Sunday, October 10, 2010

Live From NY, It's Just Another Night

For the first time in ages, I stayed up to watch Saturday Night Live last night.  Jane Lynch was guest hosting and I wanted to see how she did.

Now I remember why I stopped watching SNL.  I might have chuckled once or twice.  Maybe cracked a couple smiles.  But for the most part, I watched 50 minutes worth of nothing before I finally gave it up and went to bed.

So sad.

When I was a teenager, SNL was appointment TV.  It blew the doors off everything.  The original cast was priceless; almost all of them became huge stars.  Movies were spun off from the sketches.  Anyone who was anyone appeared as a guest host or musical guest. 

The cast quality ran in cycles; some good, some not so good.  But every so often they’d get a group together that were just perfect.  The originals broke the mold, of course.  The Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest cast was good.  But my favorite was the early 80s cast with Eddie Murphy, Joe Piscopo, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Tim Kazurinski, Mary Gross, and so forth.

Eddie Murphy’s sketches alone were gold.  Buckwheat.  Gumby.  James Brown Celebrity Hot Tub.  Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood.  The Stevie Wonder impression, either with Piscopo’s Sinatra or alone.  The bit where Eddie Murphy had to teach a Stevie Wonder impersonator, played by Stevie Wonder, how to sing like Stevie Wonder, may have been my favorite sketch ever.  The shit was laugh-your-head-off funny.

Then there was the Mike Myers, Dana Carvey cast, who I believe overlapped with Phil Hartman and Kevin Nealon.  Wayne’s World alone was good for 2 movies.

The David Spade-Chris Farley cast was in there somewhere too and had many high points.

Every once in a while, a sketch would get passed around the internet; Alec Baldwin’s “Schweddy Balls” bit comes to mind, or the commercial for “Tramp Stamp Remover” with Amy Poehler. 

Before last night, the last time I checked in with SNL was in 2008 when Tina Fey was killing with her Sarah Palin impression.  It was like, her spot would be great, fodder for the next Monday’s water cooler, but after that, they had nothing.

That’s how it was last night.  As much as I hate to say it, maybe it’s time they fold the tent and call it a series.  It’ll still go down as one of the best, most popular and influential series ever, but right now, it’s just not funny. 

Isn’t that the worst thing you can say about a comedy?

13 comments:

  1. I sooooo agree with you!! There have never been any funnier people that the original cast, and a few more. Who will ever forget Samuri Delicatessen? The coneheads? The Blues Brothers? Gilda? Chevy Chase as V.P. Ford, or Land Shark? Steve Martin?

    The new comics do nothing for me. They don't have that perfect timing, and they just donm't have the SOUL of the old players. I miss them all!

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  2. I stopped watching when they had the "Mr. Bo-Jangles" skits. Oh - but oops I crapped my pants was funny.

    They try to be overtly sexual when they just need to be funny.

    Steve Martin was always my favorite. I used to watch the reruns with my Aunt all the time. Good shit.

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  3. Another of my old favorite sketches was this very simple one where a guy goes into a men's room stall and begins singing Under the Boardwalk. When he gets to the chorus, the guys in the other stalls start singing the "Under the boardwalk..." parts.

    It must have been one of the bits that ran late in the show, but it always killed me. I think about it every time I go into a stall.

    I wish to hell I could have found some of those old bits on YouTube, but it was pretty slim pickin's.

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  4. I was planning on watching Jane Lynch too! But then I fell asleep... which seems to happen all the time lately.

    I'm disappointed to hear that it wasn't funny. The only other recent SNL I've tuned in for was Zack Galafanakis, and the best part was his opening monologue. Sigh.

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  5. I haven't watched SNL in years, I thought it stopped being funny too. It sounds like I might have missed a few good things, but not much.

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  6. The good old days of real fun and laughter on SNL are ancient history. I still pray to Gilda Radner, the patron saint of comedy, to inspire some humor in this inane production.
    "Like my Daddy, Stan Rosannadanna used to say...if it's not one thing it's another..."
    The world is not the same without her.
    And her partner, Todd DeLa Mewka. "Thank you, Mrs. Looop-ner...". O for the good old egg salad and Tang.

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  7. Miley,
    I don’t know if there’s ever been a show that injected so many words and phrases into our culture… Maybe SNL at its peak, but I think Seinfeld has it beat.

    Jessica,
    It’s funny you mention him but Zack Galafanakis also shares our birthday. No shit!

    Raven,
    I don’t think you’ve missed much at all, not since the 90s, anyway. I’ve gotten more belly laughs from a half hour’s worth of 30 Rock or Modern Family than the last 15 years of SNL combined.

    Mary Ann,
    Don’t forget the Olde Norge!

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  8. No, it's not. It's just not. And like you, it makes me incredibly sad.

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  9. I do usually at least DVR the show so I can watch the digital short later. Even the really, really stupid ones like "I'm on a Boat" are culturally significant.

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  10. I don't normally watch SNL anymore unless Justin Timberlake is on. Now that is some funny shit. His skits are always hilarious.

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  11. When it comes to hosting SNL, it sounds like Justin Timberlake is the new Steve Martin. Or at least the new Tom Hanks.

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  12. Totally agree. It's telling that I haven't seen a single episode this season and no one has ever asked, "Did you see the skit on SNL last night?" No one. It's not even in the culture anymore.

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  13. Bagger,
    Agreed. Unless Tina Fey is making an appearance, it’s just not on my radar. I don’t know why I even bothered with it this time… Just to see Jane Lynch, I guess. She’s tall. And this way, I didn’t have to watch “Glee.”

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