘strong swimmer,’ and any musical short film with Andy Samberg and Justin Timberlake.

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