Tuesday, May 08, 2012


"I was a sucker for long legs. I wanted to shimmy up one of hers like a native boy looking for coconuts"

Saturday Night Live is too long. I figured that out back in the 1980s watching it late night at my friend's house when we should have been sleeping before we woke up at 6 to deliver newspapers. Eddie Murphy and Billy Crystal were on the show then, and it still was too long. The problem is they have 90 minutes to fill with about 20 minutes of good material, an intro, and a music act.

And the ads are interminable, they go on and on. You get one solid half hour of normal production, then the next hour is one skit then 4 late night ads. Its awful to watch, and when its not funny its just misery. You could have gotten Bin Laden's phone number out of Khalid Sheikh Muhammad in five minutes by forcing him to watch.

And part of the problem is that for years now they've been deliberately avoiding good humor for political reasons. The most blatant example you probably have heard of due to the Daily Caller. SNL had a skit set up to do about President Obama's absurd victory tour for the Bin Laden death announcement, just ripe for comedic satire. Here's how it would have gone:
In the skit, President Obama addresses Americans soon after the first anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden — and he makes sure to remind viewers that all credit for the raid on the terrorist leader’s compound belongs to him.

“I hope you had a safe and joyous first anniversary of his killing,” the president, portrayed by Fred Armisen, begins.

“Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to be at home this year, as I had to fly to Afghanistan, to remind President Karzai that, exactly one year ago, we killed Osama bin Laden, and that the decision to do so was a gutsy one,” the president continues. “And was mine.”

The president then outlines what gifts are appropriate on the anniversaries of “Killing Osama bin Laden Day,” and reminds his audience that “heavy drinking, and Killing Osama bin Laden Day, are never a good combination.”
That's a pretty light touch, and as a result not as fun as it could have been, bit it at least had the advantage of being timely and on target. Instead, they junked the skit and instead went with a bit on how much Fox News sucks. Again. Now, not only is this old material which has been plumbed a good fifty times by SNL already (so there's nothing new to say), but its not very timely. Its just leftists being bitter. Its like a conservative show doing yet another skit on how the media is biased. Yeah, we get it. Move along.

By not running the OBL Obama bit, they lose the timely nature and it won't work later on. And by not playing it, all they do is prove what Fred Armison said recently about the show: we're leftists living in New York, and love Obama.

And that's the problem with SNL. Its not really focused on what's funny so much as what their buddies will like and what they like to do. They aren't trying for a laugh as a smiling nod from their peers and party buds back home in the Manhattan loft. So they dump something obvious and good for something rehashed and reliably well-recieved with

For fun back when SNL had some talent: Phil Hartman's SNL audition tape. My favorite bit is the German impressionist. Hartman was such a comic genius, just flawless and always entertaining regardless of what he did and why. The bits with Lovitz remind me of why I enjoyed his work so much as well.

Nobody around like that these days, let alone on SNL

For something extra odd and funny, check out the Cookie Monster SNL audition tape. He wants to host SNL. Well they've had weirder hosts. And that video actually made me laugh.

1 comment:

MarkInKansas said...

Phil Hartman could carry a 90-minute program. The current cast isn't qualified to carry Hartman's water.