SNL Looks Back
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Studio 8H is a regular production studio as much as it is a Mecca for every pop-culture icon over the past forty years. It has housed actors, comedians, musicians, and athletes of the highest stature. While entertainment royalty has always been welcomed to the studio, they have also always been stripped of their pride—for the sake of comedy, of course.
This past week Saturday Night Live celebrated their fortieth anniversary. In attendance were past hosts, writers, cast members and musical acts all that have had a significant impact over the past forty years, some more than others. While some found the celebration controversial, it paid true homage and commemoration to some of the funniest moments in television history.
The show was created by Lorne Michaels and first aired in 1975. After a brief hiatus between 1980 and 1985 Lorne has remained on set and is accredited with much of the shows success. The show was the first of it’s kind, having some recorded parts, yet other aspects being live. Not only did the show introduce a cast of whom would become some of the most famous actors and comedians in American history, it also birthed some of America’s favorite fictional characters such as “The Blues Brothers”, Wayne and Garth of “Wayne’s World” and many others that were later adapted into full-length movies.
The fortieth celebration lasted an outstanding 3-1/2hours, which many people believe was way too long. Many of the sketches or skits went on for a seemingly long time. Some of the more painful sketches included “The Californians” which despite an occasional chuckle seemed to have flopped, the horrible accents of both Taylor Swift and Bradley Cooper undoubtedly contributed to the skit’s demise.
Other notable lackluster performances include Miley Cyrus’ cover of Paul Simon’s “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover”, Paul McCartney’s performance of “Maybe I’m Amazed”—despite his royalty and age, and almost everything with the current cast.
Despite some of the more forgettable moments, the return of Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Adam Sandler, Eddy Murphy and Will Farrell almost erased some of the cringe-worthy performances and sketches. The return of some of the most iconic sketches in the show’s history definitely settled the stomachs of much of the audience. The return of “Celebrity Jeopardy” was hilarious as expected. The skit featured Alec Baldwin portraying Tony Bennett, Kate McKinnon as Justin Beiber and an impressive Matthew McConaughey, hysterically portrayed by the legendary Jim Carey.
The list of celebrity cameos goes on and on. From Tom Hanks, Larry David, and Edward Norton, to Derek Jeter, Jack White and Sarah Palin—the audience never knew who was going to show up next, which was one of the most rewarding treats of the entire show.
Saturday Night Live is a legendary show that put many of America’s most influential comedians on the map. Considering the show’s success over the years one ponders why Michaels and NBC would celebrate after forty years opposed to waiting for a much more significant milestone of fifty years. Well, it is simple, the show might not make it to fifty years, and it is safe to say that it won’t be spawning any careers like it has in the past.
With all the controversial performances at the celebration, there was one part that everyone agreed was simply touching, a memorial of all the iconic cast members and hosts who have passed, most notably Chris Farley, John Belushi and George Carlin. The show and network paid tribute to all of the deceased crew, cast and hosts. Saturday Night Live has captured the hearts of millions of people; the raunchy humor has not only left us in laughter but sometimes tears…of joy. The show has introduced us to some of our favorite acts in show business and for that, we will forever be thankful.