Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary


I watched it all, yes I did – from the Timberlake/Fallon opening to the final good night from Steve Martin. I enjoy the show, but let me say this: it was a microcosm of the history of the show itself. There were some highlights and some rather lowlights. Overall, I give the show a ‘pretty good’.

The big moments? I already mentioned the opening, which was clever. I don’t know how much time they used, but Justin T and Jimmy F must have hit every single catchphrase ever in the show. I would say It was no more than 4 minutes, but it was a big way to start the show.

My heart also leaped when Dan Aykroyd and Lorraine Newman redid BASSOMATIC. Sure, they’re older, but the energy and humor was there just like it was so many years ago.

The Jeopardy sketch was certainly definitive of all the game show sketches over the years. Bringing back the usual group of contestants was great – my favorite was Norm MacDonald as Bert Reynolds. Kudos for the creative categories that a loud ‘Sean Connery’ to make his lewd comments.

All the hosts together? Totally great! I did, however, miss the presence of Candace Bergen. She should have been out there with them.

Can you think of anyone more appropriate to introduce the political humor segment than Jack Nicholson? Nope, neither can I. All the bits were there – Chevy Chase’s falling Ford, Dan Aykroyd talking down the druggie as Carter, and everyone doing one of the Bushes.

I can’t pick what bit was the best, but you sure have to put Tina Fay/Amy Poehler/Jane Curtin doing the Weekend Update right up there . . . and Melissa McCarthy as Chris Farley as Chris Farley’s motivational speaker and Emma Stone as (God Bless her) Roseanne Rosanna Danna. It proves the younger gang appreciated the classic routines.

Jane Curtin brought home the segment with my biggest laugh of the night when she said, “I used to be the only blond reporting the news. Now there’s a whole network dedicated to that.” And then they flashed the FOX NEWS logo …. It is to laugh!

And then the singers . . . introduced by Martin Short (who sadly didn’t do Ed Grimley) and Maya Rudolf as Beyonce, we saw them all. A short bit of Buckwheat (loss of points to Eddie Murphy for not doing it himself, even though he was in the house . . .) Joe Piscopo as Frank Sinatra, Dana Carvey lauding his Broccoli song, Bill Murray and the piano work of Paul Schaeffer doing the sleazy lounge singer, and Steve Martin King Tutting for a few measures – and then the Blues Brothers – sadly, no John, but fun to see anyway.

Mike Myers and Dana Carvey brought us back to Wayne Campbell’s basement, and God bless ‘em, they hit it! Funny list about SNL — but you know, I would have done one less Kanje West joke and maybe made one of the top slots as listing a thank you to the audience and viewers over the years.

Mildly good was the tribute to New York as sung by the sweet Alicia Keys. More about her later.

The tribute to those who have gone on came a little late in the show for my taste. I would have liked to have seen it earlier – and there should have been a few more clips of what Gilda Radner and John Belushi brought us – they were founding members of the show – we deserved to see more of what they brought that allowed the other cast members who came along to do what they did.

But like I said, there were some pretty lame bits. The worst was the ‘song’ by Adam Sandler and friend. It was pointless and unenjoyable to me.

Close to almost as bad was the CALIFORNIANS skit. I don’t care that it had Taylor Swift and Betty White in it. It was not funny, and for SNL, that’s a crime of a felonious nature.

The segment on the home movies sure didn’t do much to benefit the show . . . but then again, I still am trying to figure out why Louis CK is whoever he is. It was good to see, however, Deep Thoughts and Mr. Bill.

The “ATHLETIC” segment? More Ditka, please, and less of the stuff they did show.

In the not so bad category was Jerry Seinfeld fielding questions from the audience, where we saw some faces that were good to see again. Eddie Murphy, introduced by Chris Rock, was okay, but I sure wish he had participated more. Robert DeNiro put a nice cherry on his bit by pointing out that SNL is so old that it was actually watched on TV when TV was TV.

And then the music guests – what a fine selection of those who helped make SNL what it was, starting with Paul Simon. He may be getting old-looking, but he still brings his words to life not only as songs but as poetry.

Paul McCartney, too, is getting older, but hey, they still is an icon of the era when SNL first started – and is still such an influence on the musical world.

Miley Cyrus represented the more recent years of SNL. Doing the Paul Simon song FIFTY WAYS TO LEAVE YOUR LOVER was just another indication of the relationship between Paul Simon and SNL. Unfortunately, this 22-year-old sounded like a 43-year-old smoker. Geez, girl, take it easy.

And like I said, I was going to bring up Alicia Keys. Oh, would it have been her voice we heard instead of Kanje West. Mr. West at best was miscast on the show. He should have stayed home. Heck, the producers shouldn’t have approached him in the first place.

So at 10:30 when I turned the TV off, I came away entertained, full of fond memories of some of the finest comedic bits on TV ever, and just tarnished a bit by some of the not so good stuff that appeared here.

Will there be a fiftieth? Let’s find out and keep watching.