Saturday Night Live

..and why not?
User avatar
Dr Markus
Posts: 17670
Joined: 07 Jan 2012, 18:16

Saturday Night Live

Postby Dr Markus » 25 Jun 2012, 13:27

I've been watching some on a channel we have over here and I have to say…….meh. I’m watching all these legends or greats of American comedy and well it’s taken some of the shine of their legend/greatness status. Murry, Martin, Aykroyd, Belushi just don’t cut it for me in this show. The sketches seem barethin in actual comedy and rushed. To me it looks like they expect the premise for the sketch to be funny enough to see it through. When I’ve heard of Saturday night live I thought it was hilarious and the audience were in tears laughing. Not the case at all, the audience at the show seemed tough and didn’t even give a pity laugh at some jokes.

It could very well be an generation gap thing for me, as I think I’d probably find the modern SNL funny especially if Tina Fey had anything to do with it.
Drama Queenie wrote:You are a chauvinist of the quaintest kind. About as threatening as Jack Duckworth, you are a harmless relic of that cherished era when things were 'different'. Now get back to drawing a moustache on that page three model

User avatar
nathan
submitted for your approval
Posts: 8035
Joined: 18 Nov 2003, 23:32
Location: Minneapolis
Contact:

Re: Saturday Night Live

Postby nathan » 25 Jun 2012, 15:49

As much as people say to the contrary, it's always been hit or miss. Since its inception they don't start writing the show until Monday. So that gives them 6 days to write, edit, rehearse and perform. This spontaneity has always been the heart and draw of the show as well as its biggest downfall. It usually means 75% of the content will be forgotten within a week due to it being sub-par or it was just topical recation to what was going on in the world that week. But I also look forward to the last half-hour where they usually slot the more 'experimental' material. Fred Armisen has really thrived here the past 5 years and was able to channel that into his show Portlandia.

That said, I have been watching this show regularly for about 25 years and will continue to do so. I like the format of sketch comedy and Lorne Michaels is very good at finding young and raw talent. My only gripe is the hosts that they pick. Once in a while they find someone that is very good and thrives in the format that you wouldn't think would, like Jon Hamm. But there is advertising pressure that they can't have the same person host twice in a season. It's kind of a bummer and then you are stuck with awful hosts that are there to promote some shitty movie.

But you're right, a lot of the stuff on the show (even when it was supposedly better) was pretty much crap. The best stuff has been compiled in multiple collections, and I would recommend sticking with that.

User avatar
Davey the Fat Boy
Posts: 23774
Joined: 05 Jan 2006, 02:55
Location: Applebees

Re: Saturday Night Live

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 25 Jun 2012, 19:04

I think it is impossible to watch those first few seasons in a modern context and get why they made such an impact. The world around them changed.

The first group in Not Ready for Primetime Players worked in a world where Johnny Carson was cutting edge late night comedy. They changed everything.
The opinions of this poster are subjective. That’s how opinions work.

Image

User avatar
Quaco
F R double E
Posts: 46976
Joined: 16 Jul 2003, 19:41

Re: Saturday Night Live

Postby Quaco » 25 Jun 2012, 19:41

It may help to be a little stoned too, Markus, or not to expect too many formal jokes. It's the absurdity that is often the funniest part. By that I mean, you can look at something like Samurai Hotel Manager and think "This is stupid, there's no joke here", but it's just seeing it through that becomes funny. Looking back, I agree the original is more hit and miss than I remembered, but it's 75% great (Bill Murray is consistently so, and Dan Aykroyd is not far behind) and funnier in a deeper way, to me, than any of the attempts in the decades since. My folks still watch the new ones, and when I watch it, I barely crack a smile. The only thing I like is when my Dad complains about the musical guests. Maybe the old one is just my kind of humor. Like my favorite musicians, I just like seeing them do stuff, even if it's not hie-larious. Garrett Morris is just nice to be around, and can do no wrong.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

User avatar
Charlie O.
Posts: 39657
Joined: 21 Jul 2003, 19:53
Location: In-A-Badda-La-Wadda, bay-beh

Re: Saturday Night Live

Postby Charlie O. » 25 Jun 2012, 20:53

I bought the first five seasons on DVD, and really enjoyed watching them all again (I was surprised by how much I remembered!) - but there's definitely a nostalgia factor there. As Quaco says, there was nothing remotely like it on American TV at the time; and there was something about watching it unfold in real time, watching the actors think on their feet (or occasionally fail to do).

But even back then, I thought it was very hit or miss. It was my then-unpopular (and probably still-unpopular) opinion that the show really got a lot more consistently good during the period in the eighties when Lorne Michaels wasn't a part of it - when they had Murphy, Piscopo, Kasurinsky, Gross, Guest, Crystal et al. It wasn't that the casts were stronger, so much as that the writing was. On the other hand, a good chunk of each of those shows tended to be pre-filmed rather than live, so that was a bit of a cheat!
Image

User avatar
Loki
The Goddess of Mischief
Posts: 15919
Joined: 18 Sep 2010, 06:34

Re: Saturday Night Live

Postby Loki » 26 Jun 2012, 01:51

My favourite era was the Phil Hartman years. Sniff.
Image


whodathunkit wrote: Somewhere it's always 1972.

User avatar
Sneelock
Posts: 12313
Joined: 19 Nov 2011, 23:56
Location: Lincoln Head City

Re: Saturday Night Live

Postby Sneelock » 26 Jun 2012, 02:11

I think you could write a dissertation on that stuff.
I agree with something everybody in the thread has said. it was always stretched out, it broke a mold, it was wonderful, it was terrible.

I guess when the dust clears all that matters is what makes you laugh. Belushi dressed as Beethoven playing Ray Charles makes me laugh.

I'd seen Python but only a fraction of my friends did. Saturday Night Live hadn't been on a month before it entered the zeitgeist with both feet. If somebody at school fell down then somebody was sure to yell "Live, From New York...."

so, I think it's easy to forget that it was a clean break. Chevy Chase "impersonated" the President of the United States by doing schtick pratfalls. Tony Hendra wrote a great book called "Going too Far" about how "underground" humor went mainstream and how he sees SNL is the main delivery system.
Image
I think it's also easy to forget how early they went for the easy laughs. I think part of the show's enduring success is one of show biz' oldest weaknesses, namely giving the people what they want.

the catchphrases started early and I think there's a lot of pretty bald faced pandering pretty early on. now, maybe that's not such a bad thing. keeps 'em off the streets. still, you watch those shows when Steve Martin was king of the world onward and the known setups get more laughs than the material does sometimes. "Two wild and crazy guys" , "pump you up", "isn't that special"

In a way, I think periodic plummeting in the ratings has often been creatively invigorating for the show. you can only throw fish to clapping sea lions so many times before it starts to look lazy.

this isn't to say that I don't respect the writing because I do. a lot of super bright people have used writing for that show as a calling card to get them other places.

I still enjoy staying away and coming back. I think they almost always have a very talented crew on both sides of the camera. still, the better the show does, the lazier it is. it seems an important factor in it's popularity one way or the other. lazy is okay, I guess. it's still a pretty funny sketch show that people often watch mostly to see the musical guest. It's popularity still seems to depend on catch phrases catching on.

well, there are certainly worse jobs to have. I hope it's with us for years to come. Like 'daily show' they can often grab an important issue and thrust it from obscurity to the national discussion. that's a damned nice thing for a sketch show to be able to do.
Give me a C, a bouncy C!

User avatar
Charlie O.
Posts: 39657
Joined: 21 Jul 2003, 19:53
Location: In-A-Badda-La-Wadda, bay-beh

Re: Saturday Night Live

Postby Charlie O. » 26 Jun 2012, 02:44

Cage Free Brown wrote:Tony Hendra wrote a great book called "Going too Far" about how "underground" humor went mainstream and how he sees SNL is the main delivery system.

It is a great book, but Hendra hated SNL. It's the one thing in the book that seemed like a blind spot to me* - it comes off as sour grapes (given that much of the original SNL cast had worked on various National Lampoon projects under Hendra's direction). He castigates the show for doing the easy thing: satirizing television. Well, duh, Tony - it's a television show - why wouldn't it satirize TV? Didn't NatLamp satirize magazines? Didn't their records make fun of rock musicians?









* well, aside from his offhand dismissal of Firesign Theatre as "drug humor"
Image

User avatar
Sneelock
Posts: 12313
Joined: 19 Nov 2011, 23:56
Location: Lincoln Head City

Re: Saturday Night Live

Postby Sneelock » 26 Jun 2012, 04:59

I think Hendra might be a sack of shit but, as an author, I think his reasoning is sound even when I don't agree with him. His timeline from Lenny onwards is very well thought out. I've mixed feelings about Hendra but think he's done enough good work that he's entitled to an opinion.


sour grapes? you bet. Hendra certainly covets the fame and fortune that fell in the laps of those he considers his lessers. I don't need to agree with him across the board. I still think it's the best book of it's type that I've seen. the SNL book, the Doug Kenney book and Mr. Mike are good but I like the way Hendra ties it all together. Humor in America changed. Maybe he claims an outsized place in that process but there's still a whiff of truth to it.
Give me a C, a bouncy C!

User avatar
Dr Markus
Posts: 17670
Joined: 07 Jan 2012, 18:16

Re: Saturday Night Live

Postby Dr Markus » 26 Jun 2012, 09:26

Billy crystal was on SNL? I always think of him as…..i don’t know…..primetime….all the family can watch……type comedy. I’d thought he was too old fashioned or thinks he too high brow for this kinda stuff. Obviously I’m wrong, but that’s mad.
Drama Queenie wrote:You are a chauvinist of the quaintest kind. About as threatening as Jack Duckworth, you are a harmless relic of that cherished era when things were 'different'. Now get back to drawing a moustache on that page three model

User avatar
Charlie O.
Posts: 39657
Joined: 21 Jul 2003, 19:53
Location: In-A-Badda-La-Wadda, bay-beh

Re: Saturday Night Live

Postby Charlie O. » 26 Jun 2012, 14:41

Cage Free Brown wrote:I think Hendra might be a sack of shit but, as an author, I think his reasoning is sound even when I don't agree with him. His timeline from Lenny onwards is very well thought out. ... I still think it's the best book of it's type that I've seen.

Agreed.
Image

User avatar
nathan
submitted for your approval
Posts: 8035
Joined: 18 Nov 2003, 23:32
Location: Minneapolis
Contact:

Re: Saturday Night Live

Postby nathan » 26 Jun 2012, 15:33

Dr Markus wrote:Billy crystal was on SNL? I always think of him as…..i don’t know…..primetime….all the family can watch……type comedy. I’d thought he was too old fashioned or thinks he too high brow for this kinda stuff. Obviously I’m wrong, but that’s mad.

Yeah, the last year Dick Ebersol was the producer in the mid-80's (before Lorne Michaels returned) he just went all out and hired people like Jim Belushi, Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, Rich Hall and Martin Short. It was actually pretty good. Billy Crystal has never been 'edgy' but he was pretty damn funny in the 80's.

The next year Lorne Michaels returned. He got rid of everybody and added Joan Cusack, Robert Downey, Jr., Anthony Michael Hall, Jon Lovitz, Dennis Miller and Randy Quaid. That was the start of the modern era of SNL and has continued in that mold ever since.

User avatar
Quaco
F R double E
Posts: 46976
Joined: 16 Jul 2003, 19:41

Re: Saturday Night Live

Postby Quaco » 26 Jun 2012, 18:12

Just watched an episode from the original season two, and it confirmed my feelings that those people and that time were just funny to me. It was effortless, some would say lazy, but I loved it. More of one long prolonged giggle than a series of guffaws. I'm sorry, Richard Nixon is funnier than George Bush. Also, Dr. John and Levon Helm smoked!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

User avatar
Sneelock
Posts: 12313
Joined: 19 Nov 2011, 23:56
Location: Lincoln Head City

Re: Saturday Night Live

Postby Sneelock » 26 Jun 2012, 18:32

I have a soft spot for that part of the first run when the writers were finally getting the hang of what to do with Bill Murray. watching those again on Netflix I realize how much of what I like about Bill Murray was already there when Todd was giving noogies.

I also think "the best of Phil Hartman" is an outstanding comedy DVD. The number of highlights he was involved in and his versatility are just astounding.

I watched an episode of Phil Donohue's show once and Phil Hartman cold opened the show as Phil Donohue. Donohue sat there gaping. He seemed equal parts embarrassed and impressed. what a great talent.
Last edited by Sneelock on 26 Jun 2012, 19:36, edited 1 time in total.
Give me a C, a bouncy C!

User avatar
Loki
The Goddess of Mischief
Posts: 15919
Joined: 18 Sep 2010, 06:34

Re: Saturday Night Live

Postby Loki » 26 Jun 2012, 19:25

Cage Free Brown wrote:
I also think "the best of Phil Hartman" is an outstanding comedy DVD. The number of highlights he was involved in and his versatility are just astounding.

I watched an episode of Phil Donohue's show once and Phil Hartman cold opened the show as Phil. Phil sat there gaping. He seemed equal parts embarrassed and impressed. what a great talent.

Except that, if it's the same collection that NBC showed on TV, it doesn't include the Anal-Retentive Chef. That sketch eclipsed even his Bill Clinton, for me.


I'm still upset about Phil. :cry:
Image


whodathunkit wrote: Somewhere it's always 1972.

User avatar
nathan
submitted for your approval
Posts: 8035
Joined: 18 Nov 2003, 23:32
Location: Minneapolis
Contact:

Re: Saturday Night Live

Postby nathan » 26 Jun 2012, 19:39

Loki wrote:Except that, if it's the same collection that NBC showed on TV, it doesn't include the Anal-Retentive Chef.

I can confirm (from numerous viewings) that it is on the DVD.

Yeah, Phil Hartman was my favorite. The movie and television work he did with Pee Wee Herman was great too. And he made a servicable sitcom like News Radio into something great. One of the most depressing 'celebrity' deaths I have ever been affected by. I was watching News Radio every week and was always anticipating what Phil would work on next. To suddenly have someone like that who could never fail to make me laugh die so tragically and so young really did affect me.

I have actually written NBC to request a second best-of for Phil. No reply but Will Ferrell (who I do find funny) has three best-ofs out there. Rewatching those late 80's episodes on Netflix has filled that void somewhat. You just have to skip the awful Victoria Jackson bits.

Here's a fun bit from News Radio:


User avatar
Matty Red Sox
Shameless Canonist
Posts: 8185
Joined: 02 Nov 2003, 16:57
Location: from NYC and happy to be in Hiroshima, hated Jakarta

Re: Saturday Night Live

Postby Matty Red Sox » 27 Jun 2012, 04:10

The last half after the news has always been shit. Fall asleep during that part and wake up to see Elvis Costello launch into Radio Radio.
the Eagles suck.

User avatar
Loki
The Goddess of Mischief
Posts: 15919
Joined: 18 Sep 2010, 06:34

Re: Saturday Night Live

Postby Loki » 27 Jun 2012, 20:00

nathan wrote:
Loki wrote:Except that, if it's the same collection that NBC showed on TV, it doesn't include the Anal-Retentive Chef.

I can confirm (from numerous viewings) that it is on the DVD.

Thanx, Nathan. :D


Yeah, Phil Hartman was my favorite. The movie and television work he did with Pee Wee Herman was great too. And he made a servicable sitcom like News Radio into something great. One of the most depressing 'celebrity' deaths I have ever been affected by. I was watching News Radio every week and was always anticipating what Phil would work on next. To suddenly have someone like that who could never fail to make me laugh die so tragically and so young really did affect me.

He was my favourite too.
Image


whodathunkit wrote: Somewhere it's always 1972.

User avatar
Dr Markus
Posts: 17670
Joined: 07 Jan 2012, 18:16

Re: Saturday Night Live

Postby Dr Markus » 14 Sep 2012, 13:28

Well I’ve started watching Saturday night live the 2000’s and I have to say it must be a generation thing because I find them a lot funnier than the older ones. The highlight so far being the community over friendly radio show sketch. I still really haven’t laughed out yet but I got a few chuckles out of it. The seniority of who gets time on camera or not is a bit weird but I suppose understandable. Maya Randolph is hot and funny!. One thing is Jimmy Fallon, I want to like him but his voice can be grating. When he’s taking, he starts off kind low then starts building up becoming a bit louder then falls back low again like he’s lost confidence. It can get on my nerves a little. On another note, I don’t know if Tina fey’s hair is a proper running joke on the weekend update but it should be. One show it looked like she had a the bottom of a Christmas tree painted black for a hair cut. Oh yeah the cheesy intro where they’re all acting natural, then look and smile in the camera, is that suppose to be funny? Because it is, mainly because it looks so unnatural.
Drama Queenie wrote:You are a chauvinist of the quaintest kind. About as threatening as Jack Duckworth, you are a harmless relic of that cherished era when things were 'different'. Now get back to drawing a moustache on that page three model

User avatar
Dr Markus
Posts: 17670
Joined: 07 Jan 2012, 18:16

Re: Saturday Night Live

Postby Dr Markus » 04 Oct 2012, 14:35

After watching all but one of 2000’s SNL I’m kinda falling out of love with Tina Fey. I thought her humour on there would smart and clever, however she seemed to go down the personal attack root on some folk. No if they deserve it or not doesn’t matter, I just thought she was smart enough to not go down the obvious root when taking the piss from some people. Not really liking jimmy fallon either, I don’t think he’s that funny while he comes across like he’s the best thing ever.
Drama Queenie wrote:You are a chauvinist of the quaintest kind. About as threatening as Jack Duckworth, you are a harmless relic of that cherished era when things were 'different'. Now get back to drawing a moustache on that page three model