Friday, October 11, 2019

Live From Forty Four Years Ago!

Forty four years ago today, on October 11, 1975, the very first episode of Saturday Night Live premiered on NBC. Forty four years!

Oddly enough, exactly one year later on October 11, 1976, the phrase "SNL hasn't been funny since Season 1" was first uttered. Hi-YO!!!!!

For decades now I've been hearing people say SNL is no longer funny, relevant or both, and is a pale shadow of its Early Years. The Early Years which are forever held in reverence and placed on a golden pedestal, as they're worshiped from below. Yeah, about that.

A few years ago I bought the first three seasons of SNL on DVD & watched them. I saw them all live back in the day (yeah, I'm old) but hadn't seen any of these episodes in many a moon.

It quickly became apparent that the mists of time had clouded everyone's perception of those Early Years. While there was a ton of classic material and icon characters that came out of that formative era, there were just as many misfires, fizzles and outright duds.

Don't get me wrong here— SNL was revolutionary when it came out, and changed the landscape of TV forever. But many of those early sketches are riddled with flubbed lines, missed cues and faulty props. There's also a surprising amount of dead air, as the actors paused for a gale of laughter that never came. For every sketch that landed, there were four or five that were met with icy silence from the audience.

So next time someone tries to tell you SNL was better in the good old days, tell 'em there was nothing all that good about them and the show's pretty much the same as it ever was.

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